ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Swiss Diary

A Swiss Diary A M THE Swiss franc goes up and up. You hardly see the American tourists any more around Geneva's Lake front. Newspapers blare forth the succession of apocalyptic news from the distant East: the siege of Phnom Penh, the fall of Hue, the flight from Da Nang. The Swiss could not care less, and not because they are politically neutral. Going by the cultural divide, certainly this is no neutral country: the paraphernalia and accoutrements of its prosperity are all Western. If Switzerland has even-handedly provided shelter to communist revolutionaries and Arab guerillas, the reason is scarcely a felt emotion of ideological equidistance. The philosophy underlying the benign hospitality has always had a crass material base; the Swiss have rented out their hotel-rooms to whoever has managed to jingle money all the way. The American fate leaves the Swiss unaffected; despite the decline and fall of the trans-Atlantic quarter century, their hotels remain overfull, money never stops coming, the Swiss franc goes up and up, and is currently the strongest currency in the world. Does it not more or less summarise and epitomise the West European ethic? Do not let yourself be led up the ideological garden path, make money. Do not be prey to rapid emotions, learn from the plight of the Americans, keep your cool, make money. There is a latent irony in this total absorption into the money-making syndrome. The Americans raised it to the level of a 'technology'. With money

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