On 16 September 2009, Steven Hill, at the Guardian, wrote about America's failed model for the world
Among the points made:
1. The United States is the last advanced nation that does not have universal healthcare.
2. One Austrian said that the Americans "blow billions on a useless war in Afghanistan and Iraq, and billions more to bail out banks that nearly bankrupted the world economy", but they don't ensure healthcare for their own people. It's as if American democracy "doesn't work anymore."
3. Europeans are reminded of the poor US response to Hurricane Katrina.
According to Steven Hill, "The last remaining superpower is not looking so super anymore, whether in Iraq, Afghanistan, healthcare, the economy – not anywhere."
4. Europe currently has lower unemployment than the United States. Its per capita economic growth rate was slightly higher than America's in the 10 years leading up to the economic crisis.
5. German chancellor Angela Merkel once was asked by Tony Blair what the secret was of her country's economic success. She replied: "Mr Blair, we still make things."
6. Gunter Verheugen, vice-president of the European Commission, explained Europe's recipe for success: "Don't try to be cheaper. Try to be better."
Switzerland is not perfect but it is peaceful and prosperous.
Switzerland is divided up into counties (cantons) and towns (communes).
In Switzerland, the central government (federal government) is not given too much power.
The cantons and communes have a lot of power.
A referendum is held if a fair number of people are not happy with a government policy.
The central government controls foreign policy, defense, the railways and the mint.
There is a six-month period during which a referendum can be called by any person or group able to get 50,000 signatures on a petition. A central government policy can be thrown out by a simple majority vote in a referendum.
The cantons and communes control economic policy, welfare policy, the police, education and so on.
Each canton has its own parliament and constitution.
Switzerland spends a lot on welfare and education but manages to keep taxes relatively low.
This is because there are no huge ministeries full of useless civil servants, or bureaucrats.
And big business is not ripping the system off.
Cantons and large communes have referendums and 'initiatives'.
An 'initiative' is when an ordinary citizen proposes a new policy or law.
Main source: ISIL -- The Swiss Cantonal System
Although Switzerland is better than the USA, it is not perfect.
No doubt, Swiss institutions have been infiltrated by the CIA and its friends.
In Switzerland, in 1999, a former military accountant, Dino Bellasi, claimed that he was ordered to set up a secret army independent of Switzerland's government.
(BBC News Europe Secret Swiss army claims withdrawn)
Bellasi claimed that he was working for intelligence service chief Peter Regli when he embezzled $5.8m from the defence ministry and set up a weapons arsenal.
Bellasi alleged that he diverted the funds over a five-year period to finance a new secret army.
The Swiss Federal Prosecutor Carla del Ponte said there was no evidence to support Mr Bellasi's claim that he diverted the money for a secret army.
Del Ponte, who became a UN Prosecutor, had meetings with CIA boss Chief George Tenet.
Del Ponte "made a national reputation as the scourge of organized crime and large-scale financial fraud, including prosecuting figures associated with major banks, some with Vatican connections, and politically well-connected Mafiosi.
"She explained that she often had to contend with the muro di gomma , the 'wall of rubber' thrown up by the rich and politically well-connected, when their activities came under investigation." (Hungry for Truth, Peace and Justice: UN Security Council in 2008 ...)