Switzerland, one of the most successful modern countries also happens to be the luckiest in its history. It is a small country that has a central location in the Europe. It is world renowned for its wealthy economy, culture, food, neutral nature, educational centers and scenic beauty. All these add up to a stable and rich nation, making it the luckiest country in the world. Historic factors have played an important role in the shaping of this prosperous economy.
The Swiss economy is one of the most stable in the world. This also partly due to its neutrality. The world famous Swiss banks, which are known for their secrecy dominate this economy. It has been considered illegal to disclose any information about their customers since the 1900s. This feature attracts many rich (in most cases corrupt) clients from all over the world. The banks also offer complete security to the deposited money and assets.
Insurance has been compulsory for all Swiss citizens since the 1990s.It is not provided free of cost by the state, and therefore, the people must purchase them from private insurance companies. There are several health insurance companies in Switzerland, some of them are even by non-profit associations. Healthcare in Switzerland is quite costly and getting an insurance is economically sensible. Almost 100% of the citizens in this country are insured. Insurance also makes up a significant part of the country’s economy.
Above all, the population is low and the country is small, at least compared to Asian nations. This is an advantage that almost all European countries enjoy. It is technically easy for authorities to handle such small populations compared to large ones. The low population accounts to equal distribution of resources, leading to economic and social equality. On the other hand, in a densely populated country like India, providing job opportunities to the citizens itself is a herculean task. The huge difference in population density may be due to geographical factors and climate. India lies in the tropical zone, while most parts of the European continent lie in temperate zone. The reproductive capacity in tropical zones is significantly higher than in temperate zone. Hence, ancient geographic formations too play a key role in economy of the country.
Switzerland is culturally diverse, with its population speaking a wide range of European languages, mainly, French, German and Italian. The natives are extremely conservative of their cultures and traditions. They have truly learnt to embrace it. Personally having visited Switzerland, I found out why it is such a famed global tourist destination. It happens to be a tourist- friendly country. The locals are kind and never hesitate to help tourists find their way around. The visitors are granted free public transport for the first 14 days. The bus and train transport is very efficient and is almost always on time. We never had to wait for more than 10 minutes in any bus stop or train station.
The Swiss Alps are a wonderful place to visit even during summer, as it remains ice-capped throughout the year. No doubt, it is the favorite holiday destination of many celebrities. Les Diablerets, a small village located in the mountain range, is an eminent attraction for sports lovers. It is a well- known destination for skiing and other adventure sports.
During my visit, I found the people to be health conscious and physically active. Many of them, young and old go for morning walks or jogs with their pet dogs. The car and other motor drivers were kind enough to let people pass through the crossings even when traffic signal displayed green. The fine for breaking traffic rules in Switzerland can be very high. This is because the fines are fixed according to the law breaker’s income. The higher the income, the heavier the fine. The footpaths are wide and spacious for exercising and the cycling tracks are well- marked. Cycling is the major exercise in the country. In the hotel room, I found an entire booklet that says all about different places to cycle in the locality. There are several hills and beautiful paths. I hardly encountered obese people during my entire trip.
Such encouragement for sports is not seen in India. In India, the government recently put forth an initiative to make the Indian roads more accessible by cycles. All major cities were marked with cycling paths. However, the people who tried cycling in the paths were disappointed as the markings were not clear (they most probably faded away), the paths were sometimes in a very bad shape that the cyclists preferred using the main roads, and most of the times careless people riding bikes used these paths to get through the traffic faster.
Most roads don’t have footpaths and walking or jogging, even at the edge of the roads, turns out to be an unpleasant experience. The motor vehicle drivers do not care about the ones on foot. They constantly honk without any actual reason and always seem to be in a hurry. Almost every person with a motorized vehicle has broken the traffic rules at least once. Now-a-days, we can also find many minors (under 18) freely driving motorized vehicles. This careless nature by citizens has developed due to bad law enforcement by the government. The punishments and fines for traffic law breaking is not heavy enough.
Switzerland gained its independence as early as 1291. As mentioned before, it is one of the first countries to declare itself neutral. The country has never participated in war since 1815. War and colonialization has stripped several countries of their wealth and riches. An example of such a country is India. Home to one of the most ancient advanced civilizations, the Indus valley civilization, and the region was already a prosperous global center at the time. However, the region then turned into a cluster of small kingdoms ruled by kings who were always engaged in warfare to gain territory and establish power. Constant conflicts between each other made them weak. Soon, the British managed to conquer them and literally started looting the country of its spices, textiles, wealth and even took some people overseas as slaves. In the coming years, the people of the country were horribly exploited, until they protested fiercely and eventually gained their independence in 1947. For a few years, the political and economic conditions seemed unstable. Presently, it is a bit sturdier and the country has been labeled as a developing country. Also, the Indian government and political system is known to be corrupt. The people are mostly unenlightened (illiterate) and do not really understand the value of their vote. Therefore, the politicians easily manage to manipulate them by illegally giving them money in return to a vote. The rich and the corrupt dominate the Indian society.
As the citizens are very active in social events and expressive about their political opinions, the country has a very healthy democracy. All the citizens get to vote for decision making of important issues. The government is corruption-free and the value given for a person’s vote is high. Politicians too, try to keep their promises and stay true to the people.
Switzerland is home to some of best global educational institutions. They have a refined educational system which ensures that almost all the citizens of the country are literate. They is also known to have produced some of the most successful people the world has ever known (Albert Einstein, for example). Many people prefer these institutions because of their quality education, plenty of scholarships and also because of their liberalism towards the students. During World Wars 1 and 2, while the other countries were busy squandering their resources on aimless conflict, Switzerland remained neutral, secure, assisted various organizations in promoting peace and hence became a haven for knowledge-seekers.
For the above reasons, I assume that Switzerland is one of the luckiest, if not the luckiest country. Due to this basis, the nation is very near to achieving what I would call perfection. The country is not flawless in all spheres though. I have listed some of the shortcomings below:
• Being a wealthy and prosperous region since ancient times, the cost of living is extraordinarily high. Only the richest can afford to live lavish and comfortable lives. The cost of tourism in the country is also equally high. These causes make this beautiful accessible to very few parts of the society.
• Swiss institutions are harsh towards non-Swiss students. While a Swiss student can get into one these reputable institutions with a little effort, a student like me, from India should be very hardworking and must struggle to do the same. Let me point out that this is not a quality that should be inculcated in a global institution. In order to become a prestigious international institute, the goal should be to acquire the best the scholars. The nationality should not matter.
Not all countries are as lucky and they need not be. No matter how unfortunate the history of our motherland may be, we should be proud of it, and should learn to respect its culture and traditions. We can take Switzerland as an example, learn from the mistakes of our past and work towards the betterment of our nation. We must aim to make our country and countrymen proud.