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Some Millionaires do good things


old man emu
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Kermit Weeks is an American pilot, aircraft collector, and aviation enthusiast who has a net worth of $200 million.  His fortune is derived from oil and natural gas royalties that originated from an empire founded by his grandfather, Lewis George Weeks. Some might hold the view that such personal wealth is obscene, especially when it does not derive from hard work, or genius. But how would you react if you were born with a Rhodium spoon in your mouth? (Rhodium holds the title of being the most expensive precious metal on the planet.) 

 

Kermit collects historic aircraft and restores them, hopefully, to airworthy condition. By doing so, he helps to preserve aviation history for the rest of us. Look what he's got now.

 

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The Lewis Weeks story is an interesting one. BHP were desperate to find oil or gas in Australia and had spent years and multiple millions with no success. So they called in Lewis Weeks, the leading consulting oil geologist in the U.S., to assist them in their quest for an oil or gas find.

Weeks knew the worlds oil-and-gas-containing geology like the back of his hand. It's reported that at the boardroom in BHP headquarters in Melbourne, when Weeks was asked by the Chairman where they could find oil in Australia, Weeks is reported to have said, "Gentlemen, stand up and turn around, and look out the window!". The view was across Bass Strait - which is where BHP struck the first commercial oil and gas supplies in Australia.

 

Weeks demanded - and got - a 2.5% royalty on any Bass Strait oil and gas production. This royalty turned out to be a gold mine that returned billions to the owners.

Somewhat surprisingly, Lewis Weeks divided up and sold off large percentage portions of the Weeks Royalty, thus depriving himself of an equivalent position in the world of oil and gas royalty streams, to Calouste Gulbenkian - the man known as "Mr 5%" in the oil industry, and who was worth at least US$800M when he died in 1955.

 

The Weeks Royalty still operates today, but it is divided up into tiny percentages that are spread amongst a huge range of royalty holders. You can still purchase a portion of the Weeks Royalty if you need a good investment.

I've seen a small mining company who invested their surplus funds into about a 0.09% interest in the Weeks Royalty, and it returns them a tidy sum each year.

 

https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/weeks-lewis-george-11994

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calouste_Gulbenkian

 

These massive royalties such the Weeks Royalty and the Hancock Royalties are an unlimited and endless supply of unearned money for their owners, and there is a large basic flaw in our taxation system that allows this unfettered, never-ending massive wealth to accumulate to individuals at the expense of the nation.

In the Hancock case, Lang Hancock formed a Trust to hold the royalty funds, which is untaxed, and which will remain untaxed until its dissolution - which dissolution, Gina Hancock fervently acts against, at every opportunity.

 

I have little time for Gina Hancock and the associated Wright iron ore royalty families, they have done very little for Australians, but they always claim their generosity is significant.

Their generosity generally revolves around monuments and signs stating how all Australians should worship the Hancock families, because they developed W.A.'s iron ore industry - which is patently untrue.

 

Edited by onetrack
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  • 2 weeks later...

I reckon that inequality of income is the most poisonous thing a society can have.  Yet the richest guy I know is a great bloke! There is a lot to be said for rich guys, they generally have no hatreds in them. Compare Churchill with Hitler and Stalin to see this.

Countries where you could easily find a well-paying job were stronger and safer than the rest...  I reckon the best was to be Australian or American in the 50's and 60's.

Who cares if there are billionaires if you personally are ok?

But if you have worked hard to graduate ( say civil engineering ) and can't find a job, then you would naturally look at those with enormous inherited wealth with envy turning to hatred.

So the whole society becomes more dangerous.

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Our taxation systems are highly inequitable, because they're not geared to ensure that people with monstrous wealth are taxed accordingly.

Instead, they have so much money, they can afford to employ double degree accountants/lawyers to set up schemes to ensure they pay very little in taxes.

Even consumption taxes are of no use in the case of wealthy people, because they simply set up corporate structures to ensure they gain tax deductions that aren't available to the "man in the street".

 

I can recall a TV programme from a number of years ago, about the people who had inherited vast "old money" wealth - that is, massive wealth that had either accumulated to their ancestors or they'd inherited massive income streams that were taxed at pathetic levels.

These people never had to work, and had virtually nothing to do - so they had to find a purpose in life. As a result, most became "collectors" - of rare oil paintings, vintage and classic cars, aircraft, and other unique items.

As a result, we see these people paying $10M for a car or $150M for a painting - money that is only "chicken feed" to them - while the rest of us stand back in awe at how these people have such unbelievable wealth, and can splash tens of millions around on "collectables".

 

I can also remember reading about David Rockefeller, and how his family had multiple mansions with several cars maintained and fuelled at each mansion, and ready to go anytime David or a family member rocked up to stay at the mansion - which was rarely for an extended period.

And how he'd send out suits to be dry-cleaned, and accidentally leave $100 bills in the pockets - which, when the drycleaners returned, he'd tell them to keep them, as a tip. A lifestyle that is alien to the large majority of people.

 

Edited by onetrack
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  • 1 month later...

The real god is money. IF you have enough of it you live in a world apart where a lot is never enough and reality is for others to suffer, but it doesn't work. DEATH is the final leveller.. Many at your funeral will be there to make sure  that you are really DEAD. Nev

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  • 4 weeks later...

How would you reply to a kid who didn't want to fight for Gina Reinhard, who is worth 26 billion dollars....  She sure owns a lot of Australia.

Apparently New Zealand would have 10% more gdp if inequality was reduced... I have not seen a figure for Australia, maybe the billionaires who own everything don't want us to know.

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Would you like for Gina to pay her fair share of tax? And the other billionaires?

There was actually a political movement to swap all other taxes for an unimproved  land tax. You could replace the tax rules down to a page or so.

 

This proposal was naturally rejected by the rich and although they actually won a few seats in NZ, they never got to try their ideas out.

 

But it has merit...  gosh, land is the only thing you cannot hide and the only thing you won't have less of if you tax it.

But even in wartime, when the "temporary" income tax was created, the big  land tax was never implemented. Yes, I know there is a small land tax right now in Australia, along with all the other taxes.

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If you try and google the matter, you will see that NSW and the ACT have decided to swap stamp duty for property tax. They say that this will make us richer.

I found nothing about substituting other taxes for land tax.

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The Queen of ' mother England ' has an awful Lot of land !.

Any tax paid there ?.

My land is smaller than Gina,s ( 27m acres total  ($34m noosa pad )) backyard, but l pay More in rates than her whole block, l suspect.

spacesailor

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It's really interesting how inequality can effect GDP.

I can see how it would effect a country's military strength, but the GDP is a harder one.

My son-in -law once worked on a pommy construction site and he realized that he was the only one doing anything gainful....  so he changed to doing nothing useful as he didn't want to get the sack.

And there was a Australian company ( Multiplex ) which went broke on the Wembly stadium. When tendering, they failed to take into account the fact that the average worker hates the toffs and will undermine them when he can.

But these examples are from england, a terribly unequal place. I find it hard to see how in Australia, we are poorer because of inequality.

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5 hours ago, Bruce Tuncks said:

But these examples are from england, a terribly unequal place. I find it hard to see how in Australia, we are poorer because of inequality.

England has a history of the class society, but at least my observation is that it is more remnants, with the odd exception, than reality. The Duke of Westminster, who owns most of Westminster is the obvious exception, as is the royal family. There are a few eccentrics up north, but most of them went broke and had to sell the castle/manor to stay afloat - a la to the Manor Born.

 

There's even a colonial in our village who has broken the class system...

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Jerry, I once read that there are whole towns that have no signs " for sale" on the houses. That, according to the story, is because the whole place belongs to some lord.

He never had to do a stick of work in his life because he had all these rents.

A "lady" and a "gentleman " collected rents ( well had them collected on their behalf)  and so didn't have to work.

Yes, I really appreciate how there was a time when the likes of Dalton and Darwin and Maxwell did great things. Maybe the rest of the world was as bad or worse. Gosh, guillotining Lavoisier was a terrible crime.

But it is surely an inefficient system to have a leisured class just so the odd one does something useful. It's a bit like the system we have in place now...  the odd billionaire does something nice and that justifies the entire system to some people.

 

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Not only the ' houses ' .

BUT

At one stange in history,  the lord owned everything, the shops etc., even to producing their own ' coin '.

They payed with their money, you payed it back to them for rent, 

You spent their money in their shops, or saved a farthing in their bank.

AND

If that was not enought " you had to have his lords permission "  to marry  !.

spacesailor

 

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7 hours ago, Bruce Tuncks said:

Jerry, I once read that there are whole towns that have no signs " for sale" on the houses. That, according to the story, is because the whole place belongs to some lord.

He never had to do a stick of work in his life because he had all these rents.

A "lady" and a "gentleman " collected rents ( well had them collected on their behalf)  and so didn't have to work.

Yes, I really appreciate how there was a time when the likes of Dalton and Darwin and Maxwell did great things. Maybe the rest of the world was as bad or worse. Gosh, guillotining Lavoisier was a terrible crime.

But it is surely an inefficient system to have a leisured class just so the odd one does something useful. It's a bit like the system we have in place now...  the odd billionaire does something nice and that justifies the entire system to some people.

 

During Feudalism, that was certainly the case, but, those days are long gone. Just like many other countries that allow hereditary passing of assets, some remnants remain where integenerational wealth was able to be preserved against the new world economy. Do you know that Ilford (the company originally based in Ilford, England) still makes 35mm emulsion based film? But that doesn't mean the vast majority of the population use it because they don't have cameras in their phones. (Sorry about the sarcasm).

 

Almost all countries have had privately held towns, including Australia, where it was common to have mining company owned towns. I think Cabramurra in the Snowy Mountains is still in private ownership, and a quick check on realestate.com.au didn't yield any propery for sale - maybe people love living there so much, or maybe it is still privately held.

 

A screen grab from google maps shows it looks in good nic and eeven has a strip not too far away:

image.thumb.png.9a9eddd9e3c8846a4622c0a3e8d9f4c0.png

 

I don't personally know of any land based towns that are still under the sort of fuedal ownership, but there is an island off the coast of Devon that has been in private ownership since Elizabethan days, called Clovelly:  https://www.visitdevon.co.uk/northdevon/things-to-do/clovelly-p2286053

 

I haven't been there, but I recall watching a doco where there are no cars, the inhabitants are generally a happy bunch, no crime, and a sold community village life. People are free to move away if they want, but many just love living there. I am not sure how to become a resident, though.

 

Generally, though, private property rights and the socio-cultural functioning of British society is much the same as Australia. Yes, there are remnants of historical culture contained in pockets of society..

 

Now, where's my pith helmet and muscat? I have an elephant to shoot! 🙂

 

 

 

Edited by Jerry_Atrick
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So those workers were holding outdated views? I reckon this might be the case. My 3 days in England were wonderful. My guide was taken aback by the fact that I insisted on local cuisine for a try. So he took me to the red lion pub and I ordered roast beef and yorkshire pudding. 

It was terrible! overcooked vegetables leaking water, just like my mother used to make.

No wonder the locals like asian and french and italian food.

Anyway, I was also struck by the polite signs  "please drive on the left" etc. What a wonderful place, thought I and even the street names in London were familiar to me. I really felt at home, well as much as a republican Australian can.

 

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That's because you have been playing Monopoly.. At St James there was a stall near a church and spying a brass plate saying  "Faults I may have, but being wrong isn't one of them", I purchased it  for my Pommie Mate back here.. He treasured it of course. Nev

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@Bruce Tuncksyou do still get such meals at some pubs these days. Do you remember which Red Lion pub it was (where it weas)?

 

It's funny how we all hark back to the cuisine we are brought up on. Some American friends of mine, who lived in Lancaster (England) for a couple of years, would often be amused about how their kids friends, when eating over at their place, would ask to be excused from eating the peas, as the Americans cook them like we do - keep them firmer for more flavour, while those oop norf prefer them virtually a soggy puree. But, even the watery vegetables are often relics of the past, or fayre of the cheaper pub chains such as Brewer's Fayre, or Wetherspoons. Most pubs these days would not survive with that short of mush.

 

This is the menu of a local pub that I have a couple of shares in: https://www.newinnhalse.com/eat-drink/food-menu/. It is trying to be a gastropub, but not there yet. This is the menu of a pub we went to last weekend for lunch and is more typical of quicker and easoer pubs: http://www.theglobemilverton.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Menu-5-20221.jpg.

 

I had the pork belly and it was absolutely superb, with not a watery veg in sight (or on site, I would hasten to add).

 

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I sort of remember Jerry. It was on the road between london outer suburbs and the gliding club at Reading. It was a red-brick pub with lots of signs announcing the Red Lion. The barmaid looked about 60 and she was the image of some grumpy old lady from a pommy soapie which was on at the time ( 1976 ) ( Ena Sharples?)

Please try it out if you are nearby, but I hope they have improved.

I blame Oliver Cromwell for the awful food I was brought up on. Apparently, if you grew some herbs in your garden, you could be tortured till you admitted to being a Catholic! So the passing-on of good recipes from mother to daughter was broken.

Not only those awful Puritans... there was a time in the 1930's where the emerging woman's movement regarded cooking as a horrible chore foisted on women, like cleaning the dunny.

Well I grew up a skinny kid and it was not till the Gagliardies arrived in town and started selling cooked proper  Italian spaghetti that I got to eat something nice.

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