The lack of neutrality when it is all about money

Written on June 22, 2007 by Max Oliva in Development

J.Pozuelo-Monfort, MSc candidate in economic development at LSE.
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Switzerland has earned a long-standing reputation of neutrality and has stayed away of the main armed conflicts of our time. This neutrality has deserved the respect of the international community and put Switzerland in a situation of remaining away of institutions such as the European Union. But when it comes to money Switzerland is not neutral. When it comes to money Switzerland takes advantage of its neutrality, of its independence, to serve the interest of the powerful, of the wealthy.
A recent article on the French quotidian Le Monde estimates at 4,000 the number of wealthy that have decided to relocate to Switzerland. Switzerland serves as a fiscal destination for individuals seeking to not contribute with taxes to society, whereas Ireland has done so over the past few years vis a vis corporations. The European Union has to lobby Switzerland to stop giving fiscal incentives to European-Union borns. The European Union has to reach consensus regarding corporate tax and wealth tax so that countries do not compete on the basis of taxation.
Switzerland has to stop attracting the wealthy by fiscally lowering their taxation. In a recent trip to Geneva I was not able to see the advantage of the increase in revenue through taxation thanks to the foreigners that get settled in Switzerland. The average Swiss does not for sure benefit from this taxation. Public transportation is not better than in surrounding countries. Public infrastructure is not better than in surrounding countries. Fiscal incentives are only benefiting the better off in Switzerland at the expense of the middle class in Europe.


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