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62 vs 3.6 Billion

Written By: - Date published: 7:02 am, January 19th, 2016 - 155 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, poverty - Tags: , , , , , , ,

This statistic was doing the rounds everywhere yesterday:

Richest 62 own equal wealth to poorest half of world

The inequality gulf has widened to 62 of the wealthiest people owning all the wealth of the poorest 3.6 billion people combined.


The latest inequality report by Oxfam shows the richest 1 per cent now have more wealth than the rest of the world combined.

Beyond astonishing.

Data from Credit Suisse showed the wealth of the richest 62 people has risen by 44 per cent, more than half a trillion dollars, in the five years since 2010. Meanwhile the wealth owned by the bottom half of humanity has fallen by a trillion dollars in the past five years.

Predictable. The misnamed “trickle down” economy is actually a “suck up” economy in practice.

Oxfam said a global system of tax havens allows an estimated total of US$7.6 trillion of individuals’ wealth to sit offshore. If tax were paid on the income that this wealth generates, an extra US$190 billion would be available to governments every year, the report said.

Oxfam estimated that tax dodging by multinational corporations costs developing countries at least US$100 billion every year. Corporate investment in tax havens almost quadrupled between 2000 and 2014, the report said.

Absolutely predictable. Absurdly rich people do not (in general) get absurdly rich by meeting their public obligations.

This economic system exists, and grows more insanely greedy and inequitable by the day, because collectively we let it. In fact, many of us (take a bow you right-wing drones!) cheer “the system” on, despite being as much victims of it as the rest of the 99%. The super-rich are laughing all the way to the bank.

155 comments on “62 vs 3.6 Billion”

  1. Paul 1

    As a commentator on Oxfam’s site sums it up.

    ‘No words..absolutely mind boggling.’

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      It’s not the 1% who are the real issue. The bottom 9/10 of the global 1% are actually relatively poor.

      As the richest 62 people (and their families) demonstrate, it is the 0.001% who are skewing the system so badly.

      These people are very powerful and use both the machinery of the corporates and of political parties to accomplish their ends.

      • weka 1.1.1

        I’m not sure that works. The relatively well off are still going to support the status quo if they think change might affect them adversely i.e. they’re happy to wring their hands about the poor so long as change doesn’t undercut their privilege. I see the middle classes as the biggest problem because they have the power to change society and they’re not using that power. That holding onto privilege is as big an impediment as anything the .001% are doing.

  2. Sacha 2

    Rachael Le Mesurier, head of Oxfam New Zealand, offers one practical focus to narrow the gap:

    “Top of that list of vested interests has to be tax havens. Although they are currently legal, they serve no social purpose. These jurisdictions – characterised inter alia by high levels of secrecy and low or no tax rates – are fuelling the rise in inequality. As tax returns from wealthy companies and individuals disappear into this global network, governments are left with two options: cut back on the essential spending needed to build healthy societies and economies; or make up the shortfall by levying higher taxes on those less wealthy. Consequently, wealth is redistributed upwards, and the inequality gap grows.

    Tax havens siphon billions from rich countries. But it is in the poorer countries where the impacts are felt most dramatically. Wealthy Africans’ use of tax havens cost African governments an estimated US$14 billion ($21.7 billion) in lost tax revenues in 2014. This is enough money to pay for healthcare that could save 4 million African children’s lives a year and employ enough teachers to get every African child into school. Just because it’s legal doesn’t make it right.”

    • Mike S 2.1

      And I can guarantee that a large percentage of New Zealanders will be cheering on and supporting Team NZ at the next America’s cup, which is being held in a tax haven. Disgusting. Team NZ should grow some balls and pull out saying they don’t support tax havens, as should all other teams. But of course they won’t.

      We should all be writing letters of protest to our mp’s if any taxpayer funds have gone into the Team NZ challenge as it means our tax dollars are supporting tax havens which i for one am sickened by.

  3. Paul 4

    New Zealand – A Tax Haven For Super-Rich Foreigners
    John Minto


  4. Manuka AOR 5

    I wonder which half of that equation stands to benefit most from the so called “Trade Pact” signings.

  5. cogito 6

    I presume Key is at Davos at the mo, sucking up to the 62.

    • savenz 6.1

      Yes Key’s ambition is to turn his $50 million into $50 billion so he doesn’t have to be the ‘poor Kiwi’ at the table. He does have a country for sale so a few trading chips to be brokered with.

  6. savenz 7


    I think this is what is the number one problem. Neoliberalism is now on steroids when 1% of individuals own more of the worlds wealth.

    The 1% can buy political influence, hey they can buy their way into making the laws – look at TPPA. What government in their right mind, signs away that level of risk for a pitiful return and to increase the costs of everyday life for their people in medicine, housing, intellectual rights while lowering wages and having large companies being able to sue the government for ‘future profits’ decided by a handful of corporate lawyers and judges? Where is the pay off for NZ, we now have to bribe Saudi individuals to buy our sheep and make gambling convention centres and that is considered business (losing money) – what sort of idiots are running the country?

    Even worse rival opposition parties are targeting the ‘middle class’ to increase the tax take by increasing pensions and property taxes but not bothering on the turnover of tax takes on multinationals like banks or oil companies who somehow (often legally) on massive turnovers do not have to pay tax in this country.

    • savenz 7.1

      That is part of the problem. Labour’s Jobs, jobs, jobs.

      People can’t afford to live on the average salary in NZ of $882 p/w (June 2015 quarter) in NZ.

      (source – http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/income-and-work/Income/NZIncomeSurvey_HOTPJun15qtr.aspx)

      We can have more jobs, but if they are not high value jobs then people can’t afford to live in their own country or community in many cases – let alone with the insecurity of jobs these days so that getting a mortgage or continuing a mortgage for 25 years becomes uncertain. Meanwhile our assets are being traded on a world market which has driven up prices while our wages are being driven down.

      Even if you have a so called top salary in NZ like if you had slaved for years to become a doctor for example, you would struggle to be able to afford to live a affluent lifestyle in Auckland (comprising of nice house, car and holiday and being able to afford kids) on local wages while paying back student loans etc.

      If you are a top teacher, forget it.

      The point is, those who work hard, are smart still can not get ahead and being told they need to pay more tax, while middle men businesses like banks and so forth are making a killing in profits. Something is wrong.

      • sabine 7.1.1

        882$ before tax which would be $ 733.71 after tax.

        or annually $38,152.77 after tax.

        yep most people on that income in certain areas of NZ would have to apply for an accommodation benefit if they wanted to live in a ‘house’ with their family.

        and if that is the average wage, how low is the median wage.

      • Richard@Down South 7.1.2

        According to the IRD, from the last stats I saw, about 68% of people earn under 38k a year… (based on 2008 figures)

        • Smilin

          And that is the clincher where the majority are, and they pay all the GST and tax deductibles in what they buy which are out of proportion with their net income but they have to, to live
          Money has become the control of society’s wealth managed by those who have the most

  7. One Two 8

    That is the estimated figure based on those ‘rich’ names, which are accessible

  8. RedLogix 9

    In another couple of years Oxfam will release another report telling us that the top 45 people own more than the bottom half. Then the top 25, and finally not too far off the top 5. And all the wealth fraction of the top 1% of their enablers will continue to rise while middle classes shrink and billions live hard against the margins.

    (Still some 1/3rd of the world’s poorest have no access to medical care, not even a disprin.)

    The worst consequence is that it discredits our political systems. Ordinary people can see how it has been bought and paid for and while at some point stop believing in it. Many have already.

    When that reaches a critical point, an ugly end-game is not far away.

  9. alwyn 10

    I do admire the way Oxfam complains about things like
    ” If tax were paid on the income that this wealth generates” and
    “Oxfam estimated that tax dodging” plus
    “characterised inter alia by high levels of secrecy and low or no tax rates”.

    Oxfam used to be a useful charitable organisation. It isn’t anymore. It is simply a place for lefty nutters to promote their anti western agenda.
    They still remain registered as a charity of course. That way they can avoid paying any tax themselves.

    • Paul 10.1

      ‘lefty nutters’
      Very very dull.
      pr has already used this line today.
      Can’t you trolls at least aim for originality?

      On the actual subject matter.
      You attack Oxfam, but not the glaring inequality highlighted by this article.
      Do you think the obscene imbalance of wealth is ok?
      Is there anything you don’t defend for your corporate overlords?

      • alwyn 10.1.1

        I think that the supposed wealth inequality is very misleading.
        It totally, and wrongly, ignores the greatest component of peoples wealth which is the income they can get from their labour.
        Taking these numbers with a grain of salt, as I don’t actually know at what age a medical specialist actually qualifies or how much their loan might be I ask you to consider the following.

        Consider a 26 year old medical graduate, just qualified and about to go into practice.
        Their capital assets are roughly zero. They have had a couple of years as a house surgeon but they spent it all, making up for their penury as a student. Their capital liabilities are $100,000. This is their student loan.
        When they start in private practise they can anticipate an income, as they are in a high paying speciality of $500,000/year for the next 40 years.

        Are they poor? The discounted value of that income is probably around about $10 million. THAT is the capital they are worth.
        Compare that with someone working as a cleaner. They have no student loan but they own an old car. By Oxfam’s calculations they would be richer than the doctor.

        • UncookedSelachimorpha

          The whole point is that a huge part of the world’s wealth is going to a tiny number of people who certainly aren’t receiving it by any virtue of their ‘labour’.

          Arguments about doctors, cleaners, students….it is all peanuts compared to the real issue of the 62 and their nearby mates.

        • UncookedSelachimorpha

          And yes, the 0.001% want us to focus on income inequality, not wealth inequality….why could that be?

          Wealth inequality is an outcome of prolonged income inequality – usually income from capital, not labour, for the very rich.

        • Draco T Bastard

          It totally, and wrongly, ignores the greatest component of peoples wealth which is the income they can get from their labour.

          The rich get their income from the assets that they own as you well know. That wealth allows them to bludge off of the poor creating even more poverty.

          In a just society we’d call it theft.

          • Smilin

            Theft more ways to skin a cat the more control they have the greater the loss to the masses thats why politics is a scam its a puppet machine of the rich of the rich .

      • Paul 10.1.2

        On the actual subject matter.
        You attack Oxfam, but not the glaring inequality highlighted by this article.
        Do you think the obscene imbalance of wealth is ok?

        • Colonial Viper

          I find it amusing that Alwyn cannot see that the 1% should be screaming the loudest about inequality.

          After all, the 0.001% are the ones who are raking it in and leaving most of the 1% behind in the dust.

          The billionaires play the millionaires for fools. The medium business owner 1%’er who owns a few houses and a few toys gets broken by the austerity economy created by the central banking 0.001%

          That’s too much for Alwyn to comprehend though.

          • Puckish Rogue

            If hes anything like me then he probably doesn’t care what someone else is making or worth.

            I don’t care because it doesn’t impact me on how much I own or earn, its not like a pie where the billionaires keep cutting slices for themselves

            So yeah the inequality may be getting worse (depending on how you rate inequality) but my net worth is increasing yearly and I’m on target to retire between 55-60 so I really don’t care how rich so and so is

            and yes I’m aware that 55-60 is a long way away and that other people are richer and could retire right and good on them but I’m doing what works for me

            • alwyn

              No, I don’t really care what anyone else is worth. It only bothers me when they get it by stealing it.
              Thus I admire what Gates has done. He built a company that made something that people wanted and were willing to pay for.
              In the same way I admired people like Jim Wattie and the first two generations of Fletchers.
              It is the Russian Oligarchs who with the connivance of Putin have stolen things that they had no hand in creating that I disapprove of.
              It is the people who become dictators of a country and then impoverish it that I object to.
              Life is far to short to burn your life up being envious of anyone who is richer than you are. You won’t be any better off by dragging them down to feed the fire of you bitter jealousy.

              • Puckish Rogue

                Agreed, It might make them feel better but it won’t help them improve their own lives

              • Draco T Bastard

                It only bothers me when they get it by stealing it.

                Then you should be calling for all the rich to be put in jail and their assets returned to those they stole them off.

                Thus I admire what Gates has done. He built a company that made something that people wanted and were willing to pay for.

                Actually, he managed to put himself in a monopoly position and massively overcharge for complete crap.

                Life is far to short to burn your life up being envious of anyone who is richer than you are.

                We’re not envious of them:

                Notice how this picture inverts one of the standard tropes of the right-wing commentariat. According to endless pundits, it is the egalitarian left, obsessed with a “politics of envy”, who irrationally focus on the distribution of wealth and income at the expense of what really matters, making people’s lives better. But here we see that a focus on inequality, indeed a lust for inequality, is characteristic of the wealthy who value inequality for its own sake and who rejoice in the subordination of their fellows.

                We’re disgusted by them.

                • alwyn

                  “Actually, he managed to put himself in a monopoly position and massively overcharge for complete crap.”
                  That may be your opinion. It isn’t mine.
                  You are aware aren’t you that there are alternatives to Windows and to Office. You don’t HAVE to use them you know and people wouldn’t bother if there were better alternatives. Why don’t you produce one if it is really “complete crap”. You shouldn’t find it that hard.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    You do understand that back in the 1980s the only PC that was truly selling was the IBM and clones and that meant the people buying them had to buy MS-DOS?

                    You also realise that there was even less standards on inter-operability than there are today meaning that if you didn’t use the dominant office programs you couldn’t actually share data with anyone else?

                    That dominance that MS got pretty much by default is what made MS billions. It wasn’t because they were good programmers and nor was it because people actually wanted that OS – they just didn’t have a choice.

                    This is pretty much the inevitable result of businesses using competing standards. The result, interestingly enough, of patents and copyright.

                    It really would have been much better if Amiga had launched the Amiga OS on the PC rather than building a better machine. MS and Apple would have died in 1985 but then we’d just have another monopoly power.

                    • alwyn

                      Back in the 1980s IBM had their own PC software OS/2 I think it was called. Now that was real crap. People didn’t buy it. They chose to use Windows because it was better and would run on any PC.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Now that was real crap. People didn’t buy it. They chose to use Windows because it was better and would run on any PC.

                      You do understand that IBM actually paid MS to develop OS2 don’t you?

                      Considering that MS was developing Windows at the time It’s viable to consider if they helped it to be crap.

                      Actually, I understand that it really wasn’t that bad. Hell, it was true multi-tasking which was MS-DOS/Windows couldn’t do at that time. The only other OS that could do that at that time was Amiga OS and that came out in 1985 – nearly 10 years before OS2 and it did it better. OS2’s problem was:

                      During this time, Windows 3.0 became a tremendous success, selling millions of copies in its first year.[11] Much of its success was because Windows 3.0 (along with MS-DOS) was bundled with most new computers.[12] OS/2, on the other hand, was only available as an expensive stand-alone software package.

                      Free or expensive add-on? Most people go with the free option. It’s what killed Rambus RAM as well despite the fact that Rambus RAM was better than DDR.

                  • McFlock

                    “Actually, he managed to put himself in a monopoly position and massively overcharge for complete crap.”
                    That may be your opinion. It isn’t mine.

                    It was the judge’s opinion that Microsoft was a monopoly, and using its position illegally.

              • Lanthanide

                “It only bothers me when they get it by stealing it.

                Thus I admire what Gates has done. He built a company that made something that people wanted and were willing to pay for.”

                You realise he stole DOS, right?


            • Crashcart

              There is a minor flaw in what you say. The pie is of a limited size. If you think the pie can grow forever then there is no point explaining to you why the rich growing their share of the pie means that you will eventually end up with less.

              I won’t even go into your self absorbed view where as long as you get to retire when you want who gives a shit what happens to anyone else. I guess you don’t live in a community where the negative impacts of inequality are born and paid for by us all.

            • Paul

              ” I’m on target to retire between 55-60 so I really don’t care how rich so and so is”

              Says it all.
              I don’t care about other people.


              • Puckish Rogue

                Maybe if you spent a little less time gossiping and being nosy parkers and spend a little more time on something constructive you might actually achieve something for a change

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Getting rid of the rich is far more constructive than kowtowing to them as you RWNJs seem to want to do.


            • Draco T Bastard

              …its not like a pie where the billionaires keep cutting slices for themselves

              The real economy, being very much of limited physical quantities, really is a zero sum game and the billionaires are really taking it all for themselves.

              • alwyn

                Don’t be so totally stupid. Of course it isn’t a “zero sum” game.
                Do you really think that the total income in the world hasn’t increased at all in the last 300 years? That is what a “zero sum” game would require.
                Malthus got it wrong you know.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Just because income has increased doesn’t mean that available resources has. This fact is why we’re now heading into the first Anthropogenic Extinction Event.

                  Malthus got it right. Another fact that you RWNJs ignore because it goes against your delusional beliefs.

                  • alwyn

                    Obviously there is a limit on available resources. The debate is what the limit is. After all nothing is infinite. The Sun is going to swell up and encompass the Earth some day. It doesn’t mean I should worry about it.
                    Remember how oil was going to run out because we were going to use up all the reserves? Well there have been about 30 years worth of proved reserves in every one of the last 60 years. Nobody bothers looking with that much on hand.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      You obviously don’t understand Peak Oil. Sure, we’ll have oil for the next thirty years but the amount we have available is going to decrease year on year. No growth from that.

                      Then there’s the simple fact that we should be getting off of oil anyway due to climate change. Another limit that you seem to be ignoring.

                      Basically, there’s lots and lots of inter-connected physical limits that we’ve been ignoring so that a few people can get lots of money. These people don’t want things to change and so they buy up our governments and get them to embed the present system (TTP, TTIP, etc, etc) despite the fact that it’s obviously failing.

        • alwyn

          The real obscenity of wealth imbalance is mostly in poor countries and it is due to the leaders of those countries stealing the country’s assets or allowing their friends to do it.
          Look at some of the African countries where corruption is rife and any political leader steals the money and gets it out of the country.
          Look at Mobutu in The Congo, Zuma in South Africa, Mugabe in Zimbabwe and pretty well all the leaders in Nigeria. They are the vile ones.
          Look at all the Oligarchic friends of Putin in Russia.

          Instead Oxfam, in their wilful blindness, choose to talk about Gates and Buffet. Yes they are very rich but they seem to be willing to spend their wealth on the improvement of the world rather than on stealing of the poor and spending it on themselves.

          • UncookedSelachimorpha

            Another lie of the RWNJ set. Rich people = philanthropy

            Why should the filthy rich get to choose which social programs they support, while everyone else who is far poorer is simply compelled to pay for hospitals, roads etc through their taxes? Perhaps if the filthy rich paid their share of tax, wouldn’t be so much need for their ‘philanthropy’?

            • alwyn

              And of course a lie from Oxfam.
              Why do they concentrate on people who are rich but spend their wealth trying to help with world problems, such as getting rid of the curse of malaria, rather than attacking the plutocratic criminals in power in the non0democratic companies in the world.
              Tell me US. Do you approve of these people I am talking about? Or do you rather approve of them but hate Bill Gates?

              • Crashcart

                Who says they aren’t? OXFAM do many things to help the poor in developing countries. This one piece of information they put out simply points out an area they have identified.

                Also your diversion is already answered earlier. Watch the video. Yes there are corrupt leaders in 3rd world countries who area huge issue. However when we are talking about keeping a country poor taking an estimated 2 Trillion dollars out of their economies and giving it straight to developed countries more then wipes out the 160 or so billion that is given in aid each year.

                However you are not really here to find if such consolidation of wealth may be an issue. You are here to try and sell a line that allows you to only focus on your own progress to retirement and ignore anything that goes beyond direct obvious negative effects to you.

                • alwyn

                  You are confusing me with Puckish Rogue you know.
                  It was P.R who talked about retiring but you answer ME with
                  “allows you to only focus on your own progress to retirement”.
                  We aren’t one person as you seem to imagine.

                  I actually retired quite a long time ago. I am obviously quite a lot older than P.R is. I hope you don’t consider that I should be expected to slave at the wheel until I am 100 years old?

                  As an aside where does your comment that “taking an estimated 2 Trillion dollars out of their economies” come from?

                  • Macro

                    “taking an estimated 2 Trillion dollars out of their economies” come from?

                    Read the post.

                  • crashcart

                    Sorry it is easy to confuse you, PR and BM as you all use the same lines with very little follow up thought. Just parrot repeat until people give up explaining.

                    Like when I explained the 2 Trillion dollar figure comes from the 4 minute long video linked above that you couldn’t even bring your self to watch.

                    • alwyn

                      No I didn’t watch it.
                      I did read the whole 44 pages of the Oxfam report and didn’t see it there. Maybe I will watch the video. It can’t be as time wasting as the whole report was, can it?

                    • crashcart

                      I wouldn’t know I’m not retired so I don’t know what sort of time you have on your hands. Then again I’m not the one who challenged your figures without even going to the reference you gave for them so fill your boots and do what ever pleases you.

                    • alwyn

                      @crashcart at 6.33pm
                      I do apologise old fellow.
                      I missed the words about the video in your comment.
                      There was so much else you said that it was easy to miss the odd word.
                      “Odd Word” . Hmm. That sounds pretty appropriate for some of your comments doesn’t it?
                      Just bear with me. You too will be old some day. Providing your spouse doesn’t shoot you of course.

                    • crashcart

                      That was a surprising comment I must say. Happy to be enlightened as to what you think I said that was odd, self improvement and all that jazz.

                      I am sure on occasion my wife has wanted to shoot me and she’s not the only one.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Why do they concentrate on people who are rich but spend their wealth trying to help with world problems,

                The rich are the cause of most of our problems and are actually standing in the way of the rest as well. If medicines weren’t patentable then everyone who could make would and malaria and many other ailments simply wouldn’t be a problem any more. Same goes for cancer treatments.

              • Paul

                Stop diverting the discussion.
                Why don’t you care about this obscene inequality?

              • Paul

                The rich are the world’s problem.

              • UncookedSelachimorpha

                Gates could have done a lot of good in the world if he had instead contributed proportionally as much tax as those working for him (and hey – why not a little more) and hadn’t used monopoly power / capital to extract wealth from millions around him.

                You can expect he avoided 10’s of billions in tax, relative to the tax rate paid by his workers, on his way to his current holding of USD79b. That is a lot of public money absorbed by a private individual, who at the same time is disproportionately benefiting from society’s common resources (education and healthcare for his 1000’s of employees, infrastructure etc).

                Every extremely wealthy person has got there in large part by merely extracting wealth from their neighbours. They may have used labour and creativity (and ruthlessness, luck etc) to create an initial position – but the lion’s share of their wealth comes from unearned extraction through a position of power and ownership.

          • Draco T Bastard

            The real obscenity of wealth imbalance is mostly in poor countries and it is due to the leaders of those countries stealing the country’s assets or allowing their friends to do it.

            You mean like the leaders of this country selling our assets against our will?

            Yes, that is theft.

            Look at some of the African countries where corruption is rife and any political leader steals the money and gets it out of the country.

            Look at the National party where corruption is rife. John Key’s lies about his Tranzrail shares, Collin’s and her dodgy personal business dealings while travelling as a minister and many more.

            Look at all the Oligarchic friends of Putin in Russia.

            Look at the Oligarchic friends of John Key: Sir Talley, Sir Restaurant Dude, Sir Rugby Dude, the Holiday Highway for the rich and the uneconomic roads for the trucking firms.

            NZ is corrupt and the National Party most corrupt of all.

      • reason 10.1.3

        The New Zealand connection to tax dodging criminals is strong and long….. http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/8515361/Money-trail-leads-home-to-New-Zealand

        Some of the Nats dirty politics crew are involved with Kathy Odgers and threats to Nicky Hagar being one local example which springs to mind……

    • Draco T Bastard 10.2

      And a RWNJ gets upset that reality is accurately reported again.

      The Western culture of theft by the few needs to be stopped.

    • Smilin 10.3

      Of course what you say is the point when it comes to Key and his BS economics .He is the player of it in this part of the world of Oxfam’s summation and Turnbull’s wealth while significant is just the norm in Oz amongst their wealthy

  10. weka 11

    Not many righties over here defending this one, which is interesting in itself.

  11. b waghorn 12

    If those 3.5 billion just had bigger aspirations and worked a bit harder they to could have all the money.!

    • Paul 13.1

      Rich donors’ hefty cheques will never solve poverty

      Warren Buffett’s son says charity fuels a ‘perpetual poverty machine’ and rich people giving money away eases their conscience but doesn’t solve the problem

      Bargain for billionaires: Why philanthropy is more about P.R. than progress

      Do you think the obscene imbalance of wealth is ok?
      It kind of sounds like it.

      • BM 13.1.1

        Nothing you can do about it, been like it for ever.
        At least that lot are giving most of it back.

      • alwyn 13.1.2

        I expect Warren’s son is pissed off that Daddy is giving away the money he hoped to get his hands on. It isn’t usually the generation that makes the money that is the problem. It is their heirs who become playboys.

        By the way. You do realise don’t you that your favourite newspaper is supported by a trust that was set up for the purpose. I guess it wouldn’t be here still if not for a philanthropist. See the second para at this link

        • crashcart

          No because the Rockefellers, J.P Morgan, and others were such men of the people.

          By the way always fun to see those who grew up when education was free and social mobility was a real thing claim that the younger generation is the problem.

          • alwyn

            Who said anything about “the younger generation”.
            You realise that one of John D Rockefeller’s grandsons is still alive don’t you?
            Still going, more or less, at 99.

            As far as the first generation consider Andrew Carnegie. By the standards of today he was incredibly ruthless. By those of his own day he was merely tough.
            He became the richest man in the world and then gave it all away.
            That included building about 2500 libraries, including 18 in New Zealand.
            His most famous statement was probably
            “The man who dies rich dies disgraced”

    • weka 13.2

      oh that’s alright then.


    • Anno1701 13.3

      “In 1995, Gates Sr. invited the longstanding birth control/population activist Suzanne Cluett to help him distribute his foundation’s resources. She then remained with the Gates’ philanthropies as associate director of global health strategies until her death in 2006. Prior to joining the Gates’ philanthropies, Cluett had obtained much experience in population control related programming as she had spent 16 years as administrative vice president for the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH). The Gates Foundation’s focus here places it in a direct line with that of the Ford and Rockefeller foundations’, which have a long history of promoting population control research around the world in line with U.S. imperial interests.”

      “In late 2003, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was strongly criticised by international charities, farmers’ groups, and academics as a result of a $25 million grant it had given to “GM [genetically modified] research to develop vitamin and protein-enriched seeds for the world’s poor.”This money supported research by the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture, and the International Food Policy Research Institute, two groups which played an integral role in the first Ford and Rockefeller Foundation-funded (so-called) Green Revolution. Both of these organisations are also part of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), a group of global public institutes that is “widely accused of being a creature of its two major funders – the US and the World Bank”

      most of the “philanthropy” of the uber-weathy is just like this

      social engineering and eugenics under a thin veneer of charity

      • BM 13.3.1

        Interesting, didn’t realize Gates was such a greenie.

        • Anno1701

          don’t conflate “the green revolution” (which has basically salted the most fertile parts of the earth earth with petro-chemical fertilizers) with environmentalism

          Social engineering by elite philanthropists of any kind is not a phenomenon that is compatible with democracy. In fact, the ongoing, and escalating, philanthropic colonisation of civil society by “generous ” elite philanthropists poses a clear and present danger to the sustainability of democratic forms of governance IMO

          • Anno1701

            Syngenta and their Syngenta Foundation ( http://www.syngentafoundation.org/ ) , along with USAID, Dupont, and the Gates and Rockefeller Foundations, support a global project called the Global Crop Diversity Trust which aims to “ensure the conservation and availability of crop diversity for food security worldwide.” The aims of this project appear somewhat contradictory, because the attempts of the aforementioned groups to foist a GM monoculture upon the world are already working to endanger the regular supply of adequate food resources into the future

  12. adam 14

    If you be the slaves who tolerate this, then more the fool you.

  13. Bill 15

    We all know that a market system concentrates wealth and power and that concentrated wealth and power will concentrate more wealth and power at an increasing rate as disparity increases.

    So what’s the solution?

    You want redistributive policies? Fine. But they’ll only work as a short term measure and only if they can be put in place in the first instance against powerful opposition. Eventually, (probably sooner rather than later) ways will be found to work around whatever legislation is put in place. Actually, the legislation will be rolled back and the market will carry on concentrating wealth and spreading poverty because that dynamic is inherent to market economics.

    If all you people who don’t like widespread poverty and havens of extreme wealth want to actually do something, then aside from taking up an abolitionist position and working from there, you’re going to be consigning yourself and others to fighting this same shit for a thousand years.

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      I can’t see either Labour or the Greens acting to rein in the wealth of NZ’s 100 richest families.

      The outrage at the 1%’ers can’t translate politically, because all Labour and Green MPs are in the top1%-2%, by definition, and those are the social circles that they move in on a daily basis.

      • Bill 15.1.1

        Maybe you’re missing the larger point? it wouldn’t matter in the medium or long term if they did. Market dominance would be reasserted. It’s happened often enough in terms of banking regulation etc. First, ways are found to work around reforms or regulation and then they’re rolled back at the first opportunity.

        • Colonial Viper

          yes indeed, after the US “New Deal” big money went straight back to work undermining the reforms which had been undertaken until today, we are right back where we were, or even worse, than the so-called “Gilded Age” of extravagant wealth inequality.

      • savenz 15.1.2

        When all the roles are politically appointed such as Rebstock ex chairman of the commerce commission – then that is the part of the problem. People like her, are protecting companies profits and monopolies while being in roles that are supposed to protect the consumer. The Natz are reappointing with cronies as we speak, but do not hear much opposition about it.

        If Labour want the support of ‘the people’ maybe they need to look long and hard at what their policies are supporting and who is in their party representing them- pretending that if everyone in NZ works harder and longer for companies while supporting corporate welfare and foreign national domination via TPP like deals (with a bit of tinkering to make it slightly better) we will all be rich and get the ‘trickle down.’ Not happening – people were promised trickle down for last 20 years – inequality is increasing and companies profits are increasing while companies tax rates are decreasing.

        Meanwhile we have Nash hosting oil companies at Skycity and publicly telling us he (Labour) need to lose principals to win.

        • alwyn

          “publicly telling us he (Labour) need to lose principals to win.”
          That would certainly help. After all their “principals” are Little and Robertson. Who would seriously consider voting for them?

          Sorry. Couldn’t resist it. And yes, I make just as many typos as the next man.

        • Colonial Viper

          If Labour want the support of ‘the people’ maybe they need to look long and hard at what their policies are

          I thought it would have been obvious by now: Labour is after the support of the comfortable and mostly comfortable middle class.

          • savenz

            @CV – Labour are not for the comfortable middle class – their polices in the last election of raising pensions and property taxes (while having no taxes for those that come into the country without paying any taxes and buy them up) did not sit well with the comfortable middle class.

            People might be able to take austerity for a purpose, but Labour trying to cuddle up to big business making obscene profits while having low wages and encouraging immigration into a country that has no jobs or houses to spare did not seem to be a winner, while championing free trade agreements that make money for the same few individuals but most people worse off with lowered wages and higher prices for goods (apart from TV’s).

            The idea of ‘crashing property’ with the Greens did not sit well for those who after decades of declining wages have the only asset left to sell (their house) to fund their retirement or to increase interest rates, again with many mortgaged up to their eye balls to get into their first house, or just remortgaging their house to make ends meet because again their wages are not covering it or they have been made redundant.

            There are ways to create more taxes into the country but Labour seemed to want to pick on the middle class only (not businesses or 0.001%) to find the extra taxes. They seemed to endorse if you are rich enough or a business you don’t need to pay more taxes locally.

            • Colonial Viper

              @CV – Labour are not for the comfortable middle class – their polices in the last election of raising pensions and property taxes (while having no taxes for those that come into the country without paying any taxes and buy them up) did not sit well with the comfortable middle class.

              Were you even watching the same election that I was?

              Surveys showed that there were far more people who thought that a CGT was a good idea, than who actually voted for Labour.

              And raising the retirement age doesn’t fuck the comfortable middle classes, it fucks Labour’s supposed core vote of the working class and those in the precariat.

              The “comfortable middle classes” don’t need $320/week from NZ Super. They’ve already got a couple of million in Auckland property.

              The people who need NZ super are the ones on the minimum wage still renting at 50, and NZ Labour was going to fuck with them by pushing Super further out in the future.

              Frankly, with those policies Labour deserved to lose that election.

              • savenz

                Have to disagree with you there CV. The surveys were probably run by the Herald so not worth the paper they were written on. Just like getting everyone hot under the collar about property to take away TPP space (Chinese immigrant playing video games while investing in property in recent Herald headlines).

                65% of Kiwis still own their own property. Raising retirement ages fucks with everyone who is about to retire and those praying for the day – including comfortable middle class. Maori own property.

                Property is BIG in NZ as being the only way to manage the poor wages here. If things go wrong, property saves you. Even the banks know this and pretty much won’t lend on anything but property.

                Any politician who fucks with property is losing a lot of votes. It doesn’t need many dissenters to split the votes and let the Natz slip in.

                You may think that CGT is a good idea but voters didn’t and now we are stuck with these corrupt bastards.

    • weka 15.2

      another 1,000 years 😉

      I agree, but what do you suggest instead?

      • savenz 15.2.1

        There needs to be a crack down of company taxes and globalism being used ( often legitimately) to not pay taxes in country of origin. I think the EU have just moved against Apple claiming additional taxes.

        There needs to be more social messages in media etc about callous business. i.e. making massive profits while paying the bear minimum and making people redundant. Fonterra comes to mind when the CEO gets 4.18 million but the farmers and producers are going bankrupt, making people redundant and using migrant labour and palm oil feed. Banks closing down banks and paying poor wages while making outrageous profits and charging their customer’s fees upon fees. $10 for a bank account per month etc etc. Supermarkets doing the same with poor wages and making the producers poorer and poorer.

        It is not in NZ interests as a producing country when big players are creating monopolies and dictating the terms and constantly driving down the costs.

        Government need to be prepared to break up companies like they used to (like Microsoft), use research and invest in education. Create well paid jobs, look at universal benefit.

        Get rid of political donations and lobbying.

        Get rid of corporate welfare like Sky city and saudi sheep farms.

        • Colonial Viper

          Nice wishlist but politicians like the way things are set up as they are now, with themselves in the middle of a nexus of money and influence brokeraging.

        • Smilin

          What ever happens in NZ is NZs to deal with so we better have a govt of NZers not international corporate stooges like at present

      • Bill 15.2.2

        I made the suggestion in the comment. A position of abolition – y’know, just the same as abolitionists gathered around the matter of slavery, so with market economics. The replacement? A democratic economy – ie, where we (society) provide society (ourselves) with its (our) needs.

        The alternatives of either a state or some corporate configuration providing us with our needs doesn’t work. Statism has already been thoroughly discredited and this resultant slow drift off to the other side of the spectrum (corporatism) doesn’t just ‘not work’, it’s fucking fucked by just about every measure you might want to apply (eg, political and economic freedoms) .

        • weka

          I was hoping you would be a bit more specific. Abolishing market economics and replacing it with an actual democratic economy is too vague for most people to make sense of.

          • Colonial Viper

            First steps towards a democratic economy have been outlined by the Marxian economist Richard Wolff.

            They include worker owned/worker directed enterprises, where major decisions are made democratically, and if there are “bosses” (managers or supervisors) they are selected (and fired) by worker elections.

            • Bill

              …where major decisions are made democratically, and if there are “bosses” (managers or supervisors) they are selected (and fired) by worker elections.

              And when a boss or manager/supervisor or someone with specialist credentials/access convinces workers they should remain in an elevated position because….well, that’s the beginning of capture and why any system of ‘democratic centralism’ should be resisted and rejected.

              • Colonial Viper

                nah mate at the end of the day you have to trust in the workers and the ordinary kiwis in these businesses to do the right thing otherwise you are right back with an elite group who think that they know better than the ordinary employee.

                • Bill

                  I’m responding to the bit where you suggest that managers or whatever could be selected for. That’s democratic centralism. And democratic centralism always gets captured. Think of the information flows and the access to the information and how and who decides what information is to be made available to all and sundry….an elite gets all of the information and then filters it for general consumption and ‘turns’ debate due to their ‘specialist’ or ‘extra’ knowledge that’s been granted by their access.

                  Trust workers to do what’s right? I do. Trust anyone in any semi-permanent elevated position to not seek to entrench themselves? Nope.

                  The trick is to have the roles executed in such a way that positions do not exist in any meaningful form (ie – not attached to individuals or discrete groups) and to institute skill and knowledge sharing so that there are no indispensable people.

                  • Incognito

                    I’m most interested in your comments.

                    Are you thoughts aligned with Holacracy by any chance if I may ask?

                    • Bill

                      I’ve never come across the term before. On a very quick pass on your link, I noticed the term ‘hierarchy’ being used in a positive or neutral light quite a lot. So, on first pass, I’d doubt that my thoughts align with holacracy

          • Bill

            Being that tight and specific in the space of a blog comment doesn’t seem feasible. Hell, doing a succinct post would be a stretch.

            In very, very broad terms, anything that claims to be democratic cannot be creating unilateral impositions on people – either bureaucratically or economically. Neither can any person or persons be unilaterally imposed upon in a personal fashion if claims of democracy are to be taken seriously.

            Earlier today I commented that democracy means that no-one can unilaterally plant a tree outside someone else’s window. That works out both literally and metaphorically. See it as a benchmark, rule of thumb or tenet.

            Stack that against current market economics and current work places. It doesn’t even begin to measure up, and yet we keep telling ourselves we live in a democracy.

            Stack it up against community decisions that are made through local or regional bureaucracies, again – doesn’t begin to measure up.

            Stack it against other informal local decision making bodies and due to people habitually organising in ways that mimic larger formal structures, it usually won’t usually stack up either.

            So we have a long way to go. Step one might be simply recognising what isn’t democratic, rejecting it and trying something else…a constant process of critically aware trial and error. Eventually fewer mistakes will be made and an’institutional knowledge or memory of what works will build up. There are no blue prints, just our ability to recognise and call out b/s.

            • weka

              Thanks. I’m less interested in what doesn’t work than what might. I get that people need to see how undemocratic things are but unless they are presented with something coherent as a replacement I can’t see them opting out or even viewing the current situation as very poor democracy (some people are quite happy to let others run things). This doesn’t have to be a tight detail, complete plan, but it does have to be some detail.

              Re the tree outside the window, who decides what gets defined as an imposition on an individual? Can I say no to having a barking dog next door? Loud music? Spraying pesticides on the boundary? Surely the degree to which such things would be considered impositions or not are (somewhat) collectively agreed lines that change over time.

              I’m also not convinced about the individualistic nature of the idea. Humans are imo inherently tribal and for most of our history have organised around extended groups because that’s how we evolved. I’m not sure individual rights such as you suggest are compatible with that, but am curious as to how it might work.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                some people are quite happy to let others run things

                …until they find themselves adversely affected.

                an institutional knowledge or memory of what works will build up.

                Isn’t that the situation we’re already in with say, Physics or Engineering? Or Music, for that matter.

                In other fields we’re whittling away at the unknown…and yet repeating past mistakes by the bucketload. There’s a pressing need for better implementation of institutional knowledge,

                • weka

                  …until they find themselves adversely affected.

                  Even then many people will simply choose to complain rather than do anything about it.

              • Bill

                You and who-ever agree on a course of action re the barking dog, the loud music, and the spraying of insecticides. At the moment, we appeal to out-side authority and dis-empower ourselves and those around us.

                Not getting why you’re suggesting there’s anything intrinsically individualistic in anything I’m saying btw. Democracy isn’t and can’t be individualistic – it gets practiced by those affected by (say) the barking dog or affected by any likely decision being made about the barking dog. Of course, if the agreed upon solution to the barking dog looks like it would affect a third party to the decision, then they’d have to be drawn into the process (if they wanted to be).

                And if there’s no solution to the barking dog, then those affected by the bullshit conflict happening within their community legitimately involve themselves.

                Democracy – a fluid, ever changing and empowering environment.

                And if people don’t want to partake, then they don’t have to. But, as OAB has pointed out, they get to ‘wear’ whatever goes on around them.

                • weka

                  Having had plenty of disagreements with neighbours that weren’t resolvable between the two of us, let’s just go straight to that. Why do you call the conflict bullshit? What happens if no-one else is affected by the conflict? Isn’t that an impasse?

                  Not getting why you’re suggesting there’s anything intrinsically individualistic in anything I’m saying btw.

                  Because your baseline is what imposes on the individual. AFAIK tribal cultures use a baseline of what imposes on the group. This doesn’t preclude individual action, but they’re not the same thing those baselines.

                  So let’s say a farmer decides he’s going to cut down all the remaining native bush on his land because he can get some money for it. Who is going to stop him if the group doesn’t? He’s not going to take any notice of individuals saying to him that he shouldn’t do it. His immediate neighbours in the same valley mostly support him because they can see how they will be able to as well. Then you have groups of people from outside the area saying he shouldn’t do it, but why will he take any notice of them?

                  • Bill

                    If an individual in a group is affected by something, then it’s often going to have a ripple effect and affect the group (partially or wholly) in some way or another.

                    If ‘you’ and ‘your neighbour’ are at loggerheads over a barking dog, then your impasse (or whatever you want to call it) is likely going to have knock on effects via the behaviour of you and/or your neighbour in communal situations. No-one directly affected is not no effect. Not sorting it out between yourselves is the bullshit that will likely have effects beyond the dynamics of you and your neighbour.

                    But sorry Weka, this is all rabbit hole stuff – fine for inner musing but hopeless in terms of constructive dialogue. Essentially your asking ‘how do you cross the road’. And there ‘a million’ potential factors that may or may not be taken into account in regards the situation.

                    I might jay-walk or go to the over bridge or underbridge or look left and right or just go by hearing. I might walk or run or dally or change my mind when I’m half way there and either continue or turn back depending on a number of factors.

                    The type of discussion you’re pursuing suggests that if i said I turned back half way, then a speeding car would be introduced to the scenario with a “What then?” query. And, you know, if there was a pile of speeding cars, I might not have crossed the road in the first place… and on and on and on in an endless fruitless ping-pong of a discussion.

                    • weka

                      We’ll have to disagree on that, because I can’t see how you can get people to understand what you are talking about, let alone be attracted to it, unless you can talk in concrete terms about it.

                      If the concept can’t stand up to a few questions along the lines of ‘what if..?” then how else can it be tested? I don’t understand the rabbit hole bit, or why exploring the scenarios would be a problem. Surely we will get to a point sooner or later where I have no more ‘buts’?.

                      If ‘you’ and ‘your neighbour’ are at loggerheads over a barking dog, then your impasse (or whatever you want to call it) is likely going to have knock on effects via the behaviour of you and/or your neighbour in communal situations. No-one directly affected is not no effect. Not sorting it out between yourselves is the bullshit that will likely have effects beyond the dynamics of you and your neighbour.

                      Maybe it’s not loggerheads. Maybe I’m too ill to engage with the conflict. And no-one else is taking any notice. What then? At the moment at least I can phone the council and as limited a democracy as that is, at least it’s sometthing. This is what I mean when I say that to get people to be interested we have to explore these kinds of scenarios. The status quo for the relatively comfortable is usually going to be more attractive.

                      I think, from past conversations too, that the impetus for people to do the right things is based on two principles. One is that the collective will express disapproval in various ways towards people who are arseholes or don’t take part in the collective good. The other is that people are generally disposed towards right action.

                      I don’t believe the latter is true, in my experience people care up to the point where they don’t and at that point it’s just too bad. I’m talking about the good people too, not the shits who are just out for themselves. I hear the argument made by people I know who say oh but when the going gets tough and the crunch comes we will all be more disposed to kindness and giving a shit and working together. But I tend to think that if we can’t do it now when we’re relatively well off (as opposed to say living in Syria), then I think when push comes to shove many here will just act to suit themselves (which is pretty much what they are doing already).

                      I’m not saying that what you are suggesting can’t work. I’m saying that people will need to decolonise from capitalism, and neoliberalism in particular (not to mention the kyriarchy 😉 ), and that part of that process involves getting to grips with the scenarios I bring up. It’s a thought experiment. I think your speeding car analogy is wrong, because it implies that the point of the new variables is to prove the idea impossible, whereas I think it’s to prove it possible. As I said at the start, eventually there will be no new variables and it will be clearer how it could work.

                      If you have another way of explaining how it might work, I’m interested.

                    • Bill

                      Okay then. Why would there be a neighbour with a barking dog when there is ‘really existing’ substantive democracy?

                      At the moment there’s a barking dog because (usually) the guy goes to his job and is (possibly) protecting his property, but regardless, leaves his dog at home.

                      In a democracy, what is this job the guy would be forced to go to? Why wouldn’t he take his dog to work if he’s off doing something? Why didn’t others object to the idea of him having a dog that was going to be left alone for extended periods? Why is it ‘his’ dog? Why don’t others in the community (eg – the annoyed neighbour) look after the dog when the dog’s principle human is away?

                      And so on.

                      In other words, if you’re going to throw up scenarios, then it’s necessary you take them away from present day settings and into possible future contexts. If you can’t extrapolate the scenarios into a probable democratic context, then yes, it becomes rabbit hole stuff.

                      If it’s only you being affected and you’re too unwell to engage with some conflict (why a conflict?), what’s to stop you bringing your concerns to the attention of people as you go about your daily business, or failing that at some regular general meeting where the community comes together to throw it’s ideas around?

                • Mike S

                  “Democracy – a fluid, ever changing and empowering environment. ”

                  empowering? Not if you’re in the minority because whatever fluffy language you use to describe democracy, it means majority rules.

  14. Macro 16

    This has to be the very depth of obscenity. It is just too disgusting to even think about – how these people can even look at themselves in the mirror I fail to understand. They may have gained the world, but they have lost any shred of human decency. They are simply disgusting, blobs of grasping protoplasm.

  15. Draco T Bastard 17

    The misnamed “trickle down” economy is actually a “suck up” economy in practice.

    Good explanation on that here:

    The system distributes money from the bottom 90% to the top 10%

    Absurdly rich people do not (in general) get absurdly rich by meeting their public obligations.

    The only way to get rich is to steal off of everyone else.

  16. katipo 18

    We can see things have gotten out of hand when there are people out there who can afford to bid up to $179US million for a painting.


  17. feijoa 19


  18. savenz 20

    Instead of TPP I would like to see an international agreement for corporations to have to pay local tax on profits in their country where the profits come from.

    Ie each subsidiary pay local tax on the local profits and can not claim losses and other tax breaks and move them around the globe.

    Rules where nobody in a company can earn more than 20 times more than the lowest worker.

    This sort of global rules would quickly wipe out inequality a lot faster than rules written by Monsanto and the like under TPP which seems to be more interested in increasing inequality and killing off the planet faster.

    • Smilin 20.1

      Foresure foreshore start bac there and make the taxes retrospective to the date of the foreshore and seabed act forreal cause thats where this present rip off started

  19. savenz 21

    I would also like to see a mandatory register of wages including contractors and what everyone is earning in the company. Not the names of the people but just an overview of what sort of company they are via wages. How many are recent migrants etc. Are companies employing slave labour and lowering their wages?

    If the CEO and exec and earning millions while a large amount of minions and others are on minimum wages then that speaks a lot about the company. Also how many job losses per year and how many created and so forth. Ie wages and jobs and contracts being measured by law within a company.

    I am sure the results would be surprising. Many like to think that NZ companies are wonderful and multinationals are awful but I have a suspicion if it was measured many Kiwi companies would be low wage employers and multinationals might be better in some higher value sectors. On the other hand, who knows.

    Essentially we need hard data to find out real facts. If the multinationals are paying their fair share of taxes while employing local people on real wages I do not have a problem with them.

    Likewise iwi being keen to keep slave migrant fishing going when they could be employing Maori etc.

    I am not against globalism which I think is here to stay, but I am against neoliberalism which is driving inequality by lowering wages and conditions and avoiding paying local taxes.

    Environmental factors need to be part of the business equation now – blind greed and killing the planet via consumer growth seem to be applauded while sustainability is frowned on under current economic theories.

    We need to create new economic theories and international agreements that protect people’s current standards of living and do not lower environmental standards.

  20. Seti 22

    Some questions – Wealth is a representation of the control of resources, but if the world’s resources were divided more equitably amongst the global population wouldn’t that lead to an accelerated and unsustainable depletion of said resources? Peak everything and catastrophic AGW 100 years ago? Whilst it is a tragedy that inequality exists on such a scale don’t the wealthy act as resource banks in delaying the inevitable? The 62 obviously don’t consume the same as the 3.6b.

  21. Smilin 23

    I wonder how mucha Key and his dancing group are paid by the 62 and their subsidiaries to keep NZs economy in the the red because nothing has got better since they came in power only for the greedy and selfish.And we all know the 2008 crash and 9/11 official causes are BS

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  • Criminal Cases Review Commission board appointments announced
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  • Applications open for forestry scholarships
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  • PGF reset helps regional economies
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