I believe that Switzerland has the best government system in the world. It is definitely not perfect (it’s no liquid democracy), but light years better than every other country’s government I’ve seen. On top of that, the economy is very strong with some of the highest wages in the world. And despite having very low taxes (substantially lower than the U.S), Switzerland has among the most generous welfare systems in the world, as evidenced by the lack of homeless people in the city centers (unlike cities in the U.S like NYC, SF, and LA which are facing homeless epidemics). It’s no wonder that Switzerland is such a highly desired country to immigrate to.
First of all you’ve got direct democracy in the form of their referendum system. Collect 100,000 signatures in 1.5 years and anything can be brought up to a nationwide vote. Forward thinking policies like basic income and full reserve banking have already been voted on when it wasn’t even on other countries’ radars. Even if it’s not simple to get a referendum passed, just the mere possibility puts pressure on lawmakers to act in their citizens’ best interest.
For more on the Swiss political system, this is a fantastic article that goes much more in depth. Another fun fact is that Switzerland has 7 presidents.
Taxes are very low in Switzerland. There is no capital gains tax on investments held for 6 months and meeting a few other conditions. Income tax on a typical salary is only 10-20%.
Generous Social Benefits
Despite low taxes, Switzerland has a very generous welfare system. Welfare is 2,200 CHF (~$2,362)/month, and one can live off it indefinitely. If you work at a job for 2 years, you can quit your job and still receive 70% of your salary from the government for another 2 years. And of course you have the typical European benefits like universal healthcare (though it’s done through a system of private insurance).
Strong Economy and High Wages
Switzerland has a strong economy with high wages. The average wage is $64,824/year, ranked 4th in the world. GDP/capita is $66,307, or 9th in the world. Despite not having a government-mandated minimum wage, jobs pay at least $4-4.5k/month.
Switzerland has the best government system I’ve seen due largely to its referendum system which gives citizens the direct ability to get policies passed. It was very interesting walking around Switzerland and seeing billboards advertising for and against policies up for vote (eg. whether smoking advertisements should be allowed). This is what a real democracy is supposed to look like. Delegative/Liquid democracy is still the ideal government system, but Switzerland’s government is still light years ahead of that of the U.S.
As an American who’s traveled the world, I’d often ask people which country they’d like to immigrate to if given the opportunity, and was initially surprised at how often Switzerland came up. In fact I think I heard Switzerland more often than the U.S, especially in Europe. And it makes sense – high wages, EU / Schengen zone membership, diverse population, high quality of life. The primary downside is that prices in Switzerland are highest in the world, excluding rent.
I’m not suggesting that Switzerland is necessarily the best country to live in as that is a highly subjective question that will vary for each individual, but Switzerland’s government is definitely worth studying as a case study in what a real democracy should look like.