Initiative and Ideologies: Liberalism and Social Democracy as Applied to Modern Legislation
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In 2004 a Swiss banker called the upper class’ demand for increasingly high salaries as “a call to class warfare from above.” (Baer) The new decade has seen outcry against a growing discrepancy in wealth. The global financial crisis exacerbated the already prominent fiscal divide. Ideological thinkers have been wrestling with resolution of this exact divide for centuries. Modernly Switzerland has attempted to regulate monetary divides by banning bonuses and mandating shareholder consent in major decisions. A recent proposition also suggested implementing an initiative that “would permit companies to award their best-paid worker no more than 12 times what the worst paid.” (Stamm) This measure invokes sentiments similar to those invoked by historic ideologies. The societal problems that Locke and Bernstein attempted to address with Liberalism and Social Democracy respectively manifest in the recent discussion surrounding the Swiss salary initiatives. This validates the relevancy of their ideological arguments because societal issues of private property, the value of labour, and ethical concerns surrounding wealth persist in current political discourse.
The current questions of ostentatious wealth, fiscal practices, and salary settings, which are being discussed in Switzerland, invite for examination through the lens of John Locke’s liberalism. Principles of liberal ideology and ideas articulated in Locke’s own writings are applicable to both sides of the argument. Some in Switzerland have advocated that companies would leave or not be attracted to develop in the country because of new laws. Johann Scheider-Ammann, the head of the Swiss Department of the Economy, Education and Research, noted that failing to pass the law "will ...
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... He may also critique the gross over-payment, which arguably distances the direct ties between labour and payment value. Bernstein would most likely support the measure, which is ethically inclined and democratic in nature signifying an evolution to socialism out of capitalism. Both perspectives offer beneficial arguments, which remain pertinent to the modern search for modest and reasonable acquisition of wealth, and global financial security.
Baer, H. (2004). It's not all about money: memoirs of a private banker.
Bernstein, E. (1909). Evolutionary socialism.
Locke, J. (1689). Second treatise of government. (Paragraph 33).
Maclucas, N. (2013, Nov 24). Swiss voters reject high-pay initiative referendum to limit executive pay overwhelmingly rejected. Wall Street Journal
Stamm, P. (2013, Nov 22). Why the Swiss scorn the superrich. New York Times