Monday, September 19, 2016

Switzerland + The Invention of Time. Efficiency + the Swiss Rail System

Switzerland has long been, per capita, one of the world's wealthiest nations. While a tiny country like the United Arab Emirates, with its vast oil reserves ranks higher, the Swiss have thrived despite having virtually no naturally resources, unless you count winter snow.

So how does this small, central European nation stay atop the charts? Yes, Switzerland's national pride, her labyrinthian banking system which hides trillions of dollars each year from the tax-man, earns the good Swiss citizens a nice commission. Plus there's chocolate.

Then there's the billions in annual royalties Rolex and Cartier earn from the country's invention of time. It should be noted, not every region of the world cuts a check when Switzerland's intellectual property department invoices. The entire continent of Africa scoffs at time even being "a thing," which explains why, in Ghana, some people are still waiting for the second party to show for meetings scheduled in the late 1990's.


But being the inventors of time, being leaders in banking and insurance, points to a larger cultural gestalt and that's the Efficiency of Swiss society. Everything in Switzerland operates with absolute precision from the ornate mechanical watches still produced, to the cities and countryside being kept sparkling clean.
Another manifestation is the Swiss railway system. Yes, like all things in this wealthy nation it's expensive, but the sun has missed more days rising than trains in Switzerland have arrived late. And the mode of travel is a pleasure, and an expedient way to visit the idyllic towns which line the sides and valleys of the Alps.
video: The train ride through the Alps on the way from Bern to Zermatt

In interest of keeping society running smoothly, rule breakers are heavy penalized. Boarding a Swiss train without a ticket is guaranteed to earn you a hefty fine. To boot, ticket inspectors here are not only extremely efficient, but sadly, non-bribable; unlike their Eastern Europe counterparts who will gladly throw in a massage.

On the whole, it makes Switzerland an incredibly easy place to visit and live. A wealthy country, where things on to do lists, both governmental and private, get done promptly, where people are reliable and socially conscious.
On the other hand, it is true that the Swiss have been voted the world's most boring people (source Richipedia 2016,) even beating out Saudis who at least develop and incubate some of the world's top terrorists.
So despite its dullness and being ridiculously expensive, it's still a beautiful country, and well worth seeing. "Ticket please."

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