Very few people know it, the people elected to the Swiss federal government, and other Swiss politicians, are part-time politicians. With part-time politicians, Switzerland is the best run country in the World; interesting and surprising.
You know Switzerland is a rich country, but you may not know they have the best universal health care system in the World as well. There are many other areas where the multicultural Swiss excel.
The Swiss believe that even the politicians who serve in the federal parliament should be part-time politicians. They believe it is good for the country when elected representatives work also at a regular job, in this way they also live the actual life of ordinary voters and will understand them better.
Perhaps the 80% approval rating of Swiss politicians has something to do with the fact Swiss politicians are “of the people”; they do not make up a political class, like politicians in representative democracies do.
Another interesting fact is that Swiss part-time politicians have a much higher approval rating than their full-time counterparts in other countries.
For example, in the Unites States, the approval rating of the US Congress hovers around 15-25% time after time. But something is wrong when, despite such dismal performance, 90% of the members of the US Congress are re-elected, time after time.
So, US politicians do a terrible job, according to US voters but, somehow, the voters keep them in their jobs time after time; something is wrong in the US system, but is another issue.
Other representative democracies are not doing too good either; in the UK, France, and most other representative democracies, the approval of politicians is below 50%.
The Swiss people are more satisfied with their part-time politicians than you are with those who work for you full-time. But, do your elected representatives work for you full time?, or do they work full-time for themselves, to get re-elected, and for this or that lobby or pressure group?
Switzerland shows that James Madison, “father of the US Constitution” was wrong;
Jameson wrote in Federalist No. 62 that “It is not possible that an assembly of men called mostly from private pursuits, continued in appointment for a short time, and led by no permanent motive to devote intervals of public occupation to a study of the laws, the affairs, and the comprehensive interests of their country, should, if left wholly to themselves, escape a variety of important errors in the exercise of their legislative trust.”
The Swiss prove the opposite; not only part-time politicians “escape” with fewer errors; they can perform much better than full-time politicians.
I believe there is another factor that makes part-time politicians better; direct democracy.
In a direct democracy, all the key decisions are made by the people; after all, democracy is “government by the people”, not by elected representatives. The idea that a country governed by the representatives of the people is a democracy is wrong. The Greeks invented (direct) democracy, not representative democracy. “Representative democracy” is an oxymoron.
In Switzerland the voters work harder because they decide, they don’t just vote to elect politicians.
This why both chambers of the Swiss Parliament meet only 3 weeks during the year. Also, Swiss politicians do not need the crazy big staff politicians in representative democracies need.
Because in Switzerland the people decide, Swiss politicians have a lot less power, less responsibility and less work.
Logically, Swiss parliamentarians are also cheaper than their counterparts in countries other countries;
US: 175 000 USD
Japan: 150 000
Austria: 145 000
Canada: 140 000
Germany: 130 000
UK: 115 000
France: 100 000
Switzerland: 72 000
Another advantage for the Swiss of having part-time politicians is that the politicians spend more time in their districts; listening to the people, living with the people, working among the people. One effect of that is that Swiss politicians govern more in tune with the ordinary citizen.
Isn’t it time to push for direct democracy and part-time politicians? Isn’t it obvious part-time politicians produce better results than full-time politicians, at least if the country is a direct democracy, or a semi-direct democracy in which the elected politicians have their power drastically reduced?
No time to lose; we need to push for direct democracy to improve democracy, and remove the dangerous discontent with representative politicians, who do not represent the people well, in so many countries.