Why Switzerland is the best country in the world | Top countries
When it comes to Switzerland, it’s not all chocolate and cheese.
The country in the heart of Europe is also home to the world’s largest public food and nutrition company – Nestlé – and dozens of pharmaceutical companies, including global giants Hoffman-LaRoche and Novartis.
“Obviously the scenery is beautiful, the chocolate is amazing,” says Diccon Bewes, who moved to Switzerland from England 17 years ago and is a Bern-based travel writer. But Bewes says the secret to life in Switzerland is a consensual approach to life and politics that celebrates personal responsibility while providing a social system while embracing work-life balance.
“The positives for me are the quality of life,” he adds. “All stores are closed on Sundays, again. People usually stick to their 40 or 42 hour work week.
Switzerland’s reputation for an excellent quality of life is part of the reason it topped the 2022 Best Countries ranking, which this year surveyed more than 17,000 global citizens to gather their perceptions of 85 nations. The mountainous central European country clinched first place overall for the fifth time and ranked No. 4 in the quality of life sub-ranking.
Switzerland is a modern country with a highly educated and engaged population, and survey respondents viewed it positively on many attributes, including concern for human rights, health and safety. security, where it ranks #1. The country also ranks highly. for the stability of its politics and economy.
The Swiss, Bewes notes, have made an art of taking low-value items and using their skilled labor to turn them into high-value products, of which Nespresso is a prime example.
The Nestlé unit, based in Lausanne on the shores of Lake Geneva, is an international household word for its single-use capsule espresso coffee. The company took low-value beans and turned them into a global export, which helped Switzerland become one of the largest coffee exporters in the world.
Yet, despite its status as a global leader in finance and business, “Switzerland’s economy is dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises, which constitute more than 99% of the total number of its businesses”, according to a GIS Reports summary in 2019.
“While it is also true that each year more than 25 million watches and clocks are produced in Switzerland, they represent only 9% of Swiss exports,” noted GIS, a geopolitical economic forecaster. “Chemicals and pharmaceuticals represent more than 44% of the country’s total exports: machinery and electronics more than 14%.”
And despite being linked to the wider European economy, the small country has weathered the COVID-19 pandemic better than many of its neighbours.
“Globally competitive businesses, a highly skilled workforce and low reliance on hospitality and entertainment activities have mitigated the negative impact of pandemic containment measures,” says the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in its 2022 report. country report.
The Alpine nation has perfected what many other industrialized nations have eschewed: the creation of a highly skilled workforce committed to manufacturing high-end products and selling them to the global market. (Switzerland ranks 10th for the perception of having a skilled workforce, an attribute of the entrepreneurship sub-ranking.) second highest gross domestic product per capita in the world.
“Swiss products are expensive, but they tend to do well in domestic and international markets,” GIS noted. “Apparently Swiss companies are finding customers willing to pay the premium.”
Although its economy is a mainstay of the country, it is perhaps its fierce neutrality that most defines Switzerland’s history, which dates back more than 500 years, although its forces have engaged in peacekeeping missions peace and backed international sanctions against Russia for invading Ukraine earlier this year.
Daniel Warner, a Swiss-American political scientist and former assistant to the director of the University Institute of Geneva, says that while the country’s constitution excludes membership in military alliances such as NATO, the broader concept of political neutrality allows it to host world summits and be a member of the United Nations.
The issue of political neutrality, however, “is more complex and hotly debated,” Warner said in an email. “Although Switzerland has been the scene of important summits – Reagan/Gorbachev and recently Biden/Putin – it has joined the European Union in the sanctions against Russia, which has led a Russian spokesman to declare that the Switzerland was no longer neutral.”
“Political neutrality also explains why Switzerland joined the UN so late when all the UN agencies are in Geneva,” he adds. (The country joined the organization in 2002 following a referendum.) “Its neutrality allowed it to punch above its weight during the Cold War, but caused problems after 1989.”
Bewes says another key to Switzerland’s success is a political system that makes citizens feel included and produces a unique form of consensus among an audience that speaks four languages and is a quarter of immigrants.
“Politics here is kind of seen as a civic duty responsibility rather than a game show,” he says.