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  • Think of Switzerland and you might think of fine cheese, luxury chocolate and snow-capped mountains.


  • But you may also think of money.


  • Switzerland has one billionaire for every 80,000 people, making it the third most dense billionaire population in the world.

    瑞士每 8 萬人中就有一位億萬富翁,使其成為世界上億萬富翁人口密度第三高的地方。

  • Only Luxembourg and Hong Kong have a higher proportion of individuals with a net worth of at least ten figures.


  • Do you feel like you know any billionaires?


  • I personally know quite many billionaires, yes, and millionaires, yes.


  • I do not know any billionaires, no, no, no.


  • Plenty of millionaires, but no billionaires.


  • No, I don't! I wish I did, but I really don't.


  • Swiss residents are also among the richest in the world, with a mean net worth of almost $700,000, ahead of the U.S. and Hong Kong.

    瑞士居民也是世界上最富有的人之一,平均淨資產近 70 萬美元,領先於美國和香港。

  • That makes the country stand out on several key wealth metrics.


  • If you look at the income distribution, it has remained relatively stable over many decades now, it is much less unequal than many other countries.


  • The average person has it quite good here, but I mean that doesn't mean there aren't poor either. And then the super-rich, of course.


  • I mean, that difference is, of course, huge.


  • So, what makes Switzerland such an attractive place for the uber wealthy, and how does that extreme wealth affect the rest of Swiss society?


  • As of 2022, Switzerland was home to an estimated 110 billionaires with a combined wealth of $338 billion.

    截至 2022 年,瑞士約有 110 位億萬富翁總財富達 3,380 億美元。

  • That's well above other super-rich hotspots like Saudi Arabia, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.


  • Among some of the country's wealthiest residents are Chanel co-owner Gerard Wertheimer, the heirs of Ikea creator Ingvar Kamprad, and the founders of homegrown healthcare giant Roche.

    該國最富有的居民包括香奈兒的共同所有人傑拉德-韋特海默(Gerard Wertheimer),宜家創始人英格瓦-坎普拉德(Ingvar Kamprad)的繼承人、 以及本土醫療巨頭羅氏的創始人。

  • Switzerland is considered one of the most politically stable countries, with a strong reputation for political neutrality.


  • It means wealthy individuals can trust that their assets will be safe from any sudden leadership and policy changes.


  • The country also benefits from an attractive tax system, with low rates for both corporations and individuals, giving Switzerland a competitive advantage versus other locations.


  • The tax aspect is one part of the equation of rich individuals.


  • The form of income that very rich individuals tend to have is not labor income. Most of their income tends to be capital income or capital gains on the companies they hold.

    非常富有的人往往擁有的收入形式不是勞動收入。 他們的大部分收入往往是他們持有的公司的資本收入或資本利得。

  • And there is no capital gains tax on financial assets for it here in Switzerland, which of course is attractive for these kinds of rich individuals.


  • This means the Swiss aren't getting taxed on the profit they make when selling an asset that's increased in value.


  • And while there is no capital gains tax, Switzerland is one of the few European countries with a wealth tax, but it is set at a relatively low level of 0.1% to 1.1% of an individual's net wealth.


  • That tax is levied by individual cantons, or regions, of which Switzerland has 26.

    該稅由各州或地區徵收,瑞士有 26 個州或地區。

  • Martinhler, finance chief for the canton of Grisons, told me this system helps boost competitiveness.

    格勞賓登州財務總監馬丁·布勒 (Martin Bühler) 告訴我,這個系統有助於提高競爭力。

  • The cantons are responsible for everything that's not delegated to the confederation or delegated to the municipalities.


  • We are able to shape our financial policy independently, but we have some law confederation-wide where we have to be in line with.


  • We have the very globalized urban centres like Zurich, like Basel, Geneva, and Grisons is a very big on the surface canton, but in the periphery, it's more rural.


  • It means we need other goodies to find the people to attract people to live here.


  • The way we do it, we have, for example, by the wealth tax. So we have this competition between the cantons on one hand.

    例如,我們採取的方式是徵收財富稅。 因此,我們一方面存在著各州之間的競爭。

  • But we also are all interested that this is not exaggerating.


  • Switzerland also benefits from a strong Swiss franc, which lowers the cost of foreign goods and services while raising the price of Swiss exports.


  • The country's currency has Steadily strengthened over recent decades, reaching parity with the euro.


  • Meanwhile, it has held steady against a strong dollar.


  • You don't have to be afraid of a major depreciation of the currency here, which is kind of related also, of course, to the political stability, to the strong legal and institutional setting here.


  • The country is also considered a leading business destination, with world-class financial services, pharmaceuticals and chemical sectors.


  • It's also home to major business institutions such as the World Economic Forum, which famously gathers global business leaders to its annual event here in Davos.


  • Switzerland's banking sector developed a reputation over the twentieth century as a place of privacy and anonymity, making it a particularly attractive location for wealthy individuals to store their cash and potentially avoid taxes.


  • That system came under scrutiny following the Global Financial Crisis and the failure of several major Swiss banks, forcing the industry to clean up its act and require greater transparency from clients.


  • But still, it has retained its status as a hub for wealth management.


  • Historically, that has been part of what the Swiss banks have been doing essentially, helping rich individuals evade their taxes in other countries.


  • They've moved away from that business model and try to keep moving away from it because the international regulations have become stricter.


  • The shift comes as governments face increasing pressure to rein in the so-called billionaire class as many continue to struggle with the cost-of-living crisis.


  • A 2024 Oxfam report found that the combined fortunes of the world's five richest men have more than doubled to $869 billion since 2020, while five billion people have been made poorer.

    樂施會 2024 年的一份報告發現,自 2020 年以來,世界上最富有的五位富翁的財富總和增加了一倍多,達到 8,690 億美元,而 50 億人卻變得更加貧窮。

  • So what does Switzerland's ultra-rich population mean for the rest of the county and social cohesion overall?


  • To focus only on rich people would not fit anymore.


  • So we have to rethink. We have to get attractive for all parts for young people, for, I say, low qualified personnel.


  • It's not that easy anymore to say we can focus on this and the rest is okay.


  • It's a problem that there are so big differences, but we're lucky that we are living in Switzerland.


  • It's definitely true that Switzerland does have a bigger gap between the richer ones and, not poor, because we're not, but the less wealthy ones you could say.


  • Despite the extremes, however, Switzerland continues to rank highly on liveability and social harmony indices.


  • That is seen as being down to the country's social policies and labor laws, which ensure decent living standards for the less well-off too.


  • You see that the workings of the labor market, the education system that makes sure that even people further down the distribution actually make good incomes, has worked for a long time very well.


  • If you think about the system in which there is a social structure so that people who don't earn that much can still live quite well, that is probably a key element to the society.


Think of Switzerland and you might think of fine cheese, luxury chocolate and snow-capped mountains.


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