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Club of Amsterdam, June 25, 2003 Re-Inventing Democracies for the Future: A few Remarks on the Swiss «Model»

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Presentation on theme: "Club of Amsterdam, June 25, 2003 Re-Inventing Democracies for the Future: A few Remarks on the Swiss «Model»"— Presentation transcript:

1 Club of Amsterdam, June 25, 2003 Re-Inventing Democracies for the Future: A few Remarks on the Swiss «Model»

2 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 2 «Super Sunday», May 18, 2003: National vote on 9 propositions Reform of the armed forces Civil defense and population protection Program for the creation of apprenticeships Closure of nuclear power plants Moratorium for refurbishing nuclear power plants Income and wealth-tested premiums for health care insurance «Four Sundays without Car Traffic» Equal rights of access for the handicapped Regulations for «Fair Rents»

3 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 3 Closure of nuclear power plants

4 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 4 Income and wealth-tested premiums for health care insurance

5 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 5 High hurdles: Popular and state vote PropositionPopular Vote % Nay State Vote Nay : Yea Moratorium on nuclear power59,422 : 1 Equal rights for handycapped62,320 : 3 «Four Car-free Sundays»62,323 : 0 Closure of nuclear plants66,322½ : ½ Regulation for «Fair Rents«67,322 : 1 Programm for apprenticeships68,423 : 0 Health care insurance72,923 : 0

6 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 6 Examples for cantonal votes (%Yea) Law on extended shopping hours (2000, 56%) Cantonal supplements to federal social security payments (44,1%) Cantonal investment in Crossair/Swiss (55,5%)

7 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 7

8 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 8 Examples for communal votes Budgeting and expenditure authority of local council (2002, 863 yeas vs. 611 nays, 51,4% voter participation) Contribution of CHF 2’481’200.- for renovation of regional hospital (2001, 3133 yeas vs nays, 33,3% voter participation)

9 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 9 Direct democracy on the rise: More votes 1848 – 1970: 223 (Ø 1,9/year) 1971 – 1990: 256 (Ø 7,8/year) 1991 – 2001: 105 (Ø 9,5/year)

10 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 10 Participation in elections and in votes

11 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 11 Declining vote participation Vote participation rate >> election participation rate → limited role of parliament → stable 4 party government («Magic Formula») Participation rate depends on mix/composition of ballot → (additive) issue voting → high degree of predictability

12 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 12 Mandatory referendums as confirmation and legitimation of consensus process Mandatory referendums –Amendments to the Constitution –Membership in supranational organizations –Majority of voters and majority of the cantons required : 198 votes 75% accepted

13 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 13 Optional referendums as veto mechanism for special interest groups/cantons Optional referendums –Laws and certain international treaties –50’000 voter signatures required within 100 days after final vote by parliament –Majority of voters required : 141 votes 51% accepted

14 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 14 Low success rates for popular initiative Popular initiatives –Amendment to the Constitution –100‘000 voter signatures required within 18 months –General proposal or precise paragraphs –Optional counter-proposal by government/parliament plus tiebreaker –Agenda setting and reform function : 138 votes 8,7% accepted

15 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 15 In praise of direct democracy … More communicative politics Reduction of apathy and cynicism, increase of self-esteem (and happiness) Financial and fiscal restraint Collective learning processes Antidote to the «personalization» (and banalization) of politics (?) Restoration of trust (?)

16 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 16

17 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 17 Switzerland with low (or no) growth Schweiz USA EU EFTA Basisjahr 1984 = 100, Quelle: OECD

18 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 18

19 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 19 Growth 1980 – 2000: Switzerland‘s position according to 3 concepts of GDP GDP standardizedCommand GDPGDP in PPP

20 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 20 Ranking GDP per capita: Top Ten CHUSALUX CHUSA IRL USACANCHNORIRLUSA DNKNORCAN NOR SWEISLJPNDNK KOR AUSLUXDNKCHCANDNK CANDNKISLIRLJPN NLDSWE AUS NLZAUSNORBELCHCAN NORNLDFINJPNISLGBR

21 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 21 Projection of GDP per capita for 2015

22 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 22 Labor force participation, 1999 (in %) Schweiz Norwegen Japan USA Grossbritannien Kanada Schweden Australien Fürstentum Lichtenstein Österreich Niederlande Neuseeland Deutschland Frankreich Irland Italien Belgien Quelle: OECD, 1999

23 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 23 Growth of labor productivity,

24 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 24 Patterns of labor productivity Quelle: seco 2003 (Studien zum Wachstumsbericht) Modèle Anglo- Saxon Modèle Latin Modèle Scandinave Japon Modèle Allemand Suisse

25 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 25 Change in public expenditure (% of GDP),

26 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 26 Change in fiscal quota,

27 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 27 Change in public debt,

28 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 28

29 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 29 The price of direct democracy (and «extreme» federalism)? Chronic lack of growth, low productivity Loss of competitive advantages Missed opportunities due to, and of, Non-EU- membership Systemic blockage of necessary reforms Demographic trap: democratic majority of elderly voters against younger generations? Territorial units VS. urban development

30 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 30 December 6, 1992: 50,3% of voters and two thirds of cantons vote against EES

31 TH Club of AmsterdamInterlaken 31 Electricity prices for industrial clients in selected cities in Europe and Switzerland ( ) Quelle: Enerprice / Avenir Suisse, 2003

32 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 32 Liberalization of postal service market (2001): Switzerland still with a weighty monopoly

33 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 33 Speed of liberalization: Slow Switzerland

34 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 34 The price of direct democracy (and «extreme» federalism)? Chronic lack of growth, low productivity Loss of competitive advantages Missed opportunities due to, and of, Non-EU- membership Systemic blockage of necessary reforms Demographic trap: democratic majority of elderly voters against younger generations? Territorial units VS. urban development

35 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 35 Effects of federalism on veto players and other institutions

36 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 36 Veto players «In Switzerland, a federal country with a combination of bicameralism und qualified majority decision making, the role of the President of the Confederation is even more reduced; in fact, Swiss Citizen may even ignore his name. George Tsebelis, Federalism and Veto players

37 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 37 The price of direct democracy (and «extreme» federalism)? Chronic lack of growth, low productivity Loss of competitive advantages Missed opportunities due to, and of, Non-EU- membership Systemic blockage of necessary reforms Demographic trap: democratic majority of elderly voters against younger generations? Territorial units VS. urban development

38 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 38

39 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 39 Reform of federalism (>> direct democracy) Centralization [«fédéraliser»] Equalization? Unbundling? New layers (agglomerations) New territorial Functional, overlapping, and competing jurisdiction (FOCI) New definition and reduction of territorial units

40 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 40 Net-contributors and net-receivers due to New (federalist) Financial Equalization (in Mio. CHF)

41 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 41 Reform of federalism (>> direct democracy) Centralization [«fédéraliser»] Equalization? Unbundling? New layers (agglomerations) New territorial Functional, overlapping, and competing jurisdiction (FOCI) New definition and reduction of territorial units

42 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 42

43 TH/June Club of Amsterdam 43 A program for autonomous (economic) policy reform (?) Maximum openess for international exchange and immigration Liberalization of domestic markets, decisive free market and competition policy Active foreign trade policy in all directions Redimensioning of welfare state, strengthening individual responsibility Investment in education and research (plus structural innovation) Maintain and protect Swiss accomplishments: liberal and flexible labor market, high quality infrastructure, safety, quality of life


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