Switzerland: A Look at it's Social Issues

A class project in Mr. Smith's English 10 at Cardinal Newman HS

Project Overview

Project Proposal

Name:  Danielle Gilson

Period: 1st

Nation of your choice:  Switzerland

Rationale (or explanation why you are curious about this country):  I am researching this country because my family migrated to the United States from Switzerland.  I am also interested in visiting Switzerland because it is very picturesque.  They also have an advance medical field there and I am interested about how they are using the latest innovations.

Summary (of what you already know about the history, geography, culture, and social issues):  I know that Switzerland has a strict immigration policies. Switzerland is home to the Matterhorn, a famous peak. It snows in the winter creating wonderful ski slopes and in warm in some part of Switzerland in the summer.

Prediction (about what you think you will discover or hope to discover during your research):  I hope to learn more about why they don't want people migrating into the their country.  I also want to learn more about their medical techniques and advancements. I hope this will inspire me to travel to this country in the future.

Discussion (of the importance of this nation in the global community, i.e., the “so what?”):  Switzerland is one of the few countries that mostly stay neutral in war situations. It also has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. The Swiss are also some of the most educated people. Switzerland has four common languages spoken which allows easy communication between people from foreign countries.

New York Times Topics: Switzerland

#1 They Say, I Say

Student Name:  Danielle Gilson

Period: 1

Title of article: "More People Going to Switzerland for Assisted Suicide, Study Finds"

Title of newspaper: The New York Times

Essay Author: Pam Belluck

Date of Publication: Aug. 20, 2014

Essay main idea/thesis statement: The number of people traveling from other countries for help with assisted suicides has increased.

Quote: Belluck states, "A new study has found an increase in the number of people from other countries traveling to Switzerland to end their lives under the auspices of the right-to-die organizations...People committing assisted suicide came largely from Germany, Britain, and France. Twenty-one arrived from the United States."

Comment:  I agree that the number of people traveling from other countries has increased within the last six years because there are only four other countries in the world where assisted suicide is legal.  People with terminal illnesses and mentally competent diseases are traveling to other countries to carry out there wish of dying instead of facing the pain and suffering everyday.  

#2 They Say, I Say

Student Name: Danielle Gilson

Period: 1st

Title of article (in quotation marks): "Swiss Voters Defeat $24.65 Minimum Wage by a Wide Margin"

Title of newspaper: The New York Times

Essay Author: Melissa Eddy  

Date of Publication: May 18, 2014

Essay main idea/thesis statement:  Trade unions had sought a minimum hourly wage of 22 Swiss francs, or $24.65, in what they said was an effort to ensure fair salaries for workers in the lowest-paid sectors.

Quote:      According to Eddy, "Unions argued that many people in the lowest-paying sectors of the economy struggled to make ends meet because their wages had not kept up with a cost of living among the highest in the world."

Comment: I agree that the minimum wage should be raised to support the lower income population, but on the other hand by increasing the minimum wage they will be subjected to inflation. Also a fixed salary has never been a good way to fight the problem and the best remedy against poverty is work. Switzerland should acknowledge the issue of minimum wage and the problem of low wages is an important issue. Another con of the situation is the raise of minimum wage would hurt Swiss competitiveness in the global economy. Overall, the defeat of the raise in minimum wage was a positive for their country.

#3 The Big 5

Title of article: "Senate Report Says Caterpillar Used Swiss Subsidiary to Reduce Taxes"

Title of newspaper: The New York Times

Essay Author: Mary Williams Walsh

Date of Publication: March 31, 2014

1. AUDIENCE AND PURPOSE: Mary Williams Walsh wrote the article for audience who are interested in international business. Walsh wrote this article to inform the readers about big time American businesses who are transferring money into Swiss bank accounts to avoid U.S. taxes that are 19% higher in the U.S. than Switzerland's taxes.

2. CONTENT AND THEME: Big time businesses are transferring money to Swiss accounts by using subsidiary third parties in order to avoid U.S. taxes. The author's message is asking the reader to question their ethics and morals about good business strategies or the belief of unethical actions to avoid taxation.  Caterpillar has been able to avoid 2.4 billion dollars worth of taxes in the past ten years.

3. TONE AND MOOD: The text makes the middle class reader angry because these big time corporations are avoiding taxation enough though the companies are makes billions of more dollars than the average American middle class family will make. The other point of view on this topic is that it is good practice.  A person who is in charge of a large company is going to give props to the business because they are voiding paying the government and therefore have a large income.

4. STYLISTIC DEVICES: Throughout the entire article you are always being asked rhetorical questions in order to take your side of weather it is an ethical business practice or not. This article gives other top tier companies that carry out these practices as well.

5. STRUCTURE: This article is well structured. It gives pros and cons of both stances. It also includes examples of other companies that carry out this business practice to avoid taxation.

#4 The Big 5

Title of article: "Nazi-Era Art Collection Appears to Find a Home"

Title of newspaper: The New York Times

Essay Author: Melissa Eddy

Date of Publication: November 20, 2014

1. AUDIENCE AND PURPOSE: Melissa Eddy wrote the article for people who are interested in the art community and it may also target the history fanatics. The purpose of this article is to announce that the stolen Nazi artifacts have been found and are going to be restored and returned to the rightful owners.

2. CONTENT AND THEME: This article was written to announce the return of the stolen Nazi artifacts. There are over 1000 Jewish paintings and sculptures being showcased at the art museum.

3. TONE AND MOOD: The tone of this article is an exciting piece because these paintings have been lost for over 50 years and they have been discovered. Many people are excited to see the debut of the these wonderful paintings.

4. STYLISTIC DEVICES: There was no stylistic devices used because it was an informational article.

5. STRUCTURE: This article was written to inform the art community and history fanatics. It was structured into four paragraphs that allowed the reader to fully understand the importance of the findings

Letter to...

Ms. Danielle Gilson

270 Yulupa Ave

Santa Rosa, Ca. 95405

March 19, 2015

Detective Kevin Ryan

4053 Rainier Ct.

Santa Rosa, Ca. 95405

Dear Detective Ryan:

I am a student at Cardinal Newman High School and in English, I am researching the social and political problems of Switzerland. I have recently read an article on a company pleading guilty to a Felony case and am wondering why they made a plea deal instead of going through a full scale trial when they had a good chance of not being convicted.

Credit Suisse, in Switzerland, plead guilty to criminal wrongdoing of helping thousands of American account holders hide their wealth. Credit Suisse will have to pay $2.6 billion in penalties. They are pleading guilty to one count of aid in tax evasion in a scheme that “spanned decades.”

I understand that the DA’s office usually puts down a deal for the defendant before they go into a preliminary hearing, but how does that work when it is a company? I believe that it is not so much of a criminal case than a civil case. I am wondering how that truly works and how or if it would be beneficial for the defendant party to plead? In the article, it states that the charges against the company will not be putting it out of business although to me it sounds like a criminal offense, so why would the company not have its bank’s licence revoked? Is it because they are worried about how it will impact the economy? My last concern is how are the American banks going to prevent this injustice from happening in the future?

I would like to know more about the civil side of this case and why it might be a good idea to take a plea deal instead of going through with a full scale trial. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Danielle Gilson

Comment Stream

2 years ago

I liked the article about the Nazi art being found. I think that its great to have the artifacts recovered and put on display for people to see and appreciate. Good job!

2 years ago

It's really interesting that you researched their medical advances and want to know more about it. I think it is important that the world has countries like this, that strive to be the best in medical advances and try to help the world for the better. Are you planning on studying medicine or medical research in college? If so would you look at a school in Switzerland, or another foreign country?

2 years ago

It was really interesting that their minimum wage is $24. The assisted suicide article was interesting. I did not know that that was legal in Switzerland. Do you want to travel to Switzerland to study medicine when you're older?

2 years ago

I think your tackk is very interesting! I especially was interested in the article on assisted suicide in Switzerland. You say that Switzerland has very advanced medical programs. Do you think you would want to go to Switzerland to practice medicine?