Aug 07 2008

A new beginning in Zurich, “the world’s most livable city”

Published by at 5:21 am under AP Economics,IB Economics,Teaching

This blog has been quiet for some time. Summer will do that to a blogger; gets your mind off work, Economics, teaching, content, learning, all those activities that make up the daily life of a teacher for 10 months out of the year are blissfully absent from our daily routines during the summer months.

Alas, all good things come to an end, as does summer every year come mid-August. With the end of this summer, however, a new adventure begins as I find myself settling into a new school in a new city and country. So far, I have had an amazing two weeks in and around Zurich Switzerland with my wife, who is here for a while before heading back to Shanghai for one more school year.

In my short time in this amazing country, I have already had several ideas for future blog posts analyzing the unmatched economic efficiency I have observed in the daily routines of the Swiss people, buearacracy, transport and waste disposal systems, etc… Switzerland is the country with the highest EnvironmentalBeautiful Switzerland Performance Index (EPI) rating, indicating that it best manages its natural and environmental resources, which as I have observed is the result of a well implemented system of economic incentives on multiple levels of Swiss society. From petrol tariffs to recycling schemes to half fair rail passes, all in a country with some of the lowest income taxes in Western Europe, Switzerland has somehow figured out the secret formula that so many developed and developing countries have yet to grasp: how to achieve a strong economy AND a healthy environment.

Throughout the coming school year, during which I will be teaching four sections of International Baccalaureate Economics and one section of Advanced Placement Economics, I will attempt to focus my posts to this blog on some of the issues faced by Switzerland and its European neighbors in the modern global economy. Additionally, I will attempt to unravel some of the Economic secrets that have helped make this city of 300,000 the world’s most livable city for three consecutive years.

I will be joined this school year by some new faces here at Welker’s Wikinomics. Steve Latter of Fairfax, Virginia, will continue to post articles, as will my former colleague Michelle Close from Shanghai American School. I am also hoping to recruit my new teaching partner here in Zurich, who may also be keen on using the blog as a means of extending the learning of his AP and IB Econ students.

For now, I will enjoy my last 10 days before classes begin full speed ahead here in beautiful Zurich, Switzerland. I will resume regular posts sometime later this month, so please stay tuned!


About the author:  Jason Welker teaches International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement Economics at Zurich International School in Switzerland. In addition to publishing various online resources for economics students and teachers, Jason developed the online version of the Economics course for the IB and is has authored two Economics textbooks: Pearson Baccalaureate’s Economics for the IB Diploma and REA’s AP Macroeconomics Crash Course. Jason is a native of the Pacific Northwest of the United States, and is a passionate adventurer, who considers himself a skier / mountain biker who teaches Economics in his free time. He and his wife keep a ski chalet in the mountains of Northern Idaho, which now that they live in the Swiss Alps gets far too little use. Read more posts by this author

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “A new beginning in Zurich, “the world’s most livable city””

  1. Joelon 20 Aug 2008 at 3:32 am

    Hi Mr. Welker

    One issue you might want to follow up on is that of the Swiss banking secrets. As you may well know, there have been some recent conflicts with our banks' confidentiality policies and court cases in the United States.

    If Swiss banks begin to make compromises, or are forced to disclose privileged information about their clients, their principal sales pitch would be all but destroyed. Swiss banks would be just the same as any other banks around the world, and people would take their money elsewhere. What kind of an impact could such an eventuality have on the Swiss economy, one which is substantially based on financial services?

    More on an ethical note, who are the undisclosed clientele who put their money in our banks and prop up the Swiss economy? Could our prosperity be linked to dictators or even mass murderers' money sitting in our banks?

  2. Jason Welkeron 20 Aug 2008 at 4:50 am

    Joel says: "who are the undisclosed clientele who put their money in our banks and prop up the Swiss economy? Could our prosperity be linked to dictators or even mass murderers’ money sitting in our banks?"

    Mr. Welker says: Probably, that is the case. I would have to learn more about the whole story with Switzerland's banking regulations and discloser laws. I have read a couple of interesting books that relate to some of this though. "Confessions of an Economic Hitman" and more recently "A Game as Old as Empire" which talks a lot about offshore banking and how development AID to many African nations has ended up in the offshore bank vaults of contless dictators in place like, yes, Switzerland.