|How the Swiss View Themselves|
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The Swiss are convinced that their wealth and the stability of their prosperous country is due to their hard work and nothing else. And who can blame them?
During the 19th century, Switzerland was one of the poorest countries in Western Europe, a land of meager farming and no natural resources. Many Swiss emigrated during those years, creating cities like Nova Friburgo in Brazil or New Glarus in the US. During the 20th century, and especially after the 1950s, the country began to develop almost as quickly as Japan. Today, Switzerland has the lowest inflation and unemployment rates of all industrialized countries, the highest income per capita, and the second lowest interest rates. The crime rate is among the lowest in the world and most of it is committed by foreigners. The last time Switzerland went to war against another country was in the 15th century (apart from a brief civil war in 1847).
Swiss success has become a standard for small countries that do well: Lebanon was once called “The Switzerland of the Middle East” and Chile the “Switzerland of South America.”
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