Current propositions for the Alter-Inventory
The Swiss GA Travelcard allows its holders to ride free on virtually all forms of public transportation in Switzerland, in exchange for a hefty one-time annual fee. Creating the GA Travelcard represents a daunting administrative challenge, involving calculating the frequency of travel on more than 100 different forms of public transport in Switzerland, and negotiating how the revenue from the Travelcard will be distributed amongst carriers. The levels and kinds of skill involved in the creation and maintenance of the Swiss Travelcard – accounting handicrafts, communication traditions, diplomatic rituals, logistical views of the universe, and crucial social practices such as schmoozing and drinking of white wine – are a source of amazement and admiration to all who contemplate them. Little wonder, then, that Switzerland is the only country in the world, and well beyond, to offer this remarkable product.
The †Magic Formula was born in 1959 and represented an unofficial agreement between Switzerland’s largest political parties at the time that dictated the composition of the 7 seats making up the executive branch, the Swiss Federal Council. For nearly fifty years, these seats were attributed to the Free Democratic Party (2), the Christian Democratic Party (2), the Social Democratic Party (2) and the Swiss People’s Party (1), who ruled the country in peace. Since 2003, what with globalization, deindustrialization, WTO pressure on farm subsidies, immigration and regrettable nuttiness, the formula has been adapted and revised to the point where it is difficult to say if it is alive or dead. It represents a clear manifestation of forms of oral tradition and social practice, notably in the creation of the consensus, in need of urgent safeguarding measures.