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By Philippe Legrain ADD COMMENTS

Every year PR consultancy Mercer Human Resource Consulting scores an easy hit in the world’s newspapers with its fanciful ranking of the quality of life in cities around the world. While the Guardian focuses on the fact that Glasgow and Birmingham are ranked as highly as Los Angeles and Tsukuba (hands up, honestly, if you had heard of it), the FT notes that top-placed Zurich is only fractionally ahead of Geneva.

Geneva, a great place to live? You could have fooled me. I had the
misfortune of spending a year as an expat there. When I first arrived,
a colleague tried to cheer me up by saying "the best thing about Geneva
is that it only takes 15 minutes to get to the airport." True enough:
Geneva is easy to escape from – which is precisely what most of the
people working in that miserable place did every weekend.

So why on earth does Mercer rank Switzerland so highly? The FT explains
that "Zurich scored heavily on the quality of its banking services,
internal stability, international relationships, low crime rate and
good health facilities." Certainly, low crime and good hospitals are
great, and I guess good banks may be vital to your quality of life if you
are salting away a vast expat salary. But "internal stability" sounds
suspiciously like "dull as ditchwater", while "international
relationships" is code for "easy to get away". Give me 39th placed
London any day.

Posted 10 Apr 2006 in Blog

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