Blaser urges social responsibility on Swiss business
The president of the Swiss employers' association, Fritz Blaser, has urged business leaders to take their social responsibilities more seriously but has warned against increased state spending.
In his speech to the association's annual meeting in Zurich, Blaser spoke about a growing lack of credibility for business leaders. He said the recession of the 1990s had resulted in mass redundancies, mergers and restructuring that had often been badly communicated.
He said the pressure for short-term returns had often led to knee-jerk reactions and said that the wish to maximise short-term profits should not be allowed to become an entrepreneurial maxim.
Blaser also called on businessmen to become more involved in politics to push a business-friendly agenda.
He said the few political backers of business often operated under the banner of neo-liberal economics, and often did a disservice to the genuine demands of true liberals.
Blaser reserved some of his fiercest words for the trend towards mega-mergers, saying that critics often had a point. He said many mergers were unsuccessful and misconceived.
As for the row over the size of executive salaries, Blaser said business could do worse than implement old-fashioned Swiss virtues like restraint, modesty and fairness.
Although Blaser was hard on the business community, he also warned against the extension of social security measures such as maternity laws.
He said the improved economic environment should not lead to a spending spree because future social needs would also have to be met.
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