The core business of Avenir Suisse is thinking – using our intellect to build a positive framework for Switzerland. Individual freedom, private ownership, competition, open markets and democratic politics are essential for stimulating growth and prosperity. Good framework conditions always leave room for new ideas, with the emphasis on creativity and competition rather than controls and constraints. This attitude shapes the way we tackle all the issues. When it comes to dealing with the challenges facing energy policy, for example, there is no need to create a “master plan”; what is required instead are flexible structures that allow the best technologies to be applied in each case. Meanwhile, technologically neutral support would be far more useful to the media landscape, which is undergoing a radical upheaval, than the regime currently in place. As for pension funds, in an environment characterised by low interest rates, a strong Swiss franc and the retiring baby boomer generation, they cannot rely on inflexible schemes that are out of touch with the reality of the economic situation for their salvation; they need to focus instead on offering the right incentives to encourage people to save more and work longer.
At Avenir Suisse, we make a conscious effort to approach our own work, too, with an open mind. Although our studies are largely produced in-house, we regularly draw on the knowledge of external experts. We also believe it is worth looking beyond our national borders. For a small country like Switzerland, it is particularly important to take inspiration from the way other nations solve their problems. That is why, over the past year, we have taken a look at how Sweden has reformed its pension system, for example, or how Singapore has managed to prevent traffic congestion. We also take the view that federalism is not a parochial concept, but an expression of competition. It offers great potential as a breeding ground for good ideas. With the “Avenir Suisse Freedom Index” and “Cantonal Monitoring” publications, we endeavour to help the Swiss cantons to learn from one another. As our name implies, our aim is to ensure that Switzerland offers opportunities for future generations – for independent development, citizen sovereignty and prosperity. This will only be possible if we strive to reward achievement and the courage to take risks, if we do not view success as a stigma, and if we do not deprive young people of their future by dictating rules, adopting an excessively safety-conscious attitude and accumulating explicit and implicit debts.
The Activity Report 2014, which is available in German, French and English, encloses the new “avenir sélection 2014/2015” supplement (in German), which presents a selection of the best articles by our project managers, with the aim of giving you a clear impression of the broad spectrum of our work.