February 9, 2014

Swiss voters fail to heed Swiss bankers

From the NYT:
Swiss Voters Narrowly Approve Curbs on Immigration 
By MELISSA EDDY FEB. 9, 2014

BERLIN — A narrow majority of voters in Switzerland on Sunday approved proposals that would reintroduce restrictions on the number of foreigners who are allowed to live and work in the country, a move that could have far-reaching implications for Switzerland’s relations with the European Union. 
The referendum on the changes to the country’s liberal immigration law was a rebuke to the Swiss government, the banking industry and business leaders who had lobbied against the restrictions, warning that such a move could endanger Switzerland’s prosperity.

Obviously, Swiss bankers are our ethical exemplars. What kind of crazy lunacy is this where Swiss voters reject the moral advice of Swiss bankers? Has the world gone mad?
... The Swiss agreed in 2008 to participate in the Pan-European accord known as the Schengen Agreement, which led to the dismantling of patrols at its borders and the free movement of its citizens to European Union nations. 
... The Swiss initiative foresees annual quotas on the number of immigrants allowed to work in the country, as well as limits for specific sectors. It would also require preference be given to Swiss applicants for open positions. 
... In Brussels, the European Commission issued a statement saying that it was “disappointed” that the initiative had passed, adding that it would have to study the vote’s implications on relations between the European Union and Switzerland. 

Switzerland, by the way, isn't part of the EU, the voters having rejected the first step toward EU membership in 1992. You know how with the EU you can check out but you can never leave? Well, the EU thinks that you can never leave even if you've never checked in.
The outcome on Sunday seemed to reflect a disconnect between the government and industry and voters, who approved the introduction of curbs on excessive salaries for business executives two years ago. “We always thought the argument about jobs would win people over,” Urs Schwaller, a lawmaker with the centrist Christian People’s Party, said in an interview with the Swiss television channel SRF. “Clearly, that wasn’t enough.”

Australia, Norway, Switzerland all voting against immigration recently. Shouldn't the National Endowment for Democracy fund some protests in these countries against the spreading tide of anti-democracy? By the way, it's been hundreds of years since Switzerland invaded another country, so shouldn't we bomb them or something? Why are we pussy-footing around regarding the Swiss Menace? Are we running out Kagans?
 

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

The outcome on Sunday seemed to reflect a disconnect between the government and industry and voters...

Is Switzerland the only country with a disconnect between the voters and government/industry?

Anonymous said...

Steve, surely you know that countries like Switzerland are just supposed to be the advertizing backdrop, the pretty picture, the brand, for big international mega-corporations that can bribe their way to anywhere, that can "atomize" any society based on Democracy and Individuality. They aren't actually supposed to mean anything. Tarnation, if they did they might have their own policies and stuff, look after their own, sometimes stand up to mega-corp... the horror, the horror.

Let's! said...

What kind of crazy lunacy is this where Swiss voters reject the moral advice of Swiss bankers?

I think the bankers were offering economic advice not moral advice.

leftist conservative said...

gosh, what a horrible nation where the citizens get to decide policy!

Why....it's mob rule!!

Horrors!

Gee, small and homogeneous....what sort of nation is that? Um, a highly democratic nation?

Say, I think I detect a principle at work here: the smaller and more homogeneous that a given western nation is, in general, the more democratic it is (where democracy is defined by the degree of control the majority of citizens have over their nation).

And of course that same theory would tell us that as a nation grows larger and more heterogeneous (diverse!), the less democratic it becomes and the less the government has to obey the will of the people.

But anyone can see how preposterous such a theory really is. Why, look at this beacon of democracy called America--we have grown and grown and grown with this wonderful mass immigration....and look at us...we are more democratic than ever. Our elected politicians are falling all over themselves trying as best they can to carry out the will of the majority. So, there!

Why, we have so much democracy nowadays that we go spreading democracy all over the world!

Bruno Proctovious said...

50.2%. It'll be back. And next time it'll win. Half of Switzerland gazes longingly at East LA. That half only has to get lucky once.

Auntie Analogue said...


Good on the Swiss! Also, internally their canton arrangement of local-regional government has worked splendidly - arguably much better than has our thoroughly traduced U.S. federalism.

Anonymous said...

I think the bankers were offering economic advice not moral advice.

I think they often conveniently package their economic advice as the equivalent of moral advice. Surely, the economy is all about the greater good? GDP uber alles! Our stock must grow! Immigration! Immigration!

Anonymous said...

The funny thing is that all the "neoreaction" dorks and monarchist fags think "democracy" is the problem for things like immigration when the reality is that if voters were able to vote for things like immigration in referendums there'd basically never be immigration.

Anonymous said...

Leftist Conservative:'Gee, small and homogeneous....what sort of nation is that? Um, a highly democratic nation?"

Small, yes, but not highly homogeneous. One of the fascinating things about Switzerland is how they have managed to make a multi-lingual and multi-ethnic state function.

leftist conservative said...

Anonymous said...

Leftist Conservative:'Gee, small and homogeneous....what sort of nation is that? Um, a highly democratic nation?"

Small, yes, but not highly homogeneous. One of the fascinating things about Switzerland is how they have managed to make a multi-lingual and multi-ethnic state function


yes, that is the counter argument that is disseminated via the mass media. But if you actually look at the facts on the ground, the swiss people that are *in each district* are far more homogeneous *within* that district that, say, the average senatorial district (state) in the USA. That is crucial.

The swiss people do not elect politicians with power from the nation as a whole. This is crucial. They have a parliamentarian govt (like every other western nation, in general). In such a governmental structure the power of the govt is placed in the hands of the politicians elected from small (and relatively homogeneous) political districts.

Homogeneity within the districts that have the actual power is the most important element. Thus, in a french speaking district, most everyone speaks french. Thus there is a high degree of cultural unity. Thus the interests of the people are well represented by the politician they elect. Same goes for the politicians elected from german speaking districts. Each goes to the parliament and represents their constituents far better than senators represent the majority of the citizens in their states. Why? Because the common, shared interests of voters are much more well defined. Well...defined...a crucial concept!


Also, as a practical matter, although parts of switz speak french primarily, and parts speak german, primarily, the vast majority are bilingual. Plus, they look alike. You cannot generally tell a french speaker from a german speaking swiss by appearance.

So the degree of heterogeneity is thereby decreased via these mitigating factors.


leftist conservative said...

Auntie Analogue said...


Good on the Swiss! Also, internally their canton arrangement of local-regional government has worked splendidly - arguably much better than has our thoroughly traduced U.S. federalism.


American federalism works quite well...for the class of people who designed it--the plutocrats.

They designed american federalism, and it benefits them.

Who cares whether it benefits the average american citizen? Right?

ATBOTL said...

"Shouldn't the National Endowment for Democracy fund some protests in these countries against the spreading tide of anti-democracy?"

"Radio Free Europe" already pushes multi-culturalism and open borders on Europeans.

We need to be making conservative Americans more aware of the fact that most other countries are moving in the direction less immigration and that amnesty is not even being discussed anywhere else.

Anonymous said...

Australia, Switzerland, and Norway are among the three wealthiest countries in the world.

Norway, in particular, is currently enjoying a standard of living that no nation-state in the history of the world has ever achieved thanks to a prolonged oil boom.(average household income above $100,000)

Remarkable that they could pull this off without admitting huge numbers of illiterate newcomers. Don't they know immigration is good for the economy?

Reg Cæsar said...

Ah, but Americans did vote for open borders, bigtime, in 1964. They only thought they were voting for Social Security.

And, no, the Goldwater states don't get a pass on this-- they were also FDR's strongest. The true purpose of the welfare state is to elect the welfarist party over and over, and give them carte blanche.

Anonymous said...

"By the way, it's been hundreds of years since Switzerland invaded another country, so shouldn't we bomb them or something?"


The US did (accidentally) bomb Switzerland a few times in WWII. The Swiss occasionally shot down Allied bombers (sometimes after the crew had bailed out). Allied bombers occasionally shot down Swiss fighters (often taking them for German). The Swiss air force would try to force any plane, Axis or Allied, to land. If it didn't cooperate they'd shoot. The crews of over 100 USAF bombers were held prisoners of the Swiss for the duration of the war:

"Switzerland... suffered from Allied bombings... most notably from the accidental bombing of Schaffhausen by American planes on April 1, 1944. It was mistaken for Ludwigshafen am Rhein, a German town 284 kilometres away, 40 people were killed and over 50 buildings destroyed, among them a group of small factories producing anti-aircraft shells, ball-bearings, and Bf-109 parts for Germany...

In February 1945, 18 civilians were killed by Allied bombs dropped over Stein am Rhein, Vals, and Rafz. Arguably the most notorious incident came on March 4, 1945, when both Basel and Zurich were accidentally bombed by Allied aircraft. The attack on Basel's railway station led to the destruction of a passenger train, but no casualties... However, a B-24 Liberator dropped its bomb load over Zürich, destroying two buildings and killing five civilians. The aircraft's crew believed that they were attacking Freiburg in German... the pilot and navigator, in choosing a target of opportunity... even missed the country they were aiming for."



Also: "...the Swiss... shot down 11 Luftwaffe planes between 10 May 1940 and 17 June 1940. ... Hitler was especially furious when he saw that German equipment was shooting down German pilots."



Here's a list of US bombers downed in Switzerland.

Last year the POW medal was granted to USAF internees held in Switzerland in WWII. They now have a website, Welcome to the Swiss Internees Association Website.

Anonymous said...

“It is far more than a political slap in the face,” the left-leaning newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung wrote in an editorial published on its website after the result was announced. “The Yes to the ‘Massive Immigration Initiative’ is a censure that is comparable to No to the European Economic Area.

“What the verdict means for relations between Switzerland and the E.U. is completely open, but it certainly won’t be good for the economic vitality and prosperity in this country.”


And money, of course, is Everything.

Anonymous said...

Is it too obvious to point out that Switzerland would have to have severe immigration restriction? 99.99 of the world would be living better to live like them.

I always see these things saying Best Cities in the world to live. Do people not see these things and aspire to move from Mexico City or Sudan, or Lagos, or ad infinitum?

I once read an article on immigration, forget where, and they talked to an African immigrant to Europe (I think it was Italy). He said if Europe had open borders everyone from Africa would move there.

Call them racist, but I can see why the Europeans would quibble with this.

Anonymous said...

50.2%. It'll be back. And next time it'll win. Half of Switzerland gazes longingly at East LA. That half only has to get lucky once.

I fear this comment is correct. Like any other issue pushed by the left, it will continue to be put up for a vote until they get the vote they want. At which point the issue will be settled and can never, never, never again be debated.

Anonymous said...

Small, yes, but not highly homogeneous. One of the fascinating things about Switzerland is how they have managed to make a multi-lingual and multi-ethnic state function


leftists Conservative:"yes, that is the counter argument that is disseminated via the mass media. But if you actually look at the facts on the ground, the swiss people that are *in each district* are far more homogeneous *within* that district that, say, the average senatorial district (state) in the USA. That is crucial.

The swiss people do not elect politicians with power from the nation as a whole. This is crucial. They have a parliamentarian govt (like every other western nation, in general). In such a governmental structure the power of the govt is placed in the hands of the politicians elected from small (and relatively homogeneous) political districts.

Homogeneity within the districts that have the actual power is the most important element. Thus, in a french speaking district, most everyone speaks french. Thus there is a high degree of cultural unity. Thus the interests of the people are well represented by the politician they elect. Same goes for the politicians elected from german speaking districts. Each goes to the parliament and represents their constituents far better than senators represent the majority of the citizens in their states. Why? Because the common, shared interests of voters are much more well defined. Well...defined...a crucial concept!"


Well, yes, bu the point is that one would normally expect such well-defined cultural zones to fly apart. We have seen numerous such assemblages split asunder over the last few centuries, and the ones that are still with us (Belgium, Canada, etc) display strong centrifugal tendencies.The Swiss, in contrast, seem to make it work.


Leftist Conservative:"Also, as a practical matter, although parts of switz speak french primarily, and parts speak german, primarily, the vast majority are bilingual."

Again, the fascinating thing is how the Swiss have managed to forgo the linguistic tensions that we see in other multi-lingual states. The Swiss seem to sui generis on this point.


Leftist Conservative:" Plus, they look alike. You cannot generally tell a french speaker from a german speaking swiss by appearance."

Looking alike means nothing. For the bulk of human history people have hated and killed people who are physically similar.How physically different are Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland?

Leftist Conservative:"So the degree of heterogeneity is thereby decreased via these mitigating factors."

Yes, but those same factors, in other states, lead to tension and social disharmony. The mystery of the Swiss lies in how they manage to make it work.

Anonymous said...

Good for the Swiss.

Anonymous said...

"Like any other issue pushed by the left, it will continue to be put up for a vote until they get the vote they want. At which point the issue will be settled and can never, never, never again be debated."

We need to give them a taste of their own medicine on this. Never let up. Keep up the pressure. That's what it takes. A lot of how things have gotten to where they are today is that they always keep it up, like you say, until people say "ok, whatever" and they get their way. Keep saying no, like training a dog.

It's like saying yes to panhandlers in a place where panhandlers gather. You've got to get comfortable at saying no, you've got to get good at saying no, you've got to always say no, and you've got to feel good about saying no. It's not hard.

Anonymous said...

""""The referendum on the changes to the country’s liberal immigration law was a rebuke to the Swiss government, the banking industry and business leaders who had lobbied against the restrictions, warning that such a move could endanger Switzerland’s prosperity.""""



Has Malcolm Gladwell's style been appropriated into world news reporting? Just repeat the PC talking points and that's it?

First of all, Switzerland is a tiny nation with a small land mass. The country's size is smaller than the state of Ohio.

Second, Switzerland is a global economic power chiefly due to its international banking. The unrestricted immigration was NOT letting in unlimited numbers of Carlos Slim; Mark Zuckerberg; Kagans galore; etc.

Third, exactly why is it the NYT business what another nation wants to do regarding its own immigration polic---oh, right. It's the NYT we're talking about and the board of directors probably have their own Swiss accounts.

Fourth, that proves the point though. Since banking and high end banking at that is what keeps the country going its not as if these international movers and shakers actually LIVE there. They have their private accounts there and trade on the stock exchange there but aside from that, its not like you really want to live there all yr round.

Bottom line: It's the Swiss business and ONLY their business as to what they want to do with setting their own policies. They didn't get dragged into various conflicts over the last century and being told off by NYT isn't likely to dissuade them either.

Good for the Swiss! Now if they only made their cheese with more taste and fewer holes.

Anonymous said...

"50.2%. It'll be back. And next time it'll win. Half of Switzerland gazes longingly at East LA. That half only has to get lucky once."

Maybe not. According to the article, most of the voters are ruralites, who have more children than urbanites.

It ain't over til the fat lady sings.

Anonymous said...

I think it's cute how Swiss banks are all of a sudden immoral. It isn't like three days ago Sailer published a large laudatory post involving Swiss banks. Also shouldn't the enemy of my enemy crowd love them some Swiss banks. I mean I agree it's tawdry how business interests get so involved in these things, but come on Steve's never expressed anything but admiration for Swiss banks until this referendum.

Average Joe said...

I think the bankers were offering economic advice not moral advice

Unfortunately, that "advice" was to undermine Swizz workers in order to benefit the elites of Switzerland.

Harry Baldwin said...

Somewhat OT, but still on immigration, the All Star panel on Fox News Friday night briefly discussed the poor monthly jobs report and whether amnesty would help or hurt employment opportunities in the US. This is the kind of conundrum that baffles the deep thinkers at Fox: economy created 113,000 jobs in December, US let in 90,000 or so immigrants in same month; possible problem? No one had a clear thought, but the Washington Post's Charles Lane mentioned he had just seen an ad on Fox sponsored by a "conservative group" supporting comprehensive immigration reform. Of course the moron was referring to the Mark Zuckerberg false-flag operation, Americans for a Conservative Direction. These highly paid pundits have absolutely no interest in this issue.

Mr Drab said...

"Australia, Norway, Switzerland all voting against immigration recently..."

The new government in Australia has managed to crack down on illegal immigration since it was swept to power last year. Sadly, legal immigration into Australia continues to run at high levels. Both sides of politics have swallowed the nonsense that immigration is good for the economy (more people equals larger GDP) and therefore Australia should continue to be open to mass immigration from all over the world. They never bother to consider the impacts of immigration on the existing population.

Even the current prime minister, Tony Abbott, who has spoken about promoting Australia's British heritage and is often painted as a hardline conservative in the media, seems to think that flooding the country with non-Western immigrants is fine.

Anonymous said...

"50.2%. It'll be back. And next time it'll win. Half of Switzerland gazes longingly at East LA. That half only has to get lucky once."

To what "it" are you referring. The referendum was to reduce legal immigration by taking Switzerland out of the open borders Schengen Zone. "It" - our guys; the good side; the side fighting the immigration insanity which has gripped the West - won.

It barely won during a good economy. If times were worse it would have sailed through.

The people of Switzerland have spoken. Now, in the spirit of modern democracy, it's time for their leaders to set to work finding a way to ignore them.

Anonymous said...

An open immigration arrangement between Switzerland and the EU is utter madness.
Notwithstanding the fact that there are literally tens of millions of hungry eastern Euro workers who would just love to have a bite of the Swiss cherry - and move in on Switzerland with their wives and families - also these days with the EU inspired economic collapse of southern Europe, there are millions and millions of long-term unemployed southern European youth who would just love the chance to start out in Switzerland.
And apart from all of that, it gets even worse. The rising ethnic component of much of the 'traditional' EU heartland is black and brown. Disaffected, surly and rebellious black and brown with a chip on its shoulder - and usually confined to god-awful slum ghettoes in England or France. Gosh!, how they would just love the chance to move in on Germanic, anal-retentive, fussy, chocolate-box Switzerland with all of its goodies and geegaws. Beats the shitholes of Brixton and Tottenham hands down all the time. And if the EU had it's way, there's f*ck all the Swiss could do about it.

Anonymous said...

Let's get one thing clear. The EU has got absolutely nothing to do with 'free trade' as envisioned by the old-time economists.
Rather it uses 'free trade' in the same way that the mafia runs a 'protection racket' ie "play the game our way or pay heavy consequences".

5371 said...

If a vote could have been held to exclude specifically non-white immigrants, that proposal would probably have been passed by a bigger margin.

Anonymous said...

leftist conservative said..

"American federalism works quite well...for the class of people who designed it--the plutocrats."

Apportion blame where it belongs. The system designed by the original plutocrats, Madison, Jefferson et. al, worked much like the Swiss system, but Lincoln quite consciously destroyed that system and we celebrate that achievement to this day through such devices as Steven Spielberg hagiographies.

Åsille Olava said...

Seems European liberals now have got yet another disease to fight: the growing Germanophobia.

According to Wikipedia:

"Since 2007, there have been reports on Swiss xenophobia (or "germanophobia") directed against German immigration....Helbling found that the Germans were the fourth-most disliked immigrant group in Zürich, following the immigrants from Former Yugoslavia (considered as a single group), Turkey and the Arab World."

Anonymous said...

@Anon 11:30,

My bad, I had the intent of the referendum reversed. You're right, this is positive motion, not a brief halt in negative motion.

But how did the voting break down by age?

Reg Cæsar said...

The system designed by the original plutocrats, Madison, Jefferson et. al, worked much like the Swiss system, but Lincoln quite consciously destroyed that system…--anon

Yeah, right.

The Swiss would have put Lincoln's colonization proposal before white voters in the South-- all whites, not just planters and their overseers, who vigo(u)rously opposed it. The fugitive slave statutes and the Dred Scott decision showed that Southern leadership was just fine with federal hegemony and interference when it worked in their favor.

The war of 1861 was just as élite-driven as any other. Both sides were fighting for "diversity" against the true interests of the common white man. (Note that the blacker the state, the earlier the secession.)

Had Davis prevailed, South Carolina would look like a lot more like South Africa than Inner Appenzell today.

Anonymous said...

I think it's cute how Swiss banks are all of a sudden immoral. It isn't like three days ago Sailer published a large laudatory post involving Swiss banks.


That acid you dropped in the sixties really did a number on you. (Or you're just a pathological liar, but I'm trying to be charitable here)

Mr. Anon said...

"leftist conservative said...

Why, look at this beacon of democracy called America--we have grown and grown and grown with this wonderful mass immigration....and look at us...we are more democratic than ever. Our elected politicians are falling all over themselves trying as best they can to carry out the will of the majority. So, there!"

Why, our government is so concerned about carrying out the will of the people, that it routinely spies on them, the better to discern that will. They care about us - just like a stalker would.

Mr. Anon said...

Democracy is too important to be left to the people.

Rohan Swee said...

It's always fun to compare the "readers' picks" to the "NYT picks" in the comments on immigration-related articles.

Some pro-restrictionists remain a bit unclear on the point of open-borders, though: One writes:

"Only an economist would not understand what happens to a rich country when it is inundated...It is a sad situation, but bankrupting wealthy nations and turning them into poor nations is not the solution."

But my dear chap, it is the solution! Not to your problems, of course, and only coincidentally to the problems of immigrants. "Bankrupting wealthy nations and turning them into poor nations" only means most people in them who used to be not-poor will become poor. It doesn't mean everybody there is going to be poor. And if you're the sort of person who's discovered that just fleecing poor nations hasn't made you as rich as you'd like, what other solution is there but turning your efforts to gutting rich nations? That's where the money is, as the distinguished economist W. Sutton once theorized.

Anonymous said...

It's like being happy that only 49% of your population voted for Pol Pot.

Fake Herzog said...

And right on cue, Bryan Caplan says the lesson to be learned is that the Swiss need more immigration to cure them of their bias against immigrants:

http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2014/02/what_the_swiss.html

You can't make this stuff up...

Mr. Anon said...

"Fake Herzog said...

And right on cue, Bryan Caplan says the lesson to be learned is that the Swiss need more immigration to cure them of their bias against immigrants:"

They should try importing some Somalis and Chechens. That'll do the trick. And while they're at it, they should send a few to live with Bryan Caplan.

Willis said...

The media instantly rushes to denounce the people of Switzerland (27% foreign born) as "xenophobic."

At what point are the Swiss reasonably allowed to be concerned about too much immigration? When it's 50% foreign-born? 75% foreign-born? 90% foreign-born? Never?

Does the demos own the democracy, or does the concept of democracy not really matter much anymore?

Switzerland is now home to more foreigners than all but a handful of states, but the Swiss are xenophobic to object.

Anonymous said...

Bryan Caplan says that the Swiss vote against immigration proves that there isn't enough immigration:

http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2014/02/what_the_swiss.html#comments

"The natural inference to draw, then, is the opposite of Tyler's: The main hurdle to further immigration is insufficient immigration. If countries could just get over the hump of status quo bias, anti-immigration attitudes would become as socially unacceptable as domestic racism. Instead of coddling nativism with gradualism, we can, should, and must peacefully destroy nativism with abolitionism."