In Switzerland, cars are registered in the canton where the car owner resides, so most cars in a given canton bear the plates of that canton. However, there is a notable exception. Cars with plates from Appenzell-Innerrhoden (AI), Switzerland’s least populated canton, seem to pop up in large numbers everywhere. Why? Most car owners are […]
Question of the week: should we redistribute the wealth of the 26 richest billionaires?
A dislike of unfairness is hardwired into us. So when we read that 26 billionaires own as much as the poorest half of humanity, it triggers anger in many. In 2018, combined global income (GDP) was US$86 trillion. The wealth of these 26 billionaires (US$ 1.4 trillion) is 1.6% of this annually recurring sum. If […]
Question of the week: what happens to failed asylum seekers in Switzerland?
A recent report by Switzerland’s federal migration commission looks at this question. Between 2008 and 2017, around 180,000 asylum seekers left Switzerland, mostly because their applications failed. Around 92,000 left in a “controlled” manner, most (80%) voluntarily with no support. The remaining 20% were given money to help them leave and resettle in their home […]
Question of the week: is this 1953 video on how to make a true man helpful?
Back in 1953 the Puerto Rico Department of Health created the Mental Health Film Board Series on the Emotions of Everyday Living. This one entitled Roots of Happiness offers advice on how a father might make a true man of his son while showing how another appears to get things wrong. While it is unlike […]
Question of the week: why is male disadvantage rarely discussed?
Research on gender inequality tends to focus on issues disadvantaging women. A study published earlier this year suggests issues disadvantaging men have been understudied. Areas where men fair badly compared to women are life (and healthy life) expectancy, health spending, suicide, pension age, compulsory military service, harsher punishments for the same crimes, prison numbers, homelessness, […]
Question of the week: how ethical are addictive video games used by children?
In most countries many addictive products are restricted. Gambling, tobacco, alcohol and many other drugs are controlled or kept out of reach of children. While video games are not in the same league as these things, in the hands of children, addictive games can consume precious time and stand in the way of sleep and […]
Question of the week: why would we expect governments to be effective?
Democratic governments are complex dynamic collections of people with diverse ideas working with and against each other in response to a multitude of internal and external forces in an increasingly complex world. Such groups can really only be expected to slowly move forward via messy compromise. Why then would we expect governments to act decisively […]
Question of the week: why do so many expect government to solve climate change?
Climate protests are becoming increasingly regular and their message appears to be aimed primarily at government. However, we are all, protestors included, contributing to the problem by consuming food, energy, clothing and by moving around. And while there are things governments could do, they appear to be largely damned if they do and damned if […]
Question of the week: when did you last say “I don’t know”?
There is little we can predict, particularly where complex systems are involved. However, in the face of impossible uncertainty, some of us claim, often quite vigorously, to know the future – if we do this then this will happen. The world seems to put a premium on answers. Some, like politicians, business leaders, consultants and […]
Question of the week: why are people doing horrible things sometimes described as animals?
Is animal behaviour on the whole as bad as despicable human behaviour? And if it isn’t why do we use this expression? What do you think? For more stories like this on Switzerland follow us on Facebook and Twitter.