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The rich want to hide their wealth because of kidnap threats

Written By: - Date published: 9:30 am, March 22nd, 2015 - 173 comments
Categories: australian politics, capitalism, class war, wages, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: , ,

Gina Reinhart

I kid you not. The wealthy in Australia want to avoid publishing corporate tax information because of the threat of kidnapping.  At least this is what they are saying …

From the Guardian:

The assistant treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, told the Coalition party room on Tuesday the publication of the financial statements of large private companies raised “real safety concerns”. He said the 700 private companies captured by the new law covering more than 1,600 companies with a turnover of more than $100m should be exempt.

The prime minister, Tony Abbott, agreed the Coalition would implement this exemption. The changes will require a legislative amendment.

Frydenberg was responding to questions from senator Cory Bernardi and the New South Wales MP Craig Laundy, who argued private companies should be exempt on commercial and personal security grounds. They argued the information could harm a company’s commercial operations and potentially leave private business people and their families at risk of kidnapping.

After the meeting, Frydenberg said: “The government is considering its response to concerns about the publication of information about the tax affairs of privately owned Australian companies. Legitimate concerns have been raised about the misuse of information related to privately held companies that is made public as part of tax transparency measures.”

There are two rather large problems with this justification.  Firstly there is no evidence of an increase of kidnapping of Australia’s uber wealthy since the requirement was put in place.  Secondly  their lifestyles tend to be that ostentatious that a subscription to Womens Day will provide as many targets as a kidnapper could ever want.

Of course if the uber wealthy are that concerned the problem could be easily solved.  All they have to do is share the wealth around a bit.  They can retain sufficient to live more than comfortably.  Decreasing inequality has been shown to reduce crime and improve societal outcomes.

And how bad is inequality worldwide?  Well how about this for a statistic?  In 2014 Wall Street’s bonus pool was double the combined earnings of all Americans working full-time jobs at minimum wage.  We have failed to change things following the Global Financial Crisis and have let the inmates take over the asylum again.

173 comments on “The rich want to hide their wealth because of kidnap threats”

  1. Colonial Rawshark 1

    There is some dim awareness amongst the power elite that levels of inequality are reaching unsustainable, social order disruption type levels.

    The other factor here of course, is that by hiding more and more information, they ability of the elites to run self serving scams and corrupt activities within our society increases exponentially.

    • Anno1701 1.1

      “There is some dim awareness amongst the power elite that levels of inequality are reaching unsustainable, social order disruption type levels.”

      some of them are more than aware of the pitchforks on the horizon IMO

    • weka 1.2

      “There is some dim awareness amongst the power elite that levels of inequality are reaching unsustainable, social order disruption type levels.”

      And perhaps a more acute awareness that if you promote a society based on scamming power and money and privilege, some people are going to figure out that they too can be part of that take what you want just because you can mentality.

      Although I tend to think that the safety concerns angle is a barely disguised attempt to keep the reality of their riches secret for other reasons.

      • Maui 1.2.1

        “And perhaps a more acute awareness that if you promote a society based on scamming power and money and privilege, some people are going to figure out that they too can be part of that take what you want just because you can mentality.”

        Yeah the large corporates are such great role models for our society eh.. We have them at the top of the private sector and then there’s the government operating in a similar mould. Luckily most small businesses and local organisations have moral accountability. It is a strange dynamic though.

    • Olwyn 1.3

      The financialisation, off-shoring etc, that have made these people so wealthy have also destroyed the mutual dependency between the different social strata. It is no wonder then, that some of those who lost out on the deal have come to see the rich as an alien tribe that they might as well invade. Public morality and a conception of the public good might have been able to curb such notions more convincingly had the wealthy themselves not disdained them in the first place.

  2. tc 2

    The liberal/Nat coalition can pontificate all they want as the senate is beyond their control now that palmers party has imploded and greens/independents hold a block.

    They display a level of shallowness and contempt typified by Abbotts xenophobic, sexist, elitist behaviour and the refugee treatment being dished out by the likes of serco in remote islands.

    Labor are AWOL under shorten as an opposition, compliantly letting Abbott pass data retention and surveillance measures their MSM have only just woken up to.

  3. joe90 4

    Pitchforks!.

    Santa Fe Institute economist: one in four Americans is employed to guard the wealth of the rich.

    http://boingboing.net/2010/02/05/santa-fe-institute-e.html

  4. Rolf 5

    Unfortunately, this is real. Two of my friends got kidnapped, one on Mexico, the other in an Arab country. The both survived. In one cast the company paid a ransomed, in the other a military commando group freed him. Besides, all business must be kept secret, otherwise these is no business and no jobs. To satisfy the information greed of a few communist leaning agitators is a bad exchange for jobs and business.

    • North 5.1

      That comment about information greedy commies seems ‘ralph’ before it’s “Rolf”.

      Even so, with his taste for ”bulk collection” TheGodKey will be put out.

    • Murray Rawshark 5.2

      Rolf Sabin?
      Your imaginary friends got kidnapped in countries where the rich do not pay taxes and society is violent and insecure. Besides, flashing greenbacks in a Ciudad Juarez brothel was a very bad idea.

      • Rolf 5.2.1

        Sounds like you are talking about old New Zealand. Maybe the only reason agriculture is the only industry left is that the soil is too much to ship out. I assure you, it was not funny for the guys. Funny though that these “imaginary” people could drink beer.

        • McFlock 5.2.1.1

          “Old New Zealand”. lol.

          But I thought the nats had cut the crime rate and delivered a brighter future?

          Anyhoo, nice to know that the jealous paranoia of the nouveau riche is alive and well amongst the tory heartland.

          • Rolf 5.2.1.1.1

            I don’t think this is a question of the Nats or not. The entire attitude just has to change in New Zealand. I was in Singapore a few weeks ago. 60 years ago it was an impoverished fishing village living off aid. Look at them today. You snoop around other peoples business, your out or in prison. Look at China, where I am writing this. I just visited the place where the epic film”1942” was made. 3 million people starved to death. Today people live better than kiwis, and last year a man went to prison six months for snooping out private information of just 30 people. Just about everyone who smells success just leave Kiwiland, because the feel they have to. It needs to change.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 5.2.1.1.1.1

              You snoop around other peoples business

              Genuine question: do you mean tax avoidance?

              Or something like industrial espionage?

              Or some other third thing that I didn’t grasp?

              • Rolf

                No – I was not talking about tax or industrial espionage, but about the general peeping tom, who often is a failure, who just want to know all about you so they can harass and moan over it. As I know, you tax affairs are not public, officially, but the system leaks like a sieve of course. New Zealand has one of the world’s highest taxes, and we get very little out of it, aren’t we, maybe the highest real estate and living costs too.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  That depends who “we” are, and what we put into it.

                  • Rolf

                    Who – those who put something into it – what – hard work, long hours, sweat blood and tears, savings and risk.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      And there it is.

                      The moment where “Our Nation My Nation” is revealed to mean “my personal interests”, as expressed by whining about being a law-abiding citizen and paying 39% marginal tax.

                      Oh! The humanity!

                • McFlock

                  New Zealand has one of the world’s highest taxes,

                  wrong, wrong, just plain wrong…

                  • Rolf

                    Is it, 39% marginal tax, 15 % GST, fuel tax, user pay, energy tax, fees, keep adding, you end up with some 50 % to 60 %, but OK, it is not the worst, as in Scandinavia where it is about 80%.

                    • McFlock

                      lol
                      China: top rate 45%, 17% vat/gst on many items, and what are the benefits and pensions like?

                      Your “one of the highest in the world” isn’t even as bad as the land of opportunity you work in.

                    • Rolf []

                      And the first NZD 40,000 equivalent by purchase power income is tax zero, petrol half the price, a good lunch at the corner restaurant NZD 5, a bus ride 35 cents, 100 ml local “whiskey” 80 cents, a new car you can buy from NZD 3,000, pensions are tax free, normal income tax is 8 %, rates are NZD 25 a month, 17% is on a few imported luxury items, and I have never heard of anyone paying the 45 %. Now we got the total picture sorted.

                    • McFlock

                      now we have your blinkered assertions sorted, at any rate.

                      I suppose the Tibetans are all happy, and nothing happened at Tienamen square, too…

                    • Rolf []

                      I am often in Tibet, and they pay no tax at all and people are very happy. I have many friends there. Tibet is reality about 30 different nations with different culture and languages, and self governing is slowly being sorted. Tienanmen was a student uprising as was the communist revolution, the culture revolution, and the entire saga of the civil war between 1912 to 1949. We know what happened at Tienanmen 1989 and it was a chain reaction of stupidity and botch activities from all sides. The recent Hong Kong events was another very classical student uprising but initiated by a foreign government, but they handled that better.

                    • McFlock

                      lol
                      It says nothing to you that someone says “Tibet” and your first answer is “tax system”?

                      Because that right there is a clue for you.

            • McFlock 5.2.1.1.1.2

              Are you terrified of being kidnapped in China, too? Or is that just Maxico and somewhere in the Middle East?

              Because NZ ain’t perfect, but these days the worst an exploiter of the proletariat can reasonably expect in NZ is to be called a dickhead. Unless they start buying p, of course.

              • Rolf

                China is one of the safest countries in the world, personal information is strictly secret, even the police have very strict personal restrictions what they are allowed to do, and as in New Zealand they go unarmed, not even guns in the cars. New Zealand is not perfect, but not the worst either, what is frightening in New Zealand is the development. I am just now reading about a machine gun massacre in Gothenburg, Sweden, exact what you see in 30’s gangster films only that this is real, it happened, and that is a country where even your tax affairs, home address, telephone, work place and relatives and friends are public property.

                • mickysavage

                  Would you rather live in China? Really?

                  • Macro

                    I gather Rolf is from China. The web site to which his name links is based there.
                    This paragraph is interesting – Apparently these people

                    We work on location and we have to follow local laws, regulations and custom. Foreign laws or lack of restrictions do not apply. We are free to report, create, “dig”, unmask and criticise within the local framework, but we don’t “dig dirt”, interfere in personal freedom, violate personal privacy and integrity, we do not spread false information and rumours.

                    • Rolf

                      I was actually born i northern EU, came to NZ as a young man on adventure and staid, and has been living in many countries around the world for my work. I came to China first time in the late 70’s and I have also been living in Japan many years. Too many times we hear from foreign journalists that they want a really juicy dirt story on China, revolutionary secret cells, hidden churches, black prisons, inhuman boot camps, secret resistance cells, pollution, it does not matter if it is true, just make up some false interviews and faked photos, and they will pay. We tell them to F – off.

                  • Rolf

                    I came to China first time in the late 70’s, lived here permanently the last 12 years, and through my citizenships I can freely choose Australia, New Zealand or EU. Huge personal freedom (New Zealand is not bad either), huge place to move around in, an incredible history with many cultures, friendly people, excellent living cost, excellent taxes and public service, but I am not trying to say New Zealand is bad.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      I am not trying to say New Zealand is bad.

                      Just about everyone who smells success just leave Kiwiland, because the feel they have to. It needs to change.

                      You’re right: you aren’t trying to say New Zealand is bad. You’re just taking your dump right out in the open.

                      Which says nothing whatsoever about New Zealand, and a whole bunch about you.

                    • Rolf []

                      What I am trying to say is that there are much better places to go if you want to make something out of your life than New Zealand, and as I heard, 40% of all skilled kiwis has already discovered that. Except the real estate speculators, how many successful people and companies has actually staid in New Zealand. I can’t think of any just now. Maybe someone like to fill in the blanks. What I am also trying to say is that New Zealand can do better, much better, but it has to take the lead from those who are successful, as Singapore. What about flops as Air New Zealand, or disasters as Ansett against Singapore Airlines.

                    • McFlock

                      40% of all skilled NZers?

                      lol
                      Whose propaganda are you listening to?

                    • Rolf []

                      That is the figure that is banded around. What is a fact is that NZ has the proportionally largest expat population in the world, with over one million residing outside the country. Read the E2NZ blog for more details.

                    • McFlock

                      Is your linking hand broken?

                      Anyway, yes, we have an OE culture. This is a good thing. And maybe the mercenaries (who want to profit without contributing to the society that madethem successful) never return to NZ. That is also a good thing, because I live in NZ.

                    • Rolf []

                      It looks more like a flight reflex than an OE culture though, and by the way, Australia is not really an OE. People need to profit before they can be contributing providing more jobs and welfare. The problem is often that they get ripped off and taxed to death before they even get there, and that is why they take off. If you think it is a good thing your model country should be North Korea. I really would love to see NZ develop beyond the BBB culture (BMW-Batch-Boat) which is a sort of glass ceiling. I meet Kiwis overseas who employ hundreds of people, and I have seen kiwis driven offshore taking hundreds of jobs with them.

                    • McFlock

                      “Taxed to death”. Wow, that’s really bad, eh.

                      Must be hell, seeing a country where people are happy living in comfort rather than having thousands of wage-slaves at their beck and call. And where people can see company tax returns. Practically Orwellian. /sarc

                    • Rolf []

                      I am living it. 30 years ago NZ was a happy place, almost everyone had their own home, now they are wage slaves trying to pay of the huge mortgage, or paying the rent to the house investor sharks, and keeping up with the taxes, and hoping they will not get sick as the public health has collapsed. Now the good times are elsewhere. Most kiwis are probably too tired to think about someone elses company tax returns.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Again genuine questions: are you afraid for you and your family? As a result of your ‘wealth’?

                  If so, in what sense is it wealth?

                  • Rolf

                    Afraid, no, because nobody knows, and nobody can find out if I am wealthy or not, so nobody can target me. The “wealth” is a comfortable safe living, safety to walk the streets, freedom to work, a police force loved and unarmed, warm water from the tap, good food, great neighbors, even if a few are real odd-balls, and a treasure trove of history, and a spectacular great nature around the corner.

                    • McFlock

                      lol
                      sounds largely like NZ, although China’s history is bigger.

                    • Rolf []

                      NZ is certainly not bad, but don’t read about what is happening in EU, it will make you afraid of the dark. They think now that China’s history is some 20,000 years old, and all of it is certainly not peaceful.

                • McFlock

                  lol
                  and yet the murder rate in China is bigger than in NZ is bigger than Sweden.

                  I guess it’s all perspective…

                  • Rolf

                    You have to stop reading US propaganda sites, but China do have an AOS just like New Zealand. I just have to step outside the door the check, and I travel a lot. Police in Hong Kong and Taiwan carry guns though. It is quite possible that police in big city trouble spots will carry guns, but that are rare exceptions on a national scale.

                    • Grant

                      AOS my arse. If things get a bit heavy they have these guys to call on:

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People%27s_Armed_Police

                    • Rolf []

                      Made me actually laugh. It is the military or PLA (army) who has green uniforms. The China AOS units has the same uniform as the kiwi AOS, and they are weapon trained. The guy on the picture is second rank officer cadet under training. At graduation he will be the first and lowest ranked officer. The photo is taken outside the Forbidden City in Beijing, and the guys parade unarmed. It is a guard of honor just like at Buckingham Palace. There is a sub division of the PLA similar to the US National Guard and those people can be deployed at riots and terrorist attacks. For instance, the US National Guard is a paramilitary division of the army and also deployed at riots or uprisings or just for security. I don’t think NZ has something similar. Some of these myths and conspiracy theories are often right out amusing.

                    • Grant

                      You didn’t read the linked article did you? The PAP (People’s Armed Police) Were originally part of the Army responsible for internal security (and therefore share similar uniform and rank insignia) but were separated out and given an internal policing function including riot control and traffic policing. You seem to not know quite as much as you think you do.

                    • Rolf []

                      I did read it, it describes a division of the army, and has nothing to do with the police or the police AOS. It is the equivalent of the US national Guard. but I don’t think NZ has anything equivalent. Besides, these articles are just part of the American propaganda flow, and some brainless people actually believe them.

                    • Grant

                      Rolf@23/3/12.54.
                      You clearly didn’t read it nearly well enough because it clearly states: “The PAP’s primary mission is internal security. The first law on the People’s Armed Police, the Law on the People’s Armed Police Force (PAPF), was passed in August 2009, giving it statutory authority to respond to riots, terrorist attacks or other emergencies. Such units guard government buildings at all levels (including party and state organisations, foreign embassies and consulates), provide personal protection to senior government officials, provide security functions to public corporations and major public events. Some units perform guard duty in civilian prisons and provide executioners for the state. The PAP also maintains tactical counter-terrorism (CT) units in the Immediate Action Unit (IAU), Snow Wolf Commando Unit (SWCU) and various Special Police Units (SPU).”

                      And also:

                      “The PAP has a dual command structure including the Central Military Commission (CMC) and the State Council through the Ministry of Public Security. By law however, the PAP is NOT PART of the PLA.”

                      The PAP also provides “Secial Police Units” which “are SWAT units of the Chinese People’s Armed Police at the provincial and municipal level. There is at least one of such unit in each Chinese province to offer their services when requested by the local police, or other law enforcement agencies such as the customs service and the regular police.”

                      In other words, they are the iron fist within the velvet glove.

                      Rather than glibly mouthing off about how the fully cited WIkipedia article is a propaganda vehicle for America, what say you do what has been asked of you before and provide your own links with verifiable citations which prove Wikipedia to be wrong?

                    • Rolf []

                      That is nearly an exact copy of the US National Guard, and true, the purpose of entire PLA is national security, that means defense. It is not designed or equipped to raid foreign countries, or oppress its citizens, like some other military forces. Maybe you should come to China and take look for yourself, instead of reading sloppy US translations. I just wish I had time to help all victims of US propaganda, but I don’t. Remember, I don’t have to read anything, I meet these people and I can ask and see for myself.

            • Ergo Robertina 5.2.1.1.1.3

              ‘You snoop around other peoples business, your out or in prison…’

              Greater transparency is linked with better performance of companies and organisations, and thus that of countries Rolf; there’s research on that point.
              That your model for New Zealand is an authoritarian state shows you’re pretty disconnected from what constitutes a decent life.

              • Rolf

                Not only research, but reality. Yes – if I put something into a company, I want to know, I want transparency, but I don’t want the moaner who put in nothing to know. I agree.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 5.2.1.2

          I expect they’ll find it “funny” that you decided to share their stories to score a political point, Rolf. I’m laughing very not indeed.

          • Rolf 5.2.1.2.1

            I am not in politics, never will be, but I am trying to make a point. Few things are so hated in this world as “peeping toms”, snoopers. The victim simply leaves if there is no other alternative. Take a look at the New Zealand trade balance.

            • Macro 5.2.1.2.1.1

              Yet that is your job.
              Incidentally this is not “peeping tom” to require – as is currently the case – the full disclosure of income and tax for all people
              This is how a civilised society exists and ensures that all play their full part. Even the Queen of England discloses her income and tax paid!

              • Rolf

                What they do in England I don’t know. Last time I was there was 1975. It is not the public snoopers that is to supervise tax compliance, that is the Soviet communist system, and I don’t ever want to live under it again. As far as I know, even New Zealand has tax confidentiality.

            • Macro 5.2.1.2.1.2

              The trade balance has nothing to do with whether or not people disclose their earnings – it has everything to do with whether or not countries impose import restrictions whereas NZ innocently and naively imposes none.
              Free trade is not necessarily Fair Trade.

              • Macro

                The Trade imbalance also has a great deal to do with the fact that NZers have been increasingly encouraged to live beyond their means by banks lending increasing amounts of money on houses. Private debt in this country is huge.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  sounds like you are talking about the “current account deficit” of which the trade deficit forms a part. The banks are pulling about $5B a year in profits out of NZ.

                • Rolf

                  Absolutely agree. The “wise men” beancounters talk about inflation, but when the inflation i house prices are 30% or more, they say nothing, just lower the interest rates to get more inflation. Somewhere it will crash.

              • Rolf

                The trade balance is a good barometer over how many productive people stay or leave, the exporters, and to have your private affairs snooped on is a good reason to pack up and leave, and dump the jobs. I agree that free trade is not fair trade. Just look at the massive US import restrictions and trade barriers.

  5. infused 6

    heh, that’s so silly it’s quite funny.

  6. les 7

    you really should watch who you associate with…after all…misery loves company.

  7. Cantabrian 8

    Utter tripe Rolf. New Zealand is nowhere near the world’s highest taxed country. Try Denmark for that.
    Who taught you how to spell btw?

    • Rolf 8.1

      I can agree, in part, Denmark has about 80% effective tax, New Zealand 50 % to 60 %, so far below. To be successful, look at Singapore, or Hong Kong – first NZD 40,000 – no tax, on average 7%.

      • McFlock 8.1.1

        So to be successful, we need to tax the poor nothing and tax the employer at 11-36%, plus a corporate tax and an income tax?

        And that your initial “one of the world’s highest taxes” was bullshit.

        • Rolf 8.1.1.1

          The problem with that is that too many want to be poor, and nobody want to employ people with that tax. Maybe we are already there. Hong Kong government still get so much money they can’t spend it, so they are distributing it to everyone living there, tax free. Taxes is a cancer on a society. You want to pay more to Len Browns secret rooms, feel free.

          • McFlock 8.1.1.1.1

            🙄
            isn’t it amazing how many more people want to be poor when the nats are in government.

            Personally, I’d prefer it is we all paid a little more tax and the paranoid, blinkered delusionals who never provide a source for their assertions (some of which even they agree are bullshit just a few hours later) fucked off to other corners of the globe.

            • Rolf 8.1.1.1.1.1

              I agree with that. What we need is to stop this being used as a political football and we need some certainty and stability. If you want to be poor, fine, but you should not be able to live a good life on others work, just have a decent poor life if you choose to. On the other hand, people must have the opportunity to lift themselves up to the level where they like to be, and that is difficult today. I don’t believe in taxing people and a country into prosperity. Tax is a cancer.

              • McFlock

                🙄

                Tax is simply the redistribution of resources.

                Idiocy and self-absorption is a cancer.

                • Rolf

                  Absolutely right, it get redistributed to the politicians and bureaucrats so they can spend it to buy more votes.

                  • McFlock

                    Your mindless repitition of rote-learned catechism is evidence that capitalism is not a meritocracy.

  8. Rolf 9

    I agree. That is why it is so important to make sure that those who put something into it, get something out of it, and the reward is not pilfered by someone else.

    • McFlock 9.1

      Says the dude seeking success in a nominally commun1st country

      • Rolf 9.1.1

        China started to abandon the communism 1976, and this has largely been successful. Just look at Jack Ma (Alibaba). One of the richest men in the world. I have enough now he say, now I will spend my money training other how to make money, and he ism putting his money where his mouth is.

        • McFlock 9.1.1.1

          And what proportion of the populace, urban and rural, have running water?

          • Rolf 9.1.1.1.1

            In the urban areas, 100 %. The rural areas are more like NZ rural areas. China is a very mountainous country, and I have often seen they diverting water from a mountain stream right into the house. No taps. Some places collect rain water as in NZ, and some use wells. Solar heaters and solar panels are almost standard in the rural areas.

            • McFlock 9.1.1.1.1.1

              again, failure to link.

              • Rolf

                Link – to what. I just went to the kitchen to boil and egg, and take my word for it, the water tap was still there and worked. What do you want to be linked to, my kitchen sink??? Mind you, I haven’t knocked door at the other some 3,500 homes in the town to check their water taps, but I think I can safely assume they are there.

                • McFlock

                  Something other than your personal anecdotes might be nice.

                  World water programme data, chinese government data, wikipedia data, NGO data, basically any indication that you don’t believe that what you see within a hundred yards or so of your meatsack is the sum total of the human experience on this planet.

                  • Rolf

                    If you can find some statistics I would also like to know, Not anecdotes but personal observation the last 15 years or so with travel from Harbin to Hainan and Xiamen to Tibet. If you want to know, come and check for yourself. What about statistics for NZ, I have never seen any, but it may exist. Not just a few hundred yards is it. Do some work yourself.

                    • McFlock

                      Not anecdotes but personal observation

                      [headdesk]
                      You’re an idiot.

                      Anyway, for a starter:
                      China
                      NZ

                    • Rolf []

                      And who is running the World Bank for a starter. What value does that give the information. Most of China is mountainous, and there is plenty of water, but on occasions and in small area there may not be the case and water has to be rationed. Same in NZ if if does not rain and the tank goes dry. It has happened to me at many occasions. China also has zillions of streams and rivers, and by number they are clean. Idiot – coming from you it mas be regarded as a compliment. As I said, come and find out for yourself.

                    • McFlock

                      So it’s not true, but you provide excuses for it being true?

                      And only the fiendish US front-organisations bother to collect that data, you are incapable of providing a link to any reputable source yourself?

                      I repeat: the only evidence you have pointed out or appealed to is that which you have directly chosen to see with your own eyes. International data on crime rates, water supplies, sanitation supplies and examples of ostentatious spending by Chinese billionaires are all fiendish western conspiracies and/or exceptions to a rule that you have no evidence to support.

                      Unless you have travelled every inch of China and documented their water supplies with each step, your anecdata is worthless.

                    • Rolf []

                      No – went to look myself and find out myself, and discovered all the lies and deceit.

                    • McFlock

                      and you still can’t link to it for the rest of us.
                      🙄

                    • Rolf []

                      Link to what. This is not from some silly web page, it is personal observation on location over many years. If you can come up with a way to link to my brain and eyes, let me know. In the meantime you and the “rest of us” just have to live with live reporting. I just don’t know about any other “linking”.

                    • McFlock

                      oh, in a several-thousand-year-old bureaucracy, there’s always someone who counts whatever it may be and publishes it. It’s the bureaucratic parallel to rule 34.

                    • Rolf []

                      Of course there are plenty of bureaucrats who counts and publish, we got a few examples in this thread, especially those who aim to deceive and mislead, and brainwash. Ever heard of “lies, damn lies, and statistics”, that is why I trust my own eyes more than statistics published on the web.

                    • McFlock

                      And that’s why you can travel the world and still not see anything outside of your own preconceptions.

                    • Rolf []

                      And you would know of course. Just like that guy who who stated he had extensive international experience, he had been to Sydney twice.

                    • McFlock

                      which guy was that?
                      Another anecdote that conveniently happens to fit an argument that literally no evidence on the planet (other than your personal opinion) supports? Amazing…

                    • Rolf []

                      You’re repeating yourself, the circular arguments getting a bit boring.

                    • McFlock

                      ok, just for the last time: we should take your word about your personal experience re:water supply thoughout China and throughout NZ, as well as your personal experience of the CVs of taxi drivers in cities across the planet, as the truth. And that you are more correct than literally every other source of information on the planet?

                      Yeah, fuck off.

                      You don’t trust openly-published data sources? I don’t trust any jerk on the interwebz who thinks he’s right and everyone else is wrong. I’ll take WHO reports over an internet know-it-all who thinks he can read the matrix.

                    • Rolf []

                      You don’t have to take anything for it, but I suggest you start getting a bit of experience and knowledge on your own. Go an take a look yourself. Your only remain statement says it all “F-off”.

                    • McFlock

                      trouble with that idea is that the next thing you’ll say is “no, this region” or “oh, that city’s much safer”. Again, with nothing to base it on than the eyes of someone who sticks to the best parts of town.

                    • Rolf []

                      Again, you don’t like it, go and find out yourself. I hardly ever stay in “the best part of town”. I really like the old parts.

                    • McFlock

                      it’s not a case of “like”.
                      I just don’t believe a word of it, and you have nothing to support your position.

                    • Rolf []

                      Just feel free to “don’t believe it” then. I have hundreds of thousands of photos and numerous articles written over the years, but I just can’t bring them to you here, I don’t have time. Sorry, not in English, but maybe you can enjoy the photos, http://www.kinarummet.v2hd.com/hani.htm about the self governing Hani nation in China on the border to Burma, they appoint their own leaders since nearly 1,000 years back and is known as the “master sculptors of the mountains” – you can see why, Have fun.

                    • McFlock

                      lol you have time enough to repeat tired cliches, just not enough time to provide evidence for them.
                      🙄

      • The lost sheep 9.1.2

        Annual growth since market reform in 1978 9.3%.
        Currently 220 Billionaires, 2,370,000 Millionaires, and an average income of $US5,000 per year. GINI co-efficient 1978 0.16, 2012 0.474

        Nominal is the word McFlock. But some people here still think China is a Socialist success story!

        • Rolf 9.1.2.1

          China is a success because they started to abandon socialism 35 years ago.

        • McFlock 9.1.2.2

          and you can’t link for shit, either.

          • Rolf 9.1.2.2.1

            China is certainly no communist country, but it is not a capitalist country either. I has really gone its own way and done its own thing. The billionaires and millionaires don’t build palaces and jet around in private planes as the Americans do, the more tend to live in 100 Sq m apartments with three bedrooms like everyone else.

          • sirpat 9.1.2.2.2

            you know if you and Rolf put as much effort into society in the real world as you both do here mouthing off you might improve the world…..both of you get a feckin life.

            • McFlock 9.1.2.2.2.1

              Well, we can all always do more.
              But so far I can still look at myself in the mirror each morning.

            • Rolf 9.1.2.2.2.2

              I am actually trying to do just that, but it feels a bit difficult when you have trolls that in every possible way just browse the net, grab any information, and then demand “proof beyond reasonable doubt” that just what they found is correct and everything else is wrong. These people hardly leave the couch in their living room, after all I am on location just trying to convey what is around me and what it is really like. Never mind, you are probably right, I should not feed the trolls.

              • McFlock

                I’m not the one who turns up to a left-wing blog and complains about being “taxed to death”.

                But yeah, if someone makes hyperbolic claims with nothing but anecdata in support, there’s a very reasonable doubt as to their reliability.

    • Macro 9.2

      We know full well that the most pilfering is done by the very wealthy (Apple paid 1% income tax last year to NZ! – bastards! That is pilfering on a massive scale) – that is how they become rich in the first place. So having full disclose of income and tax ensures they don’t pilfer anymore.

      • Rolf 9.2.1

        1% income tax, so let us look at the P&L and the balance sheet. How many dollars was it, and what did they cost New Zealand, and how much tax did all those who got a job pay in tax. 1% almost looks like a charity donation.

          • Rolf 9.2.1.1.1

            Yes, and how much tax was channeled through to the society by the income tax all the employees paid. Lets ask Apple to withdraw from NZ, kiwis can easily order their stuff via the web, and then let us put all those unemployed Apple employees on benefits instead. Doesn’t it sound like a real good old fashion kiwi scheme.

          • Rolf 9.2.1.1.2

            OK, at a second thought, lets implement a tax they cannot escape. Lets charge every tablet, smartphone and computer a $10 tax or fee at passing the border. They can’t get away from that. What will happen, of course, the price to you goes up $10, corporations pay no tax, it is a cost they pass on to you. The right way is to become another Ireland, let those corporation channel everything through NZ and pay tax here for their world wide operation. Kiwi politicians are just to thick to think of it or figure it out.

            • McFlock 9.2.1.1.2.1

              So the cost of supply perfectly determines the equilibrium sale price?

              I think you missed a class there.

              Not to mention the fact that Ireland recently received a massive bailout from the EU.

              • Rolf

                The cost does determine the price, you take the total cost, add the profit you think you can get away with, and you got the sales price, the cost get up $10, the price goes up $10 + $2 to make sure. If you don’t like it, move to communist North Korea. They do it your way.

                • McFlock

                  Do you even know what an equilibrium price is? You know, what I mentioned, not what your avaricious little blinkers thought I wrote.

                  It’s basic economics, after all.

                  See, you might want to sell something for x+$12, but that doesn’t mean anyone will buy it.

                  • Rolf

                    “Not anyone will buy it”, well I guess you are right there, only the ones with not enough brainpower to be sucked in by the hype will buy it. equilibrium works fine when it is about commodities and when hype and politics do not interfere, but that is not the case here. You slap extra costs on all products, and all of them will slap it on the customer, as GST.

                    • McFlock

                      Well, today is Otago Anniversary day: penal rates for employees. Many cafes are shut. Some are open, but with a holiday surcharge. Others are open, no surcharge, and simply weather the increased labour costs for the day.

                      Guess which ones are busiest?

                      Equilibrium in action.

                    • Rolf []

                      True, commodity equilibrium in action, but no Apple hype, so it works.

                    • McFlock

                      So your argument is that capitalism fails when marketing becomes involved? A profoun observation, given that marketing is the fan that allows capitalism to breathe…

                    • Rolf []

                      I would rather say that hype marketing is one element of capitalism. Just take a look at the politicians “marketing” of their need for money, or the “marketing” of the “Key Club”, not “mass surveillance” but “bulk collection” not “torture” but “reinforced interrogation”.

                    • McFlock

                      But hype marketing is a product of people needing to sell their wares, i.e. capitalism.

                      Competitive edges are maintained by improved audience reach and identification with the brand that guarantees certain aspects of the product or service. Without marketing there is no transmission of information to potential consumers.

                    • Rolf []

                      What you are saying is really what marketing should be, transmission of information. Unfortunately too much have turned into snake oil sales. Yes – and that is an integral part of capitalism.

                    • McFlock

                      so capitalism is doomed to fail, because its production of hype marketing distorts the marketplace to make rational transactions a minority if not impossible?

                      Interesting thought.

                    • Rolf []

                      I don’t think that is the whole problem, US is broke, EU is broke, Japan is broke, still they spending like the fire was loose. I do think though that many of these scams are contributing.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Those countries are not “broke.” The parasitic financial sector and big banks which have all grown too big and fat are, however.

                    • Rolf []

                      Call it destitute then, both Japan and the USA has borrowed more money than the whole nation can produce in a year, and japan is spending some 40 of income just to pay interest, and they continue to spend.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Nah. Those nations you refer to are currency sovereigns; they can’t go broke. Almost all the money that they have “borrowed”, they have done so in their own currency which they print. So there is never any problem of paying back a loan on time and they will never be subject to bond vigilantes.

                      It’s like you borrowing money on your credit card, but you have a printer in your basement which issues $100 notes. You’re never going to have any difficulty paying your credit card on time, in full.

                      Also, they are not “destitute”, the top 10% of those nations together control hundreds of trillions of dollars of financial assets.

                    • Rolf []

                      Maybe bad choice of words. It is the cash flow that make someone go broke. They also have trillions in debt, and the assets can often not be realized and sold. Nations as US and EU are borrowing to pay the daily expenses today, and they don’t stop, and nations have actually gone broke many times through history,

  9. McFlock 10

    It is worth contemplating that the rich (and those who confuse riches with success) are just as much victims of the alienation caused by capitalism as the poor.

    They might live in physical comfort, but many of them end up in a sort of Gollumesque state of paranoid jealousy, grasping onto their precious and constantly terrified that their fellow human beings will snatch it from them.

    And the thought of a happy society where people are content with a “beemer, boat and batch” (frankly, that’s a bit much, really) fills them with revulsion.

    Rolf might be our little case study of a Gollum, with an abject refusal to acknowledge facts beyond his own immediate (blinkered) perception, but he’s not alone. He sort of illustrates how we create people like Reinhart or the Kochs.

    • Rolf 10.1

      The flight by the capable from NZ and the BBB culture is unfortunately a fact. I may also be an example. I started a company once, and it was a nightmare. I closed it, and refused to take any job with too much pay. It was much better to be Mr 9-5 average, or a little below that, and play with your hobbies than try to make it when you only feed the tax man and are chased by the bureaucrats and always running the risk of someone spots your money and user the gun or lawyer to get it off you. I never had any BMW or Batch.

      • McFlock 10.1.1

        wel well, you’re just a little bubble of fear, aintcha?

      • Psycho Milt 10.1.2

        The flight by the capable from NZ and the BBB culture is unfortunately a fact. I may also be an example.

        You seem to be mainly an example of someone with a collection of cliches to peddle and no ability to back up your claims with evidence. My workplace in NZ is full of people who are genuinely capable, many of whom have come here from other countries.

        • Rolf 10.1.2.1

          I didn’t say the entire population had fled, just the most capable.

          • McFlock 10.1.2.1.1

            🙄
            And you.

            • Rolf 10.1.2.1.1.1

              I am still running, but of fear. 🙂

              Actually, I tried hard, not a chance on a job, not a chance on getting anything to do to make money, so I ran away. I didn’t make the final choice.

              • McFlock

                Might be NZ. Might just be you.

                • Rolf

                  You may just be right, I don’t fit in, and people flee North Korea, Nazi Germany, Pinochet, IdiAmin, Stalin, etc. I don’t say NZ is as bad, but it is no longer Godzone. It used to be a brilliant country though.

                  • McFlock

                    for fucks sake

                    Emigrating from NZ does not deserve to be in the same paragraph, let alone sentence, as fleeing any of those places. NZ has dicks in charge, but it’s still a fucking awesome place with innovative and adaptable people.

                    • Rolf

                      Kiwis has still not invented anything to get rid of the” dicks in charge” though. They even recently voted them into office. I don’t think there even is a way to impeach and remove “the dicks” from office, and yes I agree otherwise about being innovative, the best seems to pack and leave. That’s being innovative.

                    • McFlock

                      Oh, if they commit a crime punishable by more than 2 years, they go.

                      But you know the thing about democracy – it’s the worst form of government, apart from all the alternatives.

                      You’d be amazed at the quality of people who stay. If you take your blinkers off. Hell, even in little old Dunedin we have some world leaders in various industries and fields – and they pay their taxes.

                    • Rolf []

                      It has been a saga for many years. Is it still so that Wellington has the most and highest qualified taxi drivers in the world. Most of them used to be doctors or engineers. I like democracy, but in NZ it more seems to elect a dictator every three years, and then have no say. It would be much better if we can vote and decide on the issues instead of just the ideology.

                    • McFlock

                      you’re just full of the bullshit cliches…

                    • Rolf []

                      More like personal experiences and personal observations and others experiences, some of them bitter and disturbing. If you run out of arguments, go and take a look for yourself what the world is like outside that little duckpond called NZ. NZ is not all bad, but it certainly count as retarded, bloated, a narcissus of the South Pacific and the Nigeria of the South pacific.

                    • McFlock

                      No, no, I’m sure that you’ve done a complete survey of the world’s water supply as well as examined the work histories of every taxi driver and every city in the world, just so your off-the-cuff cliches that were tired when richard prebble rolled the out will be completely accurate. /sarc

              • Actually, I tried hard, not a chance on a job, not a chance on getting anything to do to make money, so I ran away.

                I’ve twice followed my wife to a foreign country, in both of which my ability to speak a foreign language but not the native one, and my qualifications that weren’t recognised there, were not eagerly sought after by the locals. This does not indicate any problem with the countries involved.

                • Rolf

                  I can get through in several languages, including some funny languages as Japanese, have lived in several countries, and I do translations from written Chinese, and got two native languages, can do simul interpretations two ways, and my skills in other areas has always been accepted, except in just NZ. Another example, I once met an Iraqi doctor in NZ. He was once one of the top surgeons in Iraq, but in NZ it took years to get to practice, and he still ended up as a junior doctor on the bottom rung. I have some real nasty stories about the NZ healthcare, and justice system. I plan to publish them.

                  • Grant

                    I trust you will employ a professional editor as your English usage is abysmal.

                    • Rolf

                      When you write here it goes straight from the thought into the computer, and it becomes like spoken language, but – yes – it is a bit of a mess to be able to use more than one language. Sometimes you don’t even notice which one you use, until someone around you wonders what the hell you are on about. My computer has six languages installed, including Japanese and modern and traditional Chinese (Traditional Chinese is used in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Older people in mainland China also still use it.)

  10. whateva next? 11

    Kidnapping is an industry in Brazil, where rich and poor live in close proximity. As Robert Reich points out in his film, “Inequality for all”, we need to support the middle class, not annihilate them.

    • Rolf 11.1

      Not only in Brazil unfortunately. Just take a look at how politicians in the US has gone after anyone they can reach worldwide for their money, and the fat cats in OECD has done the same. Governments are the only kind of business with unbridled powers that can decide how much the customer is to pay, and just go and take the money at will.

  11. reason 12

    Rolf ….. I don’t mean to Harris you but governments are not a business ……

    And everything you said after that inaccuracy was just as accurate…… I hope thats as clear as British Paints.

    Aside from good ol Rolf the title of this thread gave me a laugh as well…….

    Since when did the rich start referring to taxes as kidnap threats ????

    • Rolf 12.1

      What they are saying is that if you publish our private affairs, you also tell the bad guys where to go and what to point the gun at.

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