Debt as a Percentage of GDP - Selected Countries

Country Gross Debt as a % of GDP
Japan 252
Italy 156
United States 131
France 115
Canada 110
United Kingdom 96
Germany 69
China (PRC) 65
Switzerland 46
Russian Federation 18

Source: IMF April 2020

One in Ten Swiss Live Outside the Country

Simonetta Sommaruga, who holds the rotating Swiss presidency this year, speaking to the 10% of Swiss who live outside Switzerland:

In each of your host countries, you represent Switzerland and its democratic values. These values cannot be taken for granted; you have to fight to defend them again and again. Each of your encounters reminds us that peaceful coexistence is possible in a context of freedom, participation and responsibility.

It’s nice to see a leader speak forcefully about the importance of democracy. And it’s interesting that one in ten Swiss live outside the country.

Swiss Watchmaking

Swissinfo reports on the state of watchmaking in Switzerland:

  • Watchmaking accounts for around 1.5% of Swiss gross domestic product (GDP). It is the country’s third-largest export industry behind the pharmaceuticals and machine tools sectors.

  • Switzerland produces more than 20 million watches per year, or just over 2% of global timepiece manufacturing. However, Switzerland commands more than a 50% share of the global watch industry in value terms.

  • Switzerland commands the high- and mid-range segments of the watch industry: more than 95% of watches sold for CHF1,000 (about $1,062) or more are produced by Swiss companies.

  • In 2019, Swiss watchmakers exported almost 10 million fewer watches than they did in 2016 and the trend is down. The coronavirus pandemic has hurt sales.

  • Apple is a tough competitor. Apple sold more watches in 2019 than the entire Swiss watch industry, although the company only began selling watches five years ago.

  • Since the 1960s the Swiss watchmaking industry has enlisted foreign workers to staff its factories. Today, many cross-border workers from France work in watchmaking factories located in western Switzerland’s Jura Arc or “Watch Valley”, the historic cradle of the sector.

Switzerland’s Relationship With the Dachau Concentration Camp

Germany’s National Socialist (Nazi) government and Switzerland had substantial ties. Switzerland’s contribution to the construction of the Dachau concentration camp near Munich is not well known.

Before WWII, Extroc, SA, a Swiss state-subsidized timber company built the Dachau concentration camp, under a contract for 13 million Swiss francs. The contract was negotiated by Colonel Henri Guisan, the son of the later Swiss Commander-in-Chief Henri Guisan (1874-1960) and a Swiss national hero.

The Swiss Colonel was in turn connected to Hans Wilhelm Eggen, an SS captain who bought timber in Switzerland for the Waffen SS. This was the wood used to construct Dachau. Dachau was the first regular concentration camp established by the Nazi government.

According to a now declassified CIA report, Eggen often went to “Switzerland under cover of a delivery agent for wooden barracks.” Eggen was a friend of Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer of the SS. In Nazi Germany, the SS controlled the German police forces and the concentration camp system.

See, Roberts, Andrew, The Storm of War (p. 113). HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition; Goñi, Uki, The Real Odessa: How Perón Brought the Nazi War Criminals to Argentina (p. 170). Granta Books. Kindle Edition.

Millionaires Per Capita (2019)

  1. Switzerland
  2. Hong Kong
  3. United States
  4. Netherlands
  5. Australia
  6. Denmark
  7. New Zealand
  8. Sweden
  9. United Kingdom
  10. Singapore

Switzerland has a big lead. Germany is number 16, which surprised me. Canada is number 11. Sadly, I’m not sure that Hong Kong still qualifies as a country.

Source: Credit Suisse on Wikipedia - Sortable List