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Photo of the Day

John Paul Getty (1892 - 1976) American oil executive, multi-millionaire and art collector, with Zsa Zsa Gabor, exotic international Hungarian leading lady. May 16, 1972. Photo Getty Images.

John Paul Getty (1892 – 1976) American oil executive, multi-millionaire and art collector, with Zsa Zsa Gabor, exotic international Hungarian leading lady. May 16, 1972. Photo Getty Images.

The Getty Family

A Cautionary Tale of Oil, Adultery, and Death

Billions, Affairs, Severed Ears, Drug Overdoses, And Oil

The story of the famed Getty family is one of the most obvious examples that money, and cold hard cash, doesn’t buy you happiness.

“The Getty Curse,” as it is known, has stoked the public imagination for almost as long as the Gettys themselves have been striking oil.

The legend begins with J. Paul Getty, considered alongside Howard Hughes as the first modern billionaire. Getty’s business acumen—he not only scored a six-decade concession on an oil field outside of Kuwait in 1949 for less than $10 million, he learned Arabic to help seal the deal— was matched only by his cluelessness as a family man.

A notorious philanderer who was married five times, by the time J. Paul Getty, died in 1976 at 83, his legacy as a financial titan and benefactor of the arts was secure. But as so happens in industrial dynasties, his story grew strange near the end — and black sheep began to crowd the family tree.

He had lost his youngest son, Timmy, when he died of a brain tumor at age 12 (Getty failed to attend the funeral) and his eldest son and seeming heir apparent, George, under mysterious circumstances.

According to a story Claus Von Bulow once told, “He fell twice on a barbecue fork.”

Around the same time of George’s death, in 1973, came the famous kidnapping of J. Paul Getty III, the elder Getty’s grandson, in Rome by Italian gangsters.

Andrew’s father, Gordon, seemed to have bypassed the family’s tragic storyline.

Artistic and intelligent, he studied classical music composition at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and became a composer and philanthropist, raising four sons in the Bay Area with wife Ann.

The Getty family –once known for its oil riches and J. Paul Getty’s passionate appetite for art — seems to makes its way into the public sphere about once a decade, generally for some tragic occurrence. Like Forrest Gump, J. Paul Getty’s rise to become the world’s richest man was really a tale of two extremes: one of unbridled capitalism leading to a multi-billion dollar international oil empire; the other, decades of family indifference that destroyed the lives of some of the wealthiest individuals in the world.

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Because nagging

Apparently we are all a bit afraid of telling the better half about poor investment decisions or losing money.

The article comes up with some reasons but they all mis the real reason we are a bit squeamish about fessing up.

When former Oasis front-man Noel Gallagher lost millions of dollars trying to set up his solo music career it took him a whole year to tell his wife.

Most of us don’t have that kind of money to lose or spend but the angst of telling the other half can be just as difficult. Clinical psychologist and senior lecturer at AUT University, Mark Thorpe, says there is no cook-book recipe as to why some people lie or try to hide their spending because it comes down to what money means to that person and what it represents in the relationship. “It’s a very loaded thing.” Thorpe said many people had a strong connection between love and money. But for others it also represented care, security, safety or dependence.

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Almost as good as his cat killing policy

Here I was thinking the other day that I don’t agree with Gareth Morgan on anything much at all, except for his cat killing policy.

But I have found another thing to agree with him on.

Flat Tax.

Now that is almost as good as his cat killing policy…it could be improved by providing additional tax rebates for cat killing professionals.

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We all like money, but do you like this better? [UPDATED]

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Real money, how long will we still have it?

Credit: Shaun Yeo / via Stuff

Credit: Shaun Yeo / via Stuff

The custom is to never put a living person on a bank note, because they may still do something to embarrass everyone.  Liz excepted, of course.

Wasn’t Sir Edmond Hillary the other exception?  It seems our notes are due an upgrade for security reasons, but I would actually quite like the one above.  Ditch Liz for Lorde.     Read more »

Internet Party CEO looking for a job. Why? [POLL]

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This is extremely odd to say the least.  I would have at least managed that so it didn’t happen until after the election.   What do you think is happening here?   Read more »

The ultimate example of the perils of dealing with second tier financiers

No matter how well heeled one is, there can often be a time when a second tier financier is required to bridge the funding gaps the normal trading banks won’t.

Our main banks are conservative with a capital C but in a twisted manner. They take enormous risks funding home owners into mortgages that at times are greater than 95%. But when it comes to property development they will generally only fund upto 70% of the total costs and they expect to be the last cab off the rank but first ranking – reducing their risk exposure to almost nothing.

Developers often undertake huge projects. Hardly any developer will sit on millions just to plug into a development when logic persuades them to invest their equity.

That ultimately leaves the necessity of dealing with second ranking funders. The types of which existed in spades before the GFC when most in our country were wiped out.

Most second ranking finance companies are scoundrels and owned by private individuals. Half the time the Modus Operandi is to screw the developer and the financiers look for any opportunity to pull the rug on unsuspecting developers.

Hardly a surprise to see this developer have the embarrassment of  having a trick played by a financier in the public domain. What is most interesting in this instance is that the developer has settled the matter which clearly signals he had no issues with finance and more clearly signals that the financier was the issue.

Tony Gapes is set to take back control of New Zealand’s most intensive affordable housing project after receivers last night confirmed the property developer has settled a company debt.

Some 420 apartments and townhouses are planned for the Springpark estate on a 10.5ha site in Auckland’s Mt Wellington. The first stage is expected to be completed next year.

Springpark is seen as an affordable homes project, with townhouses in stage one priced from $399,000 to $554,000. Most have already sold.   Read more »

Why the ‘Big Tool’ won’t work

Rob Hosking explains the logic fail in David Parker’s ‘big tool’.

It’s an interesting idea. One of its origins seems to be the Australian example: its compulsory savings scheme was introduced largely because the then Labor government of Bob Hawke wanted to provide pay increases for employees but, at a time of high inflation, did not want to do so in any way that would further boost inflationary pressure.

In the form of the VSR, it would enable the Reserve Bank to not only manage inflation without hiking interest rates, it would also – and Mr Parker’s speech spent much time on this – therefore lead to a lower exchange rate.

This is where the very large evidential leap of the policy occurs.

The  entire policy rests on the assumption a lower interest rate will also lead to a lower exchange rate. This is by no means a given: interest rates have been at their lowest rate for much of the period since 2008 and yet New Zealand’s exchange rate has been at historic highs for much of that period.

There is, in short, nothing to suggest the policy will have the effect which is being promised.The second issue is more political.   Read more »

Cunliffe’s economic illiteracy exposed

in-your-money

Jamie Whyte exposes Labour’s and David Cunliffe’s economic illiteracy.

David Cunliffe today gave a speech to the New Zealand Initiative, an economics think tank. The talk outlines the Labour Party’s economic policy. It displays so much economic confusion that it will take several posts to get through it all. Today I want to identify a fundamental conflict between Labour’s economic goal and its proposed monetary policy.

Mr Cunliffe begins his speech by saying that New Zealand businesses produce too much low value stuff. Labour wants to “support New Zealand business in the journey from volume to value”. He then claimed that “the biggest obstacle to our exporting businesses is the consistently over-valued and volatile exchange rate. Labour has long signalled it will review monetary policy to ensure our dollar is more fairly valued to help business and lower our external balance”.

A devalued dollar helps exporters sell more overseas by reducing the price foreigners pay for our goods. For example, if the NZ dollar fell from US$0.85 US$ 0.70, what an American pays for a NZ$1,000 widget would fall from US$850 to US$700. So Americans would buy more of those NZ made widgets. But, of course, the value of those widget sales would have fallen. The reduced exchange rate increases the volume of what we sell overseas by decreasing its value – the exact opposite of Mr Cunliffe’s goal.

Such confusion would be funny, if only there weren’t a chance, however small, that these people will get a chance to act on their ideas.  Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Vic Hislop

Vic Hislop

VIC HISLOP’S SHARKS HAVE BEEN SLAUGHTERED ON THE BEACH FOR CAT FOOD AND SHOWN IN THE TATE MODERN Read more »