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                                                                                                                           Asean Affairs November 28, 2013  


U.S. -  the CEO of major Fortune 500 companies makes in one day what an ordinary worker makes in a year. The average compensation ratio between CEOs and workers is 354-1. In 1965, it was 20–1. It jumped 875% between 1978 and 2012. Bonuses magnify this many times over.

Switzerland – in March of this year, citizens of Switzerland voted to give shareholders of Swiss companies a binding say on executive compensation, and banned bonuses for these executives when they either joined a company or left. Violators could get fines totaling up to 6 years of their salary and free accommodation in jail up to 3 years. A referendum  proposing to reduce the current CEO compensation rate from 148-1 to 12-1 failed at the ballot on November 24, 2013, but the fact that it was even proposed was significant.

U.S. – the current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Because of inflation, it is only worth $5.25 in buying power today.  The income of the bottom 20% grew by only 18% between 1979 and 2007. The income of the top 1% grew by 275%. Working at minimum wage brings in about $1,240 per month.
Switzerland – the Swiss will shortly vote on whether to guarantee a basic income of $2,800 for every adult. That is about $16 an hour.
U.S. – currently, more than 40 million Americans have no health insurance. This may change somewhat with the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Switzerland -  it has universal health care. Everybody is required to have basic health insurance, covering the cost of medical treatment and hospitalization. Insurance companies cannot make a profit from selling this insurance. For an adult over 25, the premium is about $240 a month. If this exceeds 8% of a person’s income, the government subsidizes it.

U.S. – many politicians claim that the U.S. has the best medical care system in the world. A recent study by the Commonwealth Fund of 11 developed countries debunks this claim. 37% of U.S. adults who were sick did not see a doctor because of cost.

Switzerland – only 13% did the same.

U.S. - the U.S. has fewer doctors per capita and fewer hospital beds per capita than Switzerland, even though the U.S. spends almost 18% of GDP on health care. The U.S. spends about $8,500 per person per year on health care.

Switzerland -  spends  11.40% of GDP on health care – about $5,700 person.
U.S. –  number 33 in life expectancy – 76 for men, 83 for women.

Switzerland – number 2 in life expectancy – 80 for men, 85 for women.
U.S. – university students in the U.S. are over $1 trillion in debt. 7 million are in default.

 Switzerland – yearly tuition at Swiss universities is about $1,300.
U.S. – there is no federally mandated paid maternity leave. A few states, e.g. California have 6 weeks. Afghanistan has 90 days at full pay. Only 4 countries in the world do not require paid maternity leave – Lesotho, Swaziland, Papua New Guinea and the U.S. Only 6% of U.S. employers offer paid maternity leave.
Switzerland – 14 weeks at a minimum of 80% of pay for maternity leave.
U.S. – prisoners per capita – 715 per 100,000 people
Switzerland – 72 per 100,000 people.

Many political leaders, including President Obama, claim that Americans are “exceptional”.  In light of the above sample statistics, that word takes on a different – and very  unflattering meaning.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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