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Comment: housing is expensive

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housing is expensive

After I left Geneva, Switzerland, I moved to NYC (Manhattan). If I recall, I kind of felt that the rents were equivalent between the two places. Another parallel between Geneva and NYC is that there were many rent-controlled apartments (lots of people paying under market prices) and there was also a shortage of apartments partly due to strict laws about building new housing. At some point during the time I was there, the rents dropped, e.g., when you would look for an apartment, they were telling you how the rent was being lowered vs. the prior tenant. (In NYC this happened as well around 2004, market rates were dropping over 10% or so.)

But, the more important factor is that the high salaries more than make up for the high cost of rent. Economically, they have it pretty good ... but that's to be expected since Switzerland isn't wasting all their GDP getting involved in foreign wars, etc. Also, the whole time I lived there, I never knew who their president was. I asked a couple people, Swiss, and they didn't know either. One response I got was, "I don't know, it keeps changing." Eventually when I moved back to NYC, the president of Switzerland appeared on CNBC. Overall, their president does not have celebrity status, and their Congress only meets a couple weeks 4 times per year. They don't spend the entire year "working" ... i.e., if it ain't broke, they aren't trying to fix it by creating new laws just for the sake of showing the public that they "did something." And many of the laws in Switzerland come into place by public referendum.

It doesn't surprise me that you would have Swiss friends who wouldn't appreciate the food in America. Their taste buds are pretty much set in their ways. You don't get any exotic restaurants in Geneva if you venture too far away from the train station (where travellers from outside the country are more likely.) The food choices are limited because that's what the Swiss like. Somebody from my work who moved to the US actually complained about the potatoes from the supermarket here, because when she made au gratin, there was a bluish tint. They basically want one variety of potato, and it keeps everything predictable, monotonous and bland.