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Is Thomas Piketty Right About Vast Hidden Old Money?
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Here’s an interesting NY Times Magazine article by Russell Shorto about a Dutch art dealer named Jan Six who recently purchased two paintings that he claims are overlooked authentic Rembrandts, rather than lesser “circle of Rembrandt” works as they previously had been considered. One is of a Garth Algar-like “Portrait of a Young Gentleman.”

The experts seem to feel that there is a >50% chance this really is by Rembrandt, although it sort of looks to me like the kind of image a recent forger might paint, like how the famous Vermeer forger who duped Goring during the Nazi Occupation created 1940s-ish paintings that people in the 1940s thought were exactly what Vermeer would have painted, but which look silly today.

The first twist in the story:

Jan Six is a tall, slim, almost apologetically dapper man, whose customary expression contains a hint of someone carrying a burden. The burden turns out to be his name, which is actually Jan Six XI. Dating back four centuries, his aristocratic family has named a firstborn son Jan in nearly every generation. The first Jan Six … was actually a friend of the great Rembrandt van Rijn. When he decided, sometime in the 1650s, to have his portrait painted, he asked Rembrandt to do the honors. The result is one of the master’s most admired works, a wondrously brooding study of self-aware, middle-aged sophistication, done in the hallmark rough brush strokes of the later Rembrandt. The historian Simon Schama has called it “the greatest portrait of the 17th century.” … which currently holds an insurance valuation of more than $400 million …

Rembrandt did this unfinished portrait in his masterfully sketchy late style.

As the Six Collection passed down from one generation to the next, it grew to include works by Vermeer, Bruegel, Hals and Rubens, as well as the odd Titian and Tintoretto. Along the way, a pirate’s horde of lesser but still historically significant artifacts became attached to it: furniture, gems, medals, manuscripts, closetsful of silver, Venetian glassware, ivory-handled toothbrushes, a diamond ring given to a family member by Czar Alexander I. … The collection now holds no fewer than 270 portraits of family members.

As the centuries rolled on and other great European family art holdings were broken up and museums became the principal repositories for such things, the Six Collection, which remains in the Six family home, grew in mystique. By tradition, each generation’s Jan Six becomes the caretaker of the collection and the occupant of the house, for the last century a rambling, 56-room mansion on the Amstel River in the heart of Amsterdam. But Jan XI, the art dealer, is not that Jan, not yet anyway. His father, Jan X — or, as he prefers to be called, Baron J. Six van Hillegom — still reigns. …

The Six family might be a good example of French economist Thomas Piketty’s theory that there is far more semi-hidden Old Money than is reported in Forbes magazine lists of rich people, which Piketty argues are biased toward entrepreneurs. I don’t see the Sixes listed by Forbes as billionaires, but just Rembrandt’s portrait of Jan Six alone gets them 40% of the way there.

On the other hand, Jan Six X doesn’t exactly own the mansion he lives in with the $400 million Rembrandt portrait of his ancestor on the wall:

The elder Six may be known for his contentiousness, but regarding his most public battle, a multiyear lawsuit against the Dutch government for failing to live up to an agreement to pay for maintenance of the house, some people say he had a point. “A left-wing politician thought it was ridiculous to give money to a family that’s rich, and so he stopped the subsidy,” said Frits Duparc, former director of the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague, who served as mediator in the dispute. “But the fact is, the family isn’t so rich because the art was long ago put into a foundation.” The foundation was created in part to keep the art together, and thus in the country. In the past the family had been forced to sell Vermeers and other national treasures in order to pay tax bills.

Eventually, in 2008, the lawsuit was settled and an agreement reached: A foundation owns the Six mansion, the family has a right to live in it in perpetuity and the state provides funds for its upkeep. In exchange, the Sixes are to provide limited public access to the collection.

You can take a free one hour tour of the Six house and collection, but it’s booked up through 2019.

A 2010 article Fox News article says:

The Six family has been haggling with Dutch governments for more than 100 years over access to the Netherlands’ most valued private art collection, which many deem to be a national heritage.

Hounded by death duties with the passing of each generation, Jan Six VII created a foundation in 1901 to officially take ownership of the collection, thus avoiding punishing inheritance tax.

Since at least 1957, the family has been getting a state subsidy, but the current patriarch (“Ten”) has gone to court several times over the level of support for the artworks and the house.

As part of the latest deal worth hundreds of thousands of euros (dollars) a year in maintenance and security costs, he has pledged to exhibit the portrait of his ancestor more often. …

Although technically the collection no longer belongs to the family, Ten is the only member of the foundation’s board with sole discretion on how the collection is maintained.

Not so shabby …

The family fortune was founded in the textile trade by the original Jan Six’s parents, Jean Six and Anna Six-Wymer. His mother was widowed young, but became a business tycoon in her own right with a monopoly on the import of indigo dye, said “Ten” in an interview in one renovated room of his home. Wymer invested her profits in Amsterdam real estate, which provided rental income to her descendants.

On the other hand, old money has a tendency over the generations to dispense with the dull, grubby work of making money and instead concentrate on the more refined pleasures such as spending money, which in the Six family goes back eleven generations to Jan Six I and his portrait:

Rembrandt’s friend Jan Six left the management of the family business to his brother while he focused on writing and buying art …

Coming back to Piketty’s argument that the rich naturally get richer than the rest, my impression of rich old families is that in the long run, they tend to spend more than they make, often on upkeep of the family manse.

On the other hand, the glamour of a great name can bring in lots of money through prudent marriages.

— beginning a collection that would be expanded over the centuries by gainful marriages. …

For example, John and Sarah Churchill (played by Rachel Weisz in The Favourite) were minor aristocrats who became favorite courtiers of the future King James II and Queen Anne, respectively. They went on to play successful historic roles in English and European politics, including the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the War of the Spanish Succession with King Louis XIV of France, for which they were made Duke and Duchess of Marlborough.

On the other hand they were considered rather poor arrivistes by ducal status, while their ambitions were vast, building the 300,000 square foot Blenheim Palace. And eventually Sarah fell from favor with the Queen, toppling her husband as well.

But Sarah arranged such favorable marriages for her daughters, such as with the famous Spencer family, that the Spencer-Churchill lineage prospered, usually through adroit marriages. For instance, a lucrative marriage to Consuelo Vanderbilt in the late 19th century paid for a new roof for Blenheim.

In this century two Best Actress and one Best Actor Oscars have been awarded for performances in movies involving this clan: Olivia Colman as Queen Anne in The Favourite, Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen (which begins with Princess Diana Spencer Windsor’s death in a car accident), and Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour.

In the 21st Century, the rich don’t seem to spend proportionately as much on vast houses and other personal luxuries as did European aristocrats. Some still like to spend imaginatively, such as Oracle’s Larry Ellison. (Here’s a 2006 article about how his accountant had repeatedly warned him about his over-spending. But, in case you are worried about him, last I checked, Larry seems to be doing fine.)

A reader once contributed in the comments some observations on Bill Gates’ lifestyle garnered from running into the plutocrat in downtown Rancho Santa Fe, CA, near where he owns a winter home.

On the street, Gates doesn’t dress like the man on the Monopoly box, he basically looks like all the other polo shirt-wearing upper upper middle class guys dropping into Starbucks. My reader pointed out that Gates’ polo shirts, however, weren’t $16.99 ones from Costco, they were the finest brand sold by the best boutique in the nicest town in North San Diego County. Similarly, his glasses were the best frames from the most expensive eye doctor. (By the way, about five years ago, after a lifetime of fiddling with eyeglass frames that start self-destructing after a few months, I splurged for the best eyeglass frames at my Costco, Italian-made titanium YSL frames. They’ve made my life better because they are extraordinarily durable: in a half-decade, I haven’t even had to find one of those tiny screwdrivers to tighten the screws.)

Bill Gates famously intends to give away vast amounts of money through his Gates Foundation. I suspect, like the Six family, that his descendants will have pretty nice lives presiding over this vast foundation.

 
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  1. Steve!

    How could you have missed the iSteve-ist of facts here?

    Tom Six, director of the horror movie, “Human Centipede” is another member of the Six family.

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

    Fussell would probably call this prole drift, but being a successful director (in any way) also indicates competence. So, the Six genes must be giving every Six generation the moxie Greg Clarke mentioned in “Son Also Rises”.

    At least, he’s making his own money.

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
    This very odd creature is not a member of either of the ennobled branches of the family: the senior branch was given a barony for the eldest in each generation in 1820 (the other members of the family are "jonkheer"; while the junior branch (the one under discussion here) was ennobled 1n 1842, but without the title of baron (thus "jonkheer" only).
    This Tom is a good example of the very worst of what the Netherlands produces today, while his "cousin" Jan is indubitably an example of the very best. I hope he can persuade the art world that he is right about his Rembrandts-to-be.
    , @Anonymous
    Weird. Here's another case that's very similar:

    https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/mar/14/the-evil-within-horror-movie-andrew-getty-millionaire-meth

    Andrew Getty was the grandson of Jean-Paul Getty, founder of Getty Oil.
    , @Hibernian
    Not to be confused with Tom Mix.
  2. Big yellow taxi family

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thurn_und_Taxis

    The livery of the Spanish postal service is still yellow.

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
    The Thurn und Taxis wealth is indeed vast, and the still-unmarried (at 35 - his father married at 60, so I suppose he feels unrushed) head of the family is an authentic billionaire.

    The great families of the old Holy Roman Empire stayed rich by practicing the strictest primogeniture: the first born got everything. They are exactly the same today, whatever the popular press might say.
    , @Pericles
    See also The Crying of Lot 49.
  3. I am sure Bill’s descendants will live really kickass lives.

    Btw I’d wager a pair of glasses to back my one year old’s ability to mutilate your fancy YSL titanium glasses in the blink of an eye (and laugh about it) over their supposed durability.

  4. ‘…after a lifetime of fiddling with eyeglass frames that start self-destructing after a few months.’

    that is my conscious decision as well. i buy a new set of reading glasses every six months or so-at walmart, for the grand price of $7.

    that way, i don’t worry about dropping/losing/scratching/forgetting/or sitting on them. plus, i can have a pair at my desk/by my bed/in my backpack/wherever else i need one because i inevitably forget them. if my eyes/prescription change, i’m only out $7. and i don’t have to make yet another important decision that i don’t really care about: do these glasses look good (if they don’t, i’ll get new ones in six months anyway-it’s like a haircut). glasses are yet another thing i have to worry about (with wallet, phone, keys, i’d cards or security cards for controlled entry to jobs, and so on and so on). at that price, i don’t worry about them that much.

    my vision care costs me about $14/year.

    joe

    • Replies: @Mikeja
    Walmart? You must be some kind of plutocrat. I buy a half dozen from the dollar store and treat them as carefully as a five year old
    , @Bill Jones
    You are being overcharged by about 100%
    https://www.amazon.com/Reading-Glasses-Quality-Readers-Spring/dp/B0763SQH2V/ref=sr_1_15?keywords=eyeglasses&qid=1551379824&s=gateway&sr=8-15
  5. Yes, there is a lot more semi-hidden Old Money than most people think. And as with the Sox family, this old money comes overwhelmingly from trade., from commerce. The Modern world destroyed wealth from land, and then destroyed life living on land. The victors were the businessmen who operated ships, railroads, airlines, etc.

    • Replies: @The Anti-Gnostic
    I'm thinking not, because of what you pointed out: economies no longer revolve around land and agriculture. Modern economies are way more dynamic and volatile. Modern tax structures just aren't very conducive to accruing dynastic wealth. How much of Bill Gates's family actually works at the Gates Foundation? Those institutions operate under a ton of rules to keep their tax-exempt status; they can't just dole out money to family members. Well, the Clinton Foundation probably can, but once the dim-witted, dull Chelsea drops out of public life, probably within 10 years, the Clinton Foundation will disappear. Regression to the mean, spoiled-brat lifestyles, divorces, untimely deaths take their toll as well.

    I think Piketty might be wishfully thinking there's this vast pool of untaxed wealth out there that deficit-choked governments can still get their hands on to save us from our future. I just don't see it in a modern economy and tax regime. Of course, I'm nowhere near those circles so I'm happy to be proved wrong.
    , @Charles Pewitt
    I remember a scene from a TV show that had a railroad going through some aristocrat's lands in England. The lady aristocrat is looking out the window of her manor house and watching the railroad go through. I wondered why the aristocrats didn't have enough political power to make the railroad go somewhere else.

    Thomas Hardy and other writers were writing about the railroads in England. Just saw on the internet a poem about railroads by Hardy, I'll read that.

    Oil and refining oil on Delaware Bay brought in the loot too.

    William the Conqueror had the right idea about ruling class decapitation. White Core Nationalists must financially liquidate those plutocrats who don't go along with the program. Maybe some old money would like to see the new money get taken out.

    The answer to 1984 is 1066.

    This internet censorship and de-platforming stuff ends when the internet plutocrats doing it get the William the Conqueror treatment. I have Norman ancestry and I would love to financially liquidate some of these new money anti-White internet plutocrat rats.
  6. OT:

    Trump’s talks with Kim Jong-un ended without a deal. Trump wanted NK to give up it’s nukes before sanctions are lifted. NK should have demanded that if it gave up all of it’s nukes, the US would end all sanctions and remove all of it’s nukes from SK.

    • Replies: @Discordiax
    US pulled our nuclear weapons out of South Korea in 1991.

    There IS some amiguity or confusion as to what the North means exactly by "denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula"--in the North Korean view it may include the US troops in Japan. Or they might be fucking with us, piling up demands just in case we decide to reach and agreement and the domestic basis of their rule is pulled out from under them, defending the Korean people from US imperialist seige.

    , @tyrone
    OR….did democrat back-biting during the summit make Trump look weak and unstable in Kim's eyes .
    , @George
    The talks should be between South Korea and the Norks. I don't see what the US interest is beyond whatever the S Koreans want.
    , @Trevor H.
    The apostrophes! They burn!
  7. The burden turns out to be his name, which is actually Jan Six XI. … named a firstborn son Jan in nearly every generation.

    Rembrandt also painted a portrait of his cousin, Jari Severn IX, Countess of Bourges.

    • Replies: @coburn
    I get the reference but not every one is a Star Trek fan.
  8. You’ve stumbled onto an interesting idea. American aristocracy is being enshrined by foundation and charity law. A charity founder can direct that a family member must be at the head of the funds and be paid a handsome salary. This organization, existing in near perpetuity without taxes while throwing off sinecures to the scions, is essentially an aristocratic estate.

    Sure, some of that money goes to good causes, but the vast majority goes to sustaining the organization and giving its employees great annuities and extravagant prerequisites.

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
    It works for the Clinton Foundation.
  9. “the family has a right to live in it in perpetuity and the state provides funds for its upkeep. In exchange, the Sixes are to provide limited public access to the collection.”

    Does that make the Sixes aristocrats because they are paid by the state to live in a mansion in perpetuity, or does that make them serfs because they have to maintain an estate for Rembrandt in perpetuity?

    I wonder if the real scam at Harvard isn’t acceptance policy but that the foundation is really a scheme to provide lavish employment for the heirs of Harvard alumni and not how many East Asians Harvard accepts. When East Asian parents picket Harvard the issue isn’t opportunity it is perpetuity.

  10. Anon[590] • Disclaimer says:

    I once pondered whether, if I were a billionaire, and I didn’t want to leave anything to to next generation (let them do reality shows), how I would do that. I think it would be impossible. I once read a book called Die Broke that recommended all kinds of schemes like disability insurance, reverse mortgages, burial insurance. But for a billionaire you’d need something more sophisticated.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    A conundrum worthy of Larry Tate himself. (Blink and you'll miss him.)

    https://youtu.be/8wNqNO3jqkk
  11. How intersecting that you kick off with a Dutch account and painting because Rollings Stones and Bono/U2 have been using double Dutch sandwich (or some variation ) to dodge them for years. The Stones were first and only started making their real money (got ripped off *massively* by Alan Klein who stole their pre 1971 song writing royalties) after hiring Prince Rupert Loewenstein their finances manager. He was very reluctant to deal with those scruffy dogs. He advised European Royalty
    __________________________

    Mick Jagger attacks former financial adviser over Rolling …
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/rolling-stones/9860800/…
    Feb 10, 2013 · Once dubbed the human calculator, Prince Rupert describes himself as a combination of “bank manager, psychiatrist and nanny” to the Rolling Stones. He became the band’s adviser in 1968 when he was running a merchant bank, and admits to becoming fascinated by …

    Mick Jagger Up in Arms Over His Advisor’s New Memoir …
    https://www.wealthmanagement.com/blog/mick-jagger-arms-over-his…
    Mick Jagger’s former financial advisor, Prince Rupert Loewenstein, is coming out with his memoir, A Prince Among Stones, next month, and the Rolling Stones’ front man is not happy about it.

    Rupert Loewenstein: Mick Jagger fury as Bavarian Prince …
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2276087/Rupert-Loewen…
    Jagger fury as Bavarian Prince who worked as band’s financial adviser for 40 years reveals truth about Rolling Stones’ millions Prince Rupert Loewenstein was the Stones’ financial adviser from …

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
    Rupert Loewenstein was a gentleman before he was a prince. He loved a good party, but he loved learning and Catholic tradition and piety more.
    The Stones were a source of income to him; little more.
    He and I lunched (always at Wiltons in Jermyn Street, and he was always the host) on the very day when Josef Ratzinger was elected pope. I will never forget the triumphant smile with which he greeted me, and the gusto with which he announced that we would start our meal with a glass of vintage champagne.
    The name Loewenstein is not necessarily Jewish, but it does suggest Jewish blood, which in his case was true. Rupert was half Jewish on both sides, with descents from the Rothschilds, the Tedescos of Vienna and the de Worms of Germany. I did some research on his various lines, and discovered that he was first cousin (some generations removed of course) to Felix Mendelssohn. This was fitting, as classical (i e real) music was one of his passions.
    The press image (Rupie the Groupie and all that) was laughably wide of the mark.
  12. Anonymous[388] • Disclaimer says:

    OT:

    Trump’s talks with Kim Jong-un ended without a deal. Trump wanted NK to give up it’s nukes before sanctions are lifted. NK should have demanded that if it gave up all of it’s nukes, the US would end all sanctions and remove all of it’s nukes from SK.

    What country would be stupid enough to trust and make a deal with the U.S.?? Trump ended the Iran nuclear deal and the INF with Russia. But hey, our word is our bond, especially if we sign agreements. Laughable.

    • Replies: @FPD72
    The United States signed no agreement with Iran on the nuclear deal; the “agreement” was never ratified by the Senate. “Our word” was never given. What one executive acting alone (Obama) can do can be undone by another (Trump) with the stroke of a pen.
  13. Diana may actually not have been a biological Spencer. Her mother had an affair with James Goldsmith and Diana looked remarkably like his son Zac.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    You need to up your audacity quotient. Next time say Zac Goldsmith looks remarkably like Frank Marshall Davis.
    , @Alden
    Diana looked even more like Goldsmith’s daughter Jemina but not as pretty.
  14. #2 Circa 1992 I ran into an endowment manager for MIT university a few times. He told me that English and Dutch old money going back for centuries and growing for centuries. Was very well hidden and super enormous. I asked him the same question with some variations and he gave me the same reply a few times. Dutch and English old money is what Steve is talking about. The kind that two remains intact past two World Wars.
    The MIT guy was very credible and looked a bit like Robert Fripp.

    My above “dodge them for years”…….taxes of course

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    How about Swiss old money? Or had Switzerland been kind of a hillbilly backwater compared to the wealth of the low countries until relatively recently?
    , @moshe
    Last year on a CABLE CAR INTO MANHATTAN (a gem I found that cost me nothing) I buttonholed "a guy who works in" (I don't reveal my sources) the UN's pension fund's management and as we looked out of the glass at his building I asked about his work. I'm far more delightful, but no less straightforward, in public than I am in this space so I asked and he answered: Yes, The United Nations is a scam for high-born but lesser local aristocrats and go-getter free-country
    young careerists and for all sorts of genuine bad guys, etc and that he is basically getting paid an enormous salary (he involunitarily smiled a lot about the size of his salary when I tried to pin him down on it during our brief moments together but he wouldn't give me the number) for managing a fund so huge that, like Joseph's original money management strategy in Egypt during The Seven Good Years, simple things like numbers just don't go that high. He has more psycopathy than conscience to him so while he said outright that he's managing money for the world's biggest racket it didn't bother him too much. The only reason this vignette stuck around in my head (I've met plenty of UN people) is because of how clear a picture he transmitted to me of never-ending wealth wrapped in the full legality and moral name of the UN.

    Counterpoint: Millions of people are trying to get IN to the US. Some even paying fortunes for it. And people are getting in dinghies in Africa to cross in to Europe. Same as the barbarians who wanted in to Rome. And all of that demonstrates clearly how awesome our lives are! Among all humans we are the ALIVE ones and among the alive ones we are the white ones. And among the white ones we are the English speaking ones. And from amongst those who are alive, white and English speaking, we are also Americans. In the 21st century.

    Lots of people want in to that club. Augustus Caesar and Alexander The Great for two. And every non-white English speaker from India too. Yeah yeah, some people have billions of dollars and have never had to wipe their own anus and get to be showered by girls while still in bed but life is still pretty damn kickass.

  15. Top 10 Music Managers Who Fucked Over Their Clients
    Daniel Kohn | July 13, 2011 | 7:18AM
    https://www.laweekly.com/music/top-10-music-managers-who-fucked-over-their-clients-2411743

  16. A hedge fund big shot told me he’s aware of at least one family in the trillion range

  17. The old money aristocrats went underground after the Great War and the collapse of the Hapsburg Empire. Once the object of fascination by the proletariat, they saw the writing on the wall, knowing that the Terror of the French Revolution was no anomaly, that the rise of democracy ala Marx (class consciousness) set the world against them. Some in England tried to hang on, as detailed in the Downton Abbey series, but modernization, rising wages, and a dis-taste for “service” among the working class (no more bowing and scraping!) made keeping the grand lifestyle of great houses etc. both economically and socially untenable. I believe it was a conscious decision by the surviving Old Money Families to remove themselves from the public eye (unless they were active in politics or industry), eschewing for the most part the lifestyle of grand balls and grand halls and rising up actors and actresses (We’re Going Hollywood!) to the status of Celebrity once occupied by themselves. No more parading as debutantes, no more gossip columns breathlessly reporting on “the season” in the south of France. Instead Walter Winchell reported on Broadway and Louella Parsons pimped the stars of the silver screen.

    • Agree: Clyde
  18. @Realist
    OT:

    Trump's talks with Kim Jong-un ended without a deal. Trump wanted NK to give up it's nukes before sanctions are lifted. NK should have demanded that if it gave up all of it's nukes, the US would end all sanctions and remove all of it's nukes from SK.

    US pulled our nuclear weapons out of South Korea in 1991.

    There IS some amiguity or confusion as to what the North means exactly by “denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula”–in the North Korean view it may include the US troops in Japan. Or they might be fucking with us, piling up demands just in case we decide to reach and agreement and the domestic basis of their rule is pulled out from under them, defending the Korean people from US imperialist seige.

    • Replies: @Realist

    US pulled our nuclear weapons out of South Korea in 1991.
     
    I stand corrected. That makes since, US naval assets all over the planet are loaded with nukes.
  19. The Rockefeller’s got a similar deal for their estate, Kykuit. They give guided tours of parts of the house for part of the year.

  20. Regarding eyeglass frames, the Italian company Luxottica controls a huge share of the market, something in excess of two-thirds. Most of the popular brand names are under its control.

  21. My reader pointed out that Gates’ polo shirts, however, weren’t $16.99 ones from Costco, they were the finest brand sold by the best boutique in the nicest town in North San Diego County. Similarly, his glasses were the best frames from the most expensive eye doctor.

    C’mon. Gates’s glasses and his polo shirt and everything he is wearing cost .00000001% of his fortune. The man could afford to dress like Henry VIII if he wanted to, with ermine and silk and gold chains as thick as a rope and eyeglass frames made of pure platinum studded with diamonds. But in 2019 that would make him look like a rapper. Status in the modern world comes from other things, like giving away most of your money to help Africans.

    • Agree: Bill
    • Replies: @dvorak

    The man could afford to dress like Henry VIII if he wanted to, with ermine and silk and gold chains as thick as a rope and eyeglass frames made of pure platinum studded with diamonds. But in 2019 that would make him look like a rapper.
     
    Billgates should hire Seattle's Sir Mix-A-Lot as his stylist.
    , @Sean

    Status in the modern world comes from other things, like giving away most of your money to help Africans.
     
    No. Saying you will, while retaining control over it does because that is how the game is played. If Gates had actually given away most of his money then he would be definitely lower in status.

    He is really clever, but I suppose everything is thought out by a team advising him on how to talk (especially about his wealth), how to dress, and even body language.
    , @Anon
    I think Bill Gates's fashion tastes may be more dictated by the sort of stores he feels comfortable going into. If you're that rich you probably feel uncomfortable shopping at the outlet mall. The staff in super high end stores have more discretion.

    On the other hand, he may have a shopper bring him a bunch of stuff to try on. If you're a personal shopper for Bill Gates do you walk into his office with a bag from Target?
  22. Anonymous[200] • Disclaimer says:

    ‘Death Duty’, that is Inheritance Tax, wiped out a great deal of the ‘old money’ in England – as, indeed, the tax was expressly intended. England is full of ‘titled’ papers – Private Eye magazine’s ‘Focus on Fact’ cartoon strip series back in the ’70s used to specialise in highlighting the mundane jobs heirs to ancient and glorious titles did for a living.

    Incidentally, the huge increase of the rate of Death Duty in the UK in the early twentieth century was perhaps the first manifestation of the ‘new’ ‘universal’ franchise and the co commitant rise in parliamentary socialism.

    Stupid bastard PM Gordon Brown basically nixed Labour’s election chances back in 2007 by imposing Death Duty on house owners of modest means.

  23. I think a lot of these old money families are cash poor. They own a lot of high value, illiquid assets, so they have a sizable net worth, but don’t have access to a lot of cash. They also tend to understate the value of their assets for tax purposes and hold them in family trusts which may in part explain why they don’t show up on the Forbes list more often. The other reason being that unless their assets were sold slowly over time, they wouldn’t get close to the estimated value of them. For example, if word was out the Six family had a cash crunch people would take advantage of it.

  24. John Churchill, the future Duke of Marlborough, is considered to be one of the greatest commanders in military history. Winston Churchill goes into great detail in describing Marlborough’s campaigns during the War of the Spanish Succession in his landmark bio, MARLBOROUGH, HIS LIFE AND TIMES. David Chandler’s books THE ART OF WARFARE IN THE AGE OF MARLBOROUGH and MARLBOROUGH AS MILITARY COMMANDER focus exclusively on the military aspects of John Churchill’s life.

    I, too, am a life-long glasses wearer who finally decided to spend Good Money on a pair of glasses with carbon fiber lenses and titanium frames; the glasses cost four figures but are very light and comfortable and exceedingly durable. Well worth the money, I think.

    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    Frag, Just wondering if your eyes were not correctable with laser surgery.
    , @jim jones
    I buy my glasses in Poundland which is the Brit equivalent of Dollar Store
  25. @Jack D

    My reader pointed out that Gates’ polo shirts, however, weren’t $16.99 ones from Costco, they were the finest brand sold by the best boutique in the nicest town in North San Diego County. Similarly, his glasses were the best frames from the most expensive eye doctor.
     
    C'mon. Gates's glasses and his polo shirt and everything he is wearing cost .00000001% of his fortune. The man could afford to dress like Henry VIII if he wanted to, with ermine and silk and gold chains as thick as a rope and eyeglass frames made of pure platinum studded with diamonds. But in 2019 that would make him look like a rapper. Status in the modern world comes from other things, like giving away most of your money to help Africans.

    The man could afford to dress like Henry VIII if he wanted to, with ermine and silk and gold chains as thick as a rope and eyeglass frames made of pure platinum studded with diamonds. But in 2019 that would make him look like a rapper.

    Billgates should hire Seattle’s Sir Mix-A-Lot as his stylist.

    • Replies: @Redneck farmer
    Does Mr. Gates like big butts?
  26. A recent book about the transatlantic marriage market, 1870-1914:

    https://quadrant.org.au/magazine/2019/01-02/panthers-on-the-prowl-in-london/

    In The Husband Hunters Anne de Courcy puts a well-researched focus on the seeming invasion between 1870 and 1914 of young American heiresses into the cash-strapped marriage markets of Europe and Britain, where over 450 of them married titled Europeans, 100 of them British aristocrats, including six dukes, the best catches of all. The number of these marriages peaked in 1895.

    Did the American girls mostly marry English, or did Continental titles have appeal as well?

    • Replies: @Jack D
    "450 of them married titled Europeans, 100 of them British aristocrats"

    So most went for Continentals. I think there were a lot more of those than British (Germany was well supplied with all sorts of princelings - they supplied the British royal family for centuries) plus more of them were running out of money at that time, especially the Italians.
    , @Old Palo Altan
    One of my more distant American cousins married the Prince di Poggio Suasa, an Italian nobleman of the Ruspoli family who was twice Mayor of Rome. I knew their granddaughter, who married the eldest son of King Alfonso XIII of Spain. This couple's son married Franco's granddaughter, and their son is acclaimed as Louis XX, rightful King of France, by strict legitimists.
    , @David
    One of Hitler's many complaints was that, to augment their fortunes, German noble families were choosing Jewish brides.
    , @Tim
    Jenny Jerome, the mother of Winston Churchill was one of these women. Her father, Leonard Jerome got rich in the Newspaper business, and her mother, who I think was Iroquois Indian, brought her and her sister to Europe. She and Lord Randolph fell in love that the rest was history . . . except they both seemed to have done a lot of side-banging.
  27. Anonymous [AKA "East Coaster"] says:

    How many Six family members, descended from the first Jan Six, would have a right to the fortune? After 11 generations, there could be hundreds of thousands of descendants. Even a very large fortune disappears when divided by 200,000.

    In order to remain prosperous, each generation must find new ways to make money. The most successful branches likely manage to marry well, for intelligence, health and drive, rather than money. Of course, it’s easier to do that if the next generation is healthy, smart, sane, attractive, and well educated. It’s also very helpful to not divorce.

    One daughter marries an unsuccessful artist, one daughter marries a teacher, one daughter marries a mill owner. Three generations later, especially if the families have many daughters, it’s hard to trace the connections. Thus, you tend to see the rich branches, but overlook the average branches of the family tree.

    Small families with one son in each generation might retain wealth, if each generation were prudent, but each generation would run the risk of the family dying out, perhaps leaving behind a charity.

    I regard the idea of hidden great Old Money fortunes to be a fantasy.

  28. Anonymous [AKA "Anaon"] says:

    Just looked up The Human Centipede. Concluded that unless old $ is concentrated on increasing $, improving the world, or spreading a religion (like the Kochs and their precious liberTARDianism), its idleness inevitably leads to the most sickening debauchery. Overtax it. Keep em’ busy.

  29. @Discordiax
    US pulled our nuclear weapons out of South Korea in 1991.

    There IS some amiguity or confusion as to what the North means exactly by "denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula"--in the North Korean view it may include the US troops in Japan. Or they might be fucking with us, piling up demands just in case we decide to reach and agreement and the domestic basis of their rule is pulled out from under them, defending the Korean people from US imperialist seige.

    US pulled our nuclear weapons out of South Korea in 1991.

    I stand corrected. That makes since, US naval assets all over the planet are loaded with nukes.

  30. @Jake
    Yes, there is a lot more semi-hidden Old Money than most people think. And as with the Sox family, this old money comes overwhelmingly from trade., from commerce. The Modern world destroyed wealth from land, and then destroyed life living on land. The victors were the businessmen who operated ships, railroads, airlines, etc.

    I’m thinking not, because of what you pointed out: economies no longer revolve around land and agriculture. Modern economies are way more dynamic and volatile. Modern tax structures just aren’t very conducive to accruing dynastic wealth. How much of Bill Gates’s family actually works at the Gates Foundation? Those institutions operate under a ton of rules to keep their tax-exempt status; they can’t just dole out money to family members. Well, the Clinton Foundation probably can, but once the dim-witted, dull Chelsea drops out of public life, probably within 10 years, the Clinton Foundation will disappear. Regression to the mean, spoiled-brat lifestyles, divorces, untimely deaths take their toll as well.

    I think Piketty might be wishfully thinking there’s this vast pool of untaxed wealth out there that deficit-choked governments can still get their hands on to save us from our future. I just don’t see it in a modern economy and tax regime. Of course, I’m nowhere near those circles so I’m happy to be proved wrong.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Well, the Clinton Foundation probably can, but once the dim-witted, dull Chelsea drops out of public life, probably within 10 years, the Clinton Foundation will disappear.

    Chelsea's not suffering any intellectual deficits. She just isn't focused or driven.
  31. Anonymous [AKA "ClockworkOrange"] says:

    OT: diversity in Bradford (UK) – via Katie Hopkins

    https://twitter.com/KTHopkins/status/1101127484949647360

    • Replies: @Trevor H.
    I thought that kicking people in the head when they're down was an American Negro specialty. Now it appears that Muslims do it too. Is it spreading?
    , @JMcG
    Sacred Heart of Jesus.
  32. Lots of money does not necessarily equal influence right away. For the “entrepreneurs”, most of their wealth is locked up in the corporations that they own. Unless their company pays them dividends a lot of their spending money is probably bank loans against their massive stock holdings.

    It’s subsequent generations which are able to use the entrepreneurs money to become supremely influential. The Rockefellers are the best example: the members of their family are still billionaires, but just a couple billion each. But their tremendously malign influence over the past 70 years is unsurpassed.

    Gates has managed to bridge the gap by being influential within his own lifetime (obviously malign, empty people like that can do no other).

    • Replies: @rufus
    Incorrect* David Rockefeller was the last billionaire of his line, dying maybe a year ago with 2 or 3 billion at over 100 years of age. Left about half to the various arts and charities hed supported for many years.

    Rockefeller family likely has many deca and a centa millionaire or two. Estimates are about 200 of the extended family still have some financial link to the fortune, trusts etc. which are run through a family office that David formed.

    A better example along those lines are the Duponts and Mellons. Still have 10-15 billion spread out among hundreds and even thousands of cousins etc.
  33. @Benjaminl
    A recent book about the transatlantic marriage market, 1870-1914:

    https://quadrant.org.au/magazine/2019/01-02/panthers-on-the-prowl-in-london/

    In The Husband Hunters Anne de Courcy puts a well-researched focus on the seeming invasion between 1870 and 1914 of young American heiresses into the cash-strapped marriage markets of Europe and Britain, where over 450 of them married titled Europeans, 100 of them British aristocrats, including six dukes, the best catches of all. The number of these marriages peaked in 1895.
     
    Did the American girls mostly marry English, or did Continental titles have appeal as well?

    “450 of them married titled Europeans, 100 of them British aristocrats”

    So most went for Continentals. I think there were a lot more of those than British (Germany was well supplied with all sorts of princelings – they supplied the British royal family for centuries) plus more of them were running out of money at that time, especially the Italians.

    • Replies: @stillCARealist
    Why were they running out of money? Wars, taxes, thefts, attrition?

    I've read that most of the British old money was taken away to pay for the welfare state of the 20th c. I'd guess that this is even more true of the continent. Is it true? Someone point me to a good book.
    , @Flip

    (Germany was well supplied with all sorts of princelings – they supplied the British royal family for centuries)
     
    And the Russian royal family. Nicholas II had very little actual Russian blood.
  34. Piketty’s idea that there are a substantial number of hidden billionaires, let alone decabillionaires, is dubious. Fortunes are over the years eroded by division (between multiple heirs), taxation, and of course poor management (either through overspending or bad investing). When the Vanderbilt heirs all met in the early 1970s not a single one was even a millionaire anymore.

    In the past great fortunes stayed in tact via primogeniture and the absence of estate taxation. Income taxation is relatively recent as well. In preindustrial times land was also by far the most important source of wealth.

    What I am certain exists is a large number of secret hereditary millionaires. There are a lot of trust funders out there, including a lot of people you never suspect. But is this enough that our data about the distribution of wealth are materially wrong? Official statistics do show that the distribution of wealth is far more unequal than the distribution of income.

    • Agree: Old Palo Altan
  35. Bill Gates famously intends to give away vast amounts of money through his Gates Foundation. I suspect, like the Six family, that his descendants will have pretty nice lives presiding over this vast foundation

    Gates is simply a 24 billion tax evader and free-rider on his own country masquerading as a global philanthropist. Tax cannot reduce inequality, because people like Gates never lose control over how their money is spent.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Also his entire fortune is built on a network effect monopoly, rather than a superior technical product. People have had to use Windows and other Microsoft products like Office because everyone else uses it. The original MS-DOS was purchased by Gates from a lone, independent programmer. Gates's father was a lawyer, and his mother had connections to IBM, which is the sort of background that would clue him in to exploit network effects.
  36. @Jack D
    "450 of them married titled Europeans, 100 of them British aristocrats"

    So most went for Continentals. I think there were a lot more of those than British (Germany was well supplied with all sorts of princelings - they supplied the British royal family for centuries) plus more of them were running out of money at that time, especially the Italians.

    Why were they running out of money? Wars, taxes, thefts, attrition?

    I’ve read that most of the British old money was taken away to pay for the welfare state of the 20th c. I’d guess that this is even more true of the continent. Is it true? Someone point me to a good book.

    • Replies: @Hank Yobo
    You could read Adam Nicolson's book The Gentry (2011) to get a feel for the societal Snakes and Ladders played by this particular group. From rags to riches and then down to denim seems to have been the fate for many of these families over the centuries.
    , @Sean
    Piketty's book says just before WW1 was the last time inequality was anything like as great as it is now.

    If inequality is the mechanism by which modern advanced societies reduce inequality then we will soon find out.
  37. @Jack D

    My reader pointed out that Gates’ polo shirts, however, weren’t $16.99 ones from Costco, they were the finest brand sold by the best boutique in the nicest town in North San Diego County. Similarly, his glasses were the best frames from the most expensive eye doctor.
     
    C'mon. Gates's glasses and his polo shirt and everything he is wearing cost .00000001% of his fortune. The man could afford to dress like Henry VIII if he wanted to, with ermine and silk and gold chains as thick as a rope and eyeglass frames made of pure platinum studded with diamonds. But in 2019 that would make him look like a rapper. Status in the modern world comes from other things, like giving away most of your money to help Africans.

    Status in the modern world comes from other things, like giving away most of your money to help Africans.

    No. Saying you will, while retaining control over it does because that is how the game is played. If Gates had actually given away most of his money then he would be definitely lower in status.

    He is really clever, but I suppose everything is thought out by a team advising him on how to talk (especially about his wealth), how to dress, and even body language.

    • Replies: @Anonymous

    He is really clever, but I suppose everything is thought out by a team advising him on how to talk (especially about his wealth), how to dress, and even body language.
     
    He just appeared on The Late Show recently, in response to the various proposals being floated about recently about taxing the rich. Obviously his appearance wasn't a coincidence. He and his PR team presumably reached out to The Late Show to make an appearance. Gates's response to Piketty and the various other recent proposals is to promote consumption taxes instead, which is regressive relative to wealth taxes.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qG3eNG2rO7o
  38. Bill Gates on Piketty

    https://www.gatesnotes.com/Books/Why-Inequality-Matters-Capital-in-21st-Century-Review
    Imagine three types of wealthy people. One guy is putting his capital into building his business. Then there’s a woman who’s giving most of her wealth to charity. A third person is mostly consuming, spending a lot of money on things like a yacht and plane. While it’s true that the wealth of all three people is contributing to inequality, I would argue that the first two are delivering more value to society than the third. I wish Piketty had made this distinction, because it has important policy implications, which I’ll get to below.

    Someone wealthy who is delivering value by paying their full share of tax is such an outlier they’re not worth talking about as far as Gates is concerned.

    LSE Events | The Great Leveler: violence and the history of inequality

    • Replies: @The Alarmist

    "A third person is mostly consuming, spending a lot of money on things like a yacht and plane. While it’s true that the wealth of all three people is contributing to inequality, I would argue that the first two are delivering more value to society than the third. "
     
    Yeah, because we can't have people gainfully employed building and selling boats and planes and then doing further consuming in our consumption economy ... consumption just too efficient a way to allocate capital, and we can't have that.
  39. @Maciano
    Steve!

    How could you have missed the iSteve-ist of facts here?

    Tom Six, director of the horror movie, "Human Centipede" is another member of the Six family.

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

    Fussell would probably call this prole drift, but being a successful director (in any way) also indicates competence. So, the Six genes must be giving every Six generation the moxie Greg Clarke mentioned in "Son Also Rises".

    At least, he's making his own money.

    This very odd creature is not a member of either of the ennobled branches of the family: the senior branch was given a barony for the eldest in each generation in 1820 (the other members of the family are “jonkheer”; while the junior branch (the one under discussion here) was ennobled 1n 1842, but without the title of baron (thus “jonkheer” only).
    This Tom is a good example of the very worst of what the Netherlands produces today, while his “cousin” Jan is indubitably an example of the very best. I hope he can persuade the art world that he is right about his Rembrandts-to-be.

    • Replies: @Maciano
    Thnx. Very interesting.

    I did read an interview with him in which he mentioned he was related.
  40. Did you get past page 26 of Piketty’s book?

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/07/piketty-book-no-one-read_n_5563629.html

    I also am very interested in this question. It’s going to be in land holdings and bank deposits. Did any large family land holdings survive east of the Iron Curtain 1945? My impression is that every single acre was appropriated by the commies and none has been returned. Bank holdings ain’t forever either. The biggest bank in Renaissance Italy went bankrupt loaning to some government to pay for warfare. If you are going to perpetuate a vast fortune you have to be pretty obsessed and very lucky.

    Gold is not the solution:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamashita%27s_gold

    The Chinese secret agents have plans for your Krugerrands and if you have a lot they know about them.

    I would be surprised if there was a single person who is effectively wealthier than Mohammed Bin Salman. His family is going to be very rich for a long time but fathers kill sons, sons kill fathers, and brothers kill brothers in that family so I wouldn’t envy them.

    • Replies: @Hibernian
    I think the Czech Republic returned some property.
  41. I’m not very knowledgable about painting, sculpture, and other visual arts at all (i
    I’ve always been more involved and talented at music, theatre, cinema, and literature).

    Will an expert please educate me:

    Why is it some are conventionally referred to by their surnames (which I’d have thought the common default) but others their Christian names even when both names are known? Leonardo da Vinci seems to, oddly, be referred to by either, though probably a little more by his surname:

    Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni
    Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn
    – William Hogarth
    Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (usually Anglicised to “Raphael,” of course)
    – Vincent Van Gogh
    Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi (Anglicised to “Donatello”)

    And so on.

    We don’t speak in one breath of Alfred, Wolfgang, and Henrik but in the next of Welles, Bach, and Congreve – but we do the equivalent with painters. How come?

    Is it only because the Italian and Dutch surnames are difficult to English ears and tongues? And if that’s so, why then don’t ee study the great philosopher Søren or the philologist Jonathan? The novels of Fyodor? Heaven only knows how often people bastardise and butcher the pronunciation and spelling of the names Kierkegaard, Tolkien, and Dostoyevsky! (And what of Van Gogh? Why doesn’t he get to be Vincent? He’s got a weird Dutch surname too!)

    Is it because some masters were so great they earned the honour of being known by tjeir Christian names alone, a bit like Elvis Presley did? That seems more a phenomenon in modern, popular culture than any way for scholars to discuss masters. After all, while we do speak of “The Bard (of Avon),” we don’t speak of “William.”

    (I understand with the likes of Aeschylus and Ovid they did not have, or we do not know, their surnames; things were easier before the overpopulation began in earnest….)

    I thank any who will educate me, and I beg Steve’s pardon for the tangential but sincere questions.

    • Replies: @Vinteuil

    Why is it some are conventionally referred to by their surnames (which I’d have thought the common default) but others their Christian names even when both names are known?
     
    Isn't it just a matter of time period? The last you mention who's known mostly by his first name (Rembrandt) was born in 1606. The first you mention who's known mostly by his surname (Hogarth) was born in 1697.
    , @Olorin
    15th century Florentine Italians often didn't have "surnames" as we northern Europeans think of them.

    If you look at the Florentine Castato of 1427--a census of the wealth tax placed on rich Florentine families and their holdings there and elsewhere in Tuscany--you'll see that only about 1/3 of the families have what we'd call a "surname." So it was common to refer to someone by their first name and birthplace.

    "da Vinci" wasn't Leonardo's surname. It was a reference to his Tuscan hometown.

    Michelangelo returned to the Tuscan village of Caprese, his actual birthplace, after his family's bank in Florence failed. But he grew up in Florence.

    Raphael was born in the Marche but by his 20s was living and painting mostly in Florence.

    Donato di N di BB was a native Florentine.

    Their appellations aren't "Anglicized." This was common usage in that place and time. This naming convention is a literal linguistic fossil of the Florentine Renaissance.

    As for Rembrandt, his "surname" is a reference to his father's family and place of birth. He himself started signing his paintings with just his first name, which van Gogh later adopted. But prior to that he abbreviated the whole string. I suppose that after awhile there was no need, as people well began to know who "Rembrant" then "Rembrandt" was.

    If I have time this evening I'll add a few thoughts on this. These naming conventions for individuals and families always interested me, out of observation of the burgeoning and lucrative 20th century phenomenon of branding, and institutions, systems, and laws arising around those.
    , @Trevor H.
    Leonardo didn't have a surname. He should be called Leonardo always and everywhere. Note that Vincent Van Gogh referred to himself exclusively as "Vincent" for similar reasons. Michelangelo I can't explain as readily. Claude Lorrain is another interesting case; he's being called Claude more and more nowadays.
    , @Jonathan Mason
    There are still a number of prominent figures who go by a single name, such as Brazilian soccer players from Pele to Socrates to Fred. However the convention is that defenders and goalkeepers do not go by single names.

    Jesus, the prominent religious figure is generally known by single name, though Jesus the Manchester City soccer player, who has worked wonders this season, actually has a first name of Gabriel. No doubt his mother thought he was a little angel.

    In ancient times first names only was generally the rule from Zeus and Jupiter onwards. Philosophers like Socrates and Plato and authors like Homer, Cicero, and Vergil had enough name brand recognition not to require extra names.

    In more modern times popular musicians Madonna, Beyonce, Bono, and Sting use single names, which makes their names easier to remember. And hardly anyone remembers that the real name of 60's model Twiggy was Lesley Hornby.

    Royalty also tend to use first names only, such as The Queen, Prince Charles, and so do dogs and horses for the most part. My dog Sally rarely uses her surname Barker-Dogge.

    When I was a schoolboy in England, it was common for boys to be addressed by (school)masters and each other by their last names only, with various forms of differention used for brothers or those who shared the same surname.

    However the best reason for using two names is to avoid ambiguity, and
    it makes it much easier to avoid problems with your driver's license, passport, and credit cards.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTnEyF_PbD8
  42. Anon[590] • Disclaimer says:

    OT

    Wikipedia is now saying that Jussie Smollett’s legal name is Justin Smollett, with Jussie being a nickname.

    No middle name is given.

    I think this is a recent edit, since I could’ve sworn that previously it reported Jussie as his real name, with a couple of middle names.

    I wonder if the new edit is based on public police or prosecutor documents relating to his Chicago troubles? It would have been just like him to have made up bogus names for himself.

  43. @Benjaminl
    A recent book about the transatlantic marriage market, 1870-1914:

    https://quadrant.org.au/magazine/2019/01-02/panthers-on-the-prowl-in-london/

    In The Husband Hunters Anne de Courcy puts a well-researched focus on the seeming invasion between 1870 and 1914 of young American heiresses into the cash-strapped marriage markets of Europe and Britain, where over 450 of them married titled Europeans, 100 of them British aristocrats, including six dukes, the best catches of all. The number of these marriages peaked in 1895.
     
    Did the American girls mostly marry English, or did Continental titles have appeal as well?

    One of my more distant American cousins married the Prince di Poggio Suasa, an Italian nobleman of the Ruspoli family who was twice Mayor of Rome. I knew their granddaughter, who married the eldest son of King Alfonso XIII of Spain. This couple’s son married Franco’s granddaughter, and their son is acclaimed as Louis XX, rightful King of France, by strict legitimists.

    • Replies: @Alden
    So that’s how you got to meet Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis.
  44. @Cortes
    Big yellow taxi family

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thurn_und_Taxis

    The livery of the Spanish postal service is still yellow.

    The Thurn und Taxis wealth is indeed vast, and the still-unmarried (at 35 – his father married at 60, so I suppose he feels unrushed) head of the family is an authentic billionaire.

    The great families of the old Holy Roman Empire stayed rich by practicing the strictest primogeniture: the first born got everything. They are exactly the same today, whatever the popular press might say.

  45. I think a lot of writers wait years to use a phrase that has been rolling around in their brain and then drop it at the first chance. Case in point, “apologetically dapper.” What does that even mean? Why should one apologize for looking good, as in dapper. Best dresser in my life time Prince Charles, whether in a suit or kilts or uniform.

  46. It must be nice to own great art. The story goes that Ralph Wilson, the late owner of the Buffalo Bills, sold a Renoir to pay a bonus to HOF Bruce Smith.

  47. @Realist
    OT:

    Trump's talks with Kim Jong-un ended without a deal. Trump wanted NK to give up it's nukes before sanctions are lifted. NK should have demanded that if it gave up all of it's nukes, the US would end all sanctions and remove all of it's nukes from SK.

    OR….did democrat back-biting during the summit make Trump look weak and unstable in Kim’s eyes .

    • Replies: @Realist

    OR….did democrat back-biting during the summit make Trump look weak and unstable in Kim’s eyes .
     
    I 'm sure that played a part.
  48. The museum is indeed free, but you can get in ahead of the tourist line if you know a friend of the family. I was able to jump the queue in precisely this fashion some five years ago. My cousin (of another famous old Amsterdam family) simply picked up the telephone, gave assurances, and I was in.

    I recommend it to one and all: contemplating Rembrandt’s portrait, still hanging where it has hung since the family moved into the house in the early 19th century (their earlier house was demolished for a canal widening scheme) is a uniquely moving experience. Another magnificent portrait in the house, by Michiel van Mierevelt, as good in his way as Rembrandt was in his, hangs in another room nearby. Painted in 1610, it shows the sitter holding an embroidered and bejewelled glove in her hand. The guide, having rhapsodised about its beauty, then opens a drawer and pulls out – the very glove!

    Don’t miss it.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    You recommend to one and all visiting in 2021 if one is able, or you recommend using personal connections to receive special treatment and bypass the wait ? Presumably the former to all, the latter, perhaps to maybe, one.

    Nonpareil humble-bragging commentary on this one. Surely at least one of your relatives slept with Grace Kelly when Prince Ranier was out of town, too? No?

    https://youtu.be/8xi-6MUz06w

    Incidentally, I don't doubt your tales, really I do not; I just think it's droll to see them spun so blithely.
    , @Anon

    The museum is indeed free, but you can get in ahead of the tourist line if you know a friend of the family. I was able to jump the queue in precisely this fashion some five years ago. My cousin (of another famous old Amsterdam family) simply picked up the telephone, gave assurances, and I was in.
     
    A capital idea, old chap. I shall have my man telephone cousin Maximilian forthwith.
    , @res

    still hanging where it has hung since the family moved into the house in the early 19th century (their earlier house was demolished for a canal widening scheme)
     
    Any idea if it was stolen during WWII and returned later? If not, how did they manage that?
    , @Pericles

    I recommend it to one and all

     

    Yo can you hook a brotha up?
    , @Vinteuil

    I was able to jump the queue in precisely this fashion some five years ago. My cousin (of another famous old Amsterdam family) simply picked up the telephone, gave assurances, and I was in.

    I recommend it to one and all...
     
    I hate you! I totally hate you! /jk
    , @Vinteuil

    ...their earlier house was demolished for a canal widening scheme...
     
    Just like the interstates being routed through black communities!

    Clearly, reparations are in order.
    , @The Alarmist
    There's a queue? I got invited to a private showing ;)
  49. @joeyjoejoe
    ‘...after a lifetime of fiddling with eyeglass frames that start self-destructing after a few months.’

    that is my conscious decision as well. i buy a new set of reading glasses every six months or so-at walmart, for the grand price of $7.

    that way, i don’t worry about dropping/losing/scratching/forgetting/or sitting on them. plus, i can have a pair at my desk/by my bed/in my backpack/wherever else i need one because i inevitably forget them. if my eyes/prescription change, i’m only out $7. and i don’t have to make yet another important decision that i don’t really care about: do these glasses look good (if they don’t, i’ll get new ones in six months anyway-it’s like a haircut). glasses are yet another thing i have to worry about (with wallet, phone, keys, i’d cards or security cards for controlled entry to jobs, and so on and so on). at that price, i don’t worry about them that much.

    my vision care costs me about $14/year.

    joe

    Walmart? You must be some kind of plutocrat. I buy a half dozen from the dollar store and treat them as carefully as a five year old

    • Replies: @Clyde

    Walmart? You must be some kind of plutocrat. I buy a half dozen from the dollar store and treat them as carefully as a five year old
     
    Get ye to ChiCom (like me long time w happy Robert Kraft endings) dollah store. Like you say Walmart is over charging. Plutocrat indeed! The dunce you are replying to.
  50. Anon[590] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jack D

    My reader pointed out that Gates’ polo shirts, however, weren’t $16.99 ones from Costco, they were the finest brand sold by the best boutique in the nicest town in North San Diego County. Similarly, his glasses were the best frames from the most expensive eye doctor.
     
    C'mon. Gates's glasses and his polo shirt and everything he is wearing cost .00000001% of his fortune. The man could afford to dress like Henry VIII if he wanted to, with ermine and silk and gold chains as thick as a rope and eyeglass frames made of pure platinum studded with diamonds. But in 2019 that would make him look like a rapper. Status in the modern world comes from other things, like giving away most of your money to help Africans.

    I think Bill Gates’s fashion tastes may be more dictated by the sort of stores he feels comfortable going into. If you’re that rich you probably feel uncomfortable shopping at the outlet mall. The staff in super high end stores have more discretion.

    On the other hand, he may have a shopper bring him a bunch of stuff to try on. If you’re a personal shopper for Bill Gates do you walk into his office with a bag from Target?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    A bunch of railroaders I know were over at the Nebraska Furniture Mart (in KCK) and swear that Bill Gates and Warren Buffett were walking through ( palookas discreetly following) and approached their wives to ask about the shopping experience they were having. I talked to several at different times and places and all had exactly the same story. Later I talked to someone who used to work there and he said Buffett was over there every once in a while. The railroaders had BNSF stuff on so Buffett may have felt more comfortable about approaching them.
  51. I had the same idea because of 2 cases :

    1) Anne Sinclair. She is not listed but has sold every 10 years a 30/50 millions painting and she is believed to have 200/400 of those. That would be around 10 bn.

    2) a girl I know whose mother has 180k sq m in posh Paris. It should be valued 1.8 bn . But her family doesn’t make a list of French people above 50M (it’s only professional wealth).

    • Replies: @Trevor H.
    That's a lot of land to own within the bounds of the city of Paris. I suppose it's not contiguous.
  52. @Benjaminl
    A recent book about the transatlantic marriage market, 1870-1914:

    https://quadrant.org.au/magazine/2019/01-02/panthers-on-the-prowl-in-london/

    In The Husband Hunters Anne de Courcy puts a well-researched focus on the seeming invasion between 1870 and 1914 of young American heiresses into the cash-strapped marriage markets of Europe and Britain, where over 450 of them married titled Europeans, 100 of them British aristocrats, including six dukes, the best catches of all. The number of these marriages peaked in 1895.
     
    Did the American girls mostly marry English, or did Continental titles have appeal as well?

    One of Hitler’s many complaints was that, to augment their fortunes, German noble families were choosing Jewish brides.

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
    Actually an extremely rare event. Truer perhaps of the Austrians, feckless incompetents that so many of them were.

    Count Arco-Valley, who shot Kurt Eisner dead in 1919, did so because the man was a "Jewish Bolshevik". Ironically enough, Arco was himself partly Jewish: his mother was a Baroness von Oppenheim. But the Oppenheims had converted, and perhaps the count considered himself thusly absolved.
  53. I’m aware the article isn’t even about the us, but reading it somehow makes me want to vote for Bernie Sanders.

    • LOL: Daniel H
  54. I’d love to find out more about Jan Six VI, although I think it would it lose its humor when translated back int Dutch

  55. @Old Palo Altan
    The museum is indeed free, but you can get in ahead of the tourist line if you know a friend of the family. I was able to jump the queue in precisely this fashion some five years ago. My cousin (of another famous old Amsterdam family) simply picked up the telephone, gave assurances, and I was in.

    I recommend it to one and all: contemplating Rembrandt's portrait, still hanging where it has hung since the family moved into the house in the early 19th century (their earlier house was demolished for a canal widening scheme) is a uniquely moving experience. Another magnificent portrait in the house, by Michiel van Mierevelt, as good in his way as Rembrandt was in his, hangs in another room nearby. Painted in 1610, it shows the sitter holding an embroidered and bejewelled glove in her hand. The guide, having rhapsodised about its beauty, then opens a drawer and pulls out - the very glove!

    Don't miss it.

    You recommend to one and all visiting in 2021 if one is able, or you recommend using personal connections to receive special treatment and bypass the wait ? Presumably the former to all, the latter, perhaps to maybe, one.

    Nonpareil humble-bragging commentary on this one. Surely at least one of your relatives slept with Grace Kelly when Prince Ranier was out of town, too? No?

    Incidentally, I don’t doubt your tales, really I do not; I just think it’s droll to see them spun so blithely.

    • Replies: @Kylie
    Old Palo Altan's anecdote about his private viewing reminded me of Andras Schiff examining Schubert's score in this documentary. I found it a profoundly moving experience. Like you, I'm more oriented to music than to painting (despite being one of those people who's overcome when viewing a Rothko).

    The relevant bit starts at 27:20:
    https://youtu.be/G4R-qf6E7XI
    , @Old Palo Altan
    Thank you for introducing me to Commander McBragg. I shall look up his further tales of daring do, and try in my small way to emulate him.

    His companion in the club: I know that look of desperation - my friends wear it almost continually when in my company.
  56. Well, so what? say the libertarians. It is perfectly alright for these people to have trillions of dollars socked away. Because they earned it.

    While the rest of us, who actually have jobs, starve.

    Yeah, that’s a real good ideology, libertarianism. Freedom for the rich people! Slavery for the rest! That’s really fair!

  57. Anonymous[286] • Disclaimer says:

    1. Rothschild was known as the richest family in the world.

    2. There is no evidence/paper trail that the fortune was ever lost.

    3. Yet the family doesn’t show up on any lists of modern richest in the world.

    DON’T ASK QUESTIONS. THERE IS NO HIDDEN WEALTH. ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW IS THAT IT DOESN’T EXIST.

    (In related news: The frigging Bilderberg Group hid in plain sight for the entire 20th century until Alex Jones forced the media to end the blackout)

    The Six family doesn’t appear to have real clout. The family who essentially owns Lichtenstein has real clout! Those people don’t need to bother with lawsuits against government bureaucrats. Government droogs never say diddly about Lichtenstein. Never.

    • Agree: James N. Kennett
    • Replies: @Maciano
    The Six family has been part of Dutch Patriciaat (Patrician families, similar to nobility) for a long time. They for sure had a lot of clout, especially in Amsterdam.

    https://www.bol.com/nl/f/the-many-lives-of-jan-six/9200000085183257/
  58. @Old Palo Altan
    This very odd creature is not a member of either of the ennobled branches of the family: the senior branch was given a barony for the eldest in each generation in 1820 (the other members of the family are "jonkheer"; while the junior branch (the one under discussion here) was ennobled 1n 1842, but without the title of baron (thus "jonkheer" only).
    This Tom is a good example of the very worst of what the Netherlands produces today, while his "cousin" Jan is indubitably an example of the very best. I hope he can persuade the art world that he is right about his Rembrandts-to-be.

    Thnx. Very interesting.

    I did read an interview with him in which he mentioned he was related.

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
    Is there a link?

    Some Dutch sources call him "Jonkheer", but that he certainly is not.
  59. Piketty is the quintessential modern European, focusing on the past while modernity has blown by. The closest thing we get in the US to this mindset is Northeastern provincialism.

    I don’t think these people understand just how much wealth is generated by tech. This type of wealth creates a large wake — like skyrocketing real estate, immigrants seeking the residual wealth, noticeable increase in $200K+ sports cars etc. This occurs even if the original founders sock it away.

    Outside of tech, the closest thing we see is oil, which produces the exact same effect, albeit on a smaller scale, from Dubai to Dallas.

    Piketty is basically saying there is enormous wealth — comparable to Silicon Valley money — buried under mattresses, somehow not creating residual financial effects in the local economy. I don’t buy this for a second.

    • Agree: Tyrion 2
    • Replies: @res

    Piketty is basically saying there is enormous wealth — comparable to Silicon Valley money — buried under mattresses, somehow not creating residual financial effects in the local economy. I don’t buy this for a second.
     
    It is hard to know for sure. There is a great deal of value tied up in non-wealth generating assets discovered and created over millenia (paintings being a good example, but much more like other art, jewels, high end collections of things like coins/stamps/cars, I'm sure others can come up with more).

    Where are all of these assets? Many have ended up in public collections--largely for tax or income producing reasons, and the Six collection looks like an interesting hybrid here. But I find it plausible there is much more out there (e.g. see Anne Sinclair comment above). And what better way to hide assets from the taxman than small, high value, easily portable assets many of which have collector chic value (which I think is important at these levels of wealth and exclusivity, Old Palo Altan, what do you think?).

    It is worth forgoing significant income if one can avoid confiscatory levels of death duty.

    One complex dynamic here is how growth in the value creating economy creates wealth which increases the value (given scarcity) of these assets.
    , @ben tillman

    Piketty is basically saying there is enormous wealth — comparable to Silicon Valley money — buried under mattresses, somehow not creating residual financial effects in the local economy.
     
    He's saying no such thing.
    , @James N. Kennett

    Piketty is basically saying there is enormous wealth — comparable to Silicon Valley money — buried under mattresses, somehow not creating residual financial effects in the local economy. I don’t buy this for a second.
     
    There is wealth of that magnitude and more, sequestered in offshore trusts whose beneficiaries are secret. An example: Pablo Escobar used to appear on the Rich Lists. Now he is dead, but the worldwide demand for cocaine generates a revenue stream that did not go away when Escobar died: its beneficiaries are simply more discreet than he was.
  60. Anon[900] • Disclaimer says:
    @Old Palo Altan
    The museum is indeed free, but you can get in ahead of the tourist line if you know a friend of the family. I was able to jump the queue in precisely this fashion some five years ago. My cousin (of another famous old Amsterdam family) simply picked up the telephone, gave assurances, and I was in.

    I recommend it to one and all: contemplating Rembrandt's portrait, still hanging where it has hung since the family moved into the house in the early 19th century (their earlier house was demolished for a canal widening scheme) is a uniquely moving experience. Another magnificent portrait in the house, by Michiel van Mierevelt, as good in his way as Rembrandt was in his, hangs in another room nearby. Painted in 1610, it shows the sitter holding an embroidered and bejewelled glove in her hand. The guide, having rhapsodised about its beauty, then opens a drawer and pulls out - the very glove!

    Don't miss it.

    The museum is indeed free, but you can get in ahead of the tourist line if you know a friend of the family. I was able to jump the queue in precisely this fashion some five years ago. My cousin (of another famous old Amsterdam family) simply picked up the telephone, gave assurances, and I was in.

    A capital idea, old chap. I shall have my man telephone cousin Maximilian forthwith.

  61. I’ve seen people on /pol/ claim that old European banking families are really the richest people in the world and consciously hide it from the public. I don’t know, but it’s funny to see that Piketty agrees.

  62. he one time I (knowingly) saw Bill Gates in public he was semi-incognito with his hood over his head and his eyes down in Pioneer Square. Must have been sometime in the mid-90s.

    Anyway, I startled him because when I recognized him I involuntarily gave him a hard look, because I wasn’t expecting to see Bill Gates just walking around town all by himself.

    He was wearing blue jeans and a typical Seattle outdoors jacket, so nothing out of the ordinary there, but he had on a pair of nice leather boots that must have cost a pretty penny. That’s the one thing about him that stood out: his designer cowboy boots. You don’t see many people wearing those in Seattle.

    • Replies: @El Dato
    It's dangerous to be associated to an amoral company that sits on a cash hoard, destroys valuable alternative products, generally makes people suffer and burst into fits of rage and forces them to open the portemonnaie for a product that used to work just perfectly yesterday.

    http://www.angryflower.com/antivi.gif
  63. OT: Allegedly, another flaming, posing, civilization-destroying, islam-importing, world-saving, US-policy-kowtowing, (((money)))-sniffing, on-camera-anguish-signaling, genital mutilation okaying, (((hectoring))), crazed-ethnomasochistic-pinkfringe-supporting, child-bombing, Middle Eastern nasty country supporting, possibly entirely sociopathic and internally hollow “liberal” gets his comeuppance.

    Surprise! ‘Progressive hero’ Justin Trudeau is a fraud and a hypocrite

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    I went for the details of the scandal, I lingered for the associated story "Banana-Sucking Pop Singer Jailed for Video ‘Harmful to Egyptian Morality.’"

    The Russians even have better click-bait than we do.
  64. @Jake
    Yes, there is a lot more semi-hidden Old Money than most people think. And as with the Sox family, this old money comes overwhelmingly from trade., from commerce. The Modern world destroyed wealth from land, and then destroyed life living on land. The victors were the businessmen who operated ships, railroads, airlines, etc.

    I remember a scene from a TV show that had a railroad going through some aristocrat’s lands in England. The lady aristocrat is looking out the window of her manor house and watching the railroad go through. I wondered why the aristocrats didn’t have enough political power to make the railroad go somewhere else.

    Thomas Hardy and other writers were writing about the railroads in England. Just saw on the internet a poem about railroads by Hardy, I’ll read that.

    Oil and refining oil on Delaware Bay brought in the loot too.

    William the Conqueror had the right idea about ruling class decapitation. White Core Nationalists must financially liquidate those plutocrats who don’t go along with the program. Maybe some old money would like to see the new money get taken out.

    The answer to 1984 is 1066.

    This internet censorship and de-platforming stuff ends when the internet plutocrats doing it get the William the Conqueror treatment. I have Norman ancestry and I would love to financially liquidate some of these new money anti-White internet plutocrat rats.

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
    I remember the program you mention, and indeed that very scene.

    I watched one of the episodes with a scion of an old and still landed family. During that episode a boy who is found to be talented is sent off to be educated properly - by the very woman watching the train.
    I said (those who don't like my anecdotes can look away now): "Splendid. Equality of opportunity, not outcome". My aristocratic friend replied: "Nonsense. Giving the fellow ideas above his station".

    Let me know when your William the Conqueror treatment gets going, and I'll send you his address. He'd like nothing better than to help you lop off the heads of the uppity nouveaus riches.

  65. OT2: Another attack of the Incontinent Flying Swastika.

    12yo arrested for writing ‘Hail Hitler’ on school playground (PHOTOS)

    “I am appalled and disgusted by the Swastikas and other anti-Semitic symbols of hate that were scrawled in a Queens schoolyard,” Cuomo said in a statement before the arrest. “In New York, we have zero tolerance for such vile acts of anti-Semitism.”

    I guess the overall Swasticost of that investigation is already reaching 10K+ USD.

    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    El Dato, I will kick in for the kid's bail money and spray paint if he will just write "Cuomo suks a big one" on a Thruway bridge abutment.
    , @Trevor H.
    12 y/o seems a bit young for ruining the boy's life, but rules are rules and he broke the biggest one, right? Any hint about the boy's ethnicity perchance?
  66. Piketty, being French, knows whereof he speaks re old hidden money

    Quite common in continental Europe, where families are used to how wealth needs to be well-hidden at times, as conquering armies and confiscatory regimes come and go

    Hiding things from the Nazis was merely one instance amongst many

    Invited into an old family’s house, you often see valuable art … much gold is hidden in Europe too

    Europeans have been at this a long time, and are much less braggart boastful about what is owned … as with firearms

    There are maybe 75-100 million legally-owned (or deeply hidden) civilian firearms in the EU, and yet there is very little internet bluster about it, to the point that USA people often imagine ‘guns are banned in Europe’

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    Wm Burroughs' muse, Brion Gysin, won a MacArthur Genius grant (back when it was legitimate) to establish French participation in the Enlightened African slave trade beyond what is popularly known. The data was in these Zanuck-ready mouldering tomes, themselves secreted in the novelesque estates of surviving old money families. This was apparently an understood thing but nobody had nailed it down to the point where you could write a book about it.
    The French saw Gysin coming two kilometers off and stymied him in top shelf nosh and elegant but pointless conversation, and Gysin was never able to complete his mission. But it is accepted that there was French involvement in slave-shipping and that they get a pass because, like with third world racism, SJWs don't speak the language.
    , @Alden
    A lot of the privately owned hidden firearms in Europe in the last 70 years were acquired from American army bases. It’s amazing how many firearms walked off the bases into European homes. Plus cigarettes and other things
    , @prosa123
    There are maybe 75-100 million legally-owned (or deeply hidden) civilian firearms in the EU, and yet there is very little internet bluster about it, to the point that USA people often imagine ‘guns are banned in Europe’

    To the best of my knowledge no European country bans the civilian ownership of all firearms. Most countries have stricter licensing requirements than in the US, and some restrictions on firearm types, but no outright bans.
    Britain is a semi-exception with most handguns being banned. The one part of the United Kingdom that allows handgun ownership is Northern Ireland, which is rather odd given its history.
    , @Joe Stalin
    "There are maybe 75-100 million legally-owned (or deeply hidden) civilian firearms in the EU, and yet there is very little internet bluster about it, to the point that USA people often imagine ‘guns are banned in Europe’"

    Actually, we think of Euros as having all their useful-for-militia guns as REGISTERED as thus immediately located by the your governments. Guns that aren't useful for militia, and by that I mean magazine-fed, military caliber, semi/ full auto will be of odd-ball sporting or obsolescent calibers. Ammunition will begin to start going bad ("hang fires") after around six or seven decades.

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

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pC4Gqvd7T1s

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sM2zPe_D4io
  67. @joeyjoejoe
    ‘...after a lifetime of fiddling with eyeglass frames that start self-destructing after a few months.’

    that is my conscious decision as well. i buy a new set of reading glasses every six months or so-at walmart, for the grand price of $7.

    that way, i don’t worry about dropping/losing/scratching/forgetting/or sitting on them. plus, i can have a pair at my desk/by my bed/in my backpack/wherever else i need one because i inevitably forget them. if my eyes/prescription change, i’m only out $7. and i don’t have to make yet another important decision that i don’t really care about: do these glasses look good (if they don’t, i’ll get new ones in six months anyway-it’s like a haircut). glasses are yet another thing i have to worry about (with wallet, phone, keys, i’d cards or security cards for controlled entry to jobs, and so on and so on). at that price, i don’t worry about them that much.

    my vision care costs me about $14/year.

    joe

    You are being overcharged by about 100%

  68. @Bill P
    he one time I (knowingly) saw Bill Gates in public he was semi-incognito with his hood over his head and his eyes down in Pioneer Square. Must have been sometime in the mid-90s.

    Anyway, I startled him because when I recognized him I involuntarily gave him a hard look, because I wasn't expecting to see Bill Gates just walking around town all by himself.

    He was wearing blue jeans and a typical Seattle outdoors jacket, so nothing out of the ordinary there, but he had on a pair of nice leather boots that must have cost a pretty penny. That's the one thing about him that stood out: his designer cowboy boots. You don't see many people wearing those in Seattle.

    It’s dangerous to be associated to an amoral company that sits on a cash hoard, destroys valuable alternative products, generally makes people suffer and burst into fits of rage and forces them to open the portemonnaie for a product that used to work just perfectly yesterday.

  69. In my experience the best eye glass frames are French.

    My current Jean LaFont “Pantheon” pair never need adjusting and look great.

  70. I think Piketty is right in essence but wrong in magnitude. There’s probably a number of people who wield clandestine power and influence whose inherited wealth is just below the level of the Forbes list. $100 million or more is still enough to get one’s way in a lot of matters.

    The English Earl Cadogan, despite his fame, comes to mind. He’s richer than Trump because his family has owned a couple neighborhoods in London for a few hundred years. His descendants will live comfortably and be politically influential in perpetuity. How many thousands of little Cadogans must there be across Europe and in the older cities of the US?

    • Replies: @anon
    Wasn't Piketty's whole point about magnitude? Namely, the magnitude of capital ROI surpasses economic growth over the long-term?

    Without that, he doesn't have a real argument.
    , @Merde
    My great aunt was the victim of scammers when she became convinced that she was an heir to the mythical Edwards fortune. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Edwards_(pirate)
  71. @Realist
    OT:

    Trump's talks with Kim Jong-un ended without a deal. Trump wanted NK to give up it's nukes before sanctions are lifted. NK should have demanded that if it gave up all of it's nukes, the US would end all sanctions and remove all of it's nukes from SK.

    The talks should be between South Korea and the Norks. I don’t see what the US interest is beyond whatever the S Koreans want.

    • Agree: Realist
  72. @Autochthon
    You recommend to one and all visiting in 2021 if one is able, or you recommend using personal connections to receive special treatment and bypass the wait ? Presumably the former to all, the latter, perhaps to maybe, one.

    Nonpareil humble-bragging commentary on this one. Surely at least one of your relatives slept with Grace Kelly when Prince Ranier was out of town, too? No?

    https://youtu.be/8xi-6MUz06w

    Incidentally, I don't doubt your tales, really I do not; I just think it's droll to see them spun so blithely.

    Old Palo Altan’s anecdote about his private viewing reminded me of Andras Schiff examining Schubert’s score in this documentary. I found it a profoundly moving experience. Like you, I’m more oriented to music than to painting (despite being one of those people who’s overcome when viewing a Rothko).

    The relevant bit starts at 27:20:

    • Replies: @Vinteuil
    Schiff András is certainly a talented performer, but I find that bit of the documentary really strange. He gets all choked up about the physical appearance, including the stain left by some spilled coffee (or whatever) on the manuscript of one of Schubert's lesser piano sonatas.

    I mean, what's up with that? Would Schubert be pleased by this?

    It's almost as crazy as being "overcome when viewing a Rothko."
  73. @Maciano
    Thnx. Very interesting.

    I did read an interview with him in which he mentioned he was related.

    Is there a link?

    Some Dutch sources call him “Jonkheer”, but that he certainly is not.

  74. This is the pseudo-intellectual equivalent if “my budget plan is to win the lottery.” We have more than enough money for responsible government in established sources, and there is not enough money for Piketty’s irresponsible fantasy governments, even if every technical-Wasp in rural New England is richer than Buffett.
    But to be an evil internet Nazi, you vant to aggressively zeek out undeclart private vealt? Really? Dat’s your plan, in dis country? You don’t zee vat dis vould immediately become? You know, the left no longer talks about “de one per cent” because people started talking about vho specifically dat vas. But by all means please proceed. Rember to close your hearts to mercy and all dat.

  75. @Old Palo Altan
    The museum is indeed free, but you can get in ahead of the tourist line if you know a friend of the family. I was able to jump the queue in precisely this fashion some five years ago. My cousin (of another famous old Amsterdam family) simply picked up the telephone, gave assurances, and I was in.

    I recommend it to one and all: contemplating Rembrandt's portrait, still hanging where it has hung since the family moved into the house in the early 19th century (their earlier house was demolished for a canal widening scheme) is a uniquely moving experience. Another magnificent portrait in the house, by Michiel van Mierevelt, as good in his way as Rembrandt was in his, hangs in another room nearby. Painted in 1610, it shows the sitter holding an embroidered and bejewelled glove in her hand. The guide, having rhapsodised about its beauty, then opens a drawer and pulls out - the very glove!

    Don't miss it.

    still hanging where it has hung since the family moved into the house in the early 19th century (their earlier house was demolished for a canal widening scheme)

    Any idea if it was stolen during WWII and returned later? If not, how did they manage that?

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
    Don't believe the propaganda. The Nazis took from the Jews, but not from families who were 1) not Jewish, and 2) behaved themselves.
  76. @Brabantian
    Piketty, being French, knows whereof he speaks re old hidden money

    Quite common in continental Europe, where families are used to how wealth needs to be well-hidden at times, as conquering armies and confiscatory regimes come and go

    Hiding things from the Nazis was merely one instance amongst many

    Invited into an old family's house, you often see valuable art ... much gold is hidden in Europe too

    Europeans have been at this a long time, and are much less braggart boastful about what is owned ... as with firearms

    There are maybe 75-100 million legally-owned (or deeply hidden) civilian firearms in the EU, and yet there is very little internet bluster about it, to the point that USA people often imagine 'guns are banned in Europe'

    Wm Burroughs’ muse, Brion Gysin, won a MacArthur Genius grant (back when it was legitimate) to establish French participation in the Enlightened African slave trade beyond what is popularly known. The data was in these Zanuck-ready mouldering tomes, themselves secreted in the novelesque estates of surviving old money families. This was apparently an understood thing but nobody had nailed it down to the point where you could write a book about it.
    The French saw Gysin coming two kilometers off and stymied him in top shelf nosh and elegant but pointless conversation, and Gysin was never able to complete his mission. But it is accepted that there was French involvement in slave-shipping and that they get a pass because, like with third world racism, SJWs don’t speak the language.

  77. @Speculator
    Piketty is the quintessential modern European, focusing on the past while modernity has blown by. The closest thing we get in the US to this mindset is Northeastern provincialism.

    I don't think these people understand just how much wealth is generated by tech. This type of wealth creates a large wake -- like skyrocketing real estate, immigrants seeking the residual wealth, noticeable increase in $200K+ sports cars etc. This occurs even if the original founders sock it away.

    Outside of tech, the closest thing we see is oil, which produces the exact same effect, albeit on a smaller scale, from Dubai to Dallas.

    Piketty is basically saying there is enormous wealth -- comparable to Silicon Valley money -- buried under mattresses, somehow not creating residual financial effects in the local economy. I don't buy this for a second.

    Piketty is basically saying there is enormous wealth — comparable to Silicon Valley money — buried under mattresses, somehow not creating residual financial effects in the local economy. I don’t buy this for a second.

    It is hard to know for sure. There is a great deal of value tied up in non-wealth generating assets discovered and created over millenia (paintings being a good example, but much more like other art, jewels, high end collections of things like coins/stamps/cars, I’m sure others can come up with more).

    Where are all of these assets? Many have ended up in public collections–largely for tax or income producing reasons, and the Six collection looks like an interesting hybrid here. But I find it plausible there is much more out there (e.g. see Anne Sinclair comment above). And what better way to hide assets from the taxman than small, high value, easily portable assets many of which have collector chic value (which I think is important at these levels of wealth and exclusivity, Old Palo Altan, what do you think?).

    It is worth forgoing significant income if one can avoid confiscatory levels of death duty.

    One complex dynamic here is how growth in the value creating economy creates wealth which increases the value (given scarcity) of these assets.

    • Replies: @Speculator
    But this would run contrary to Pickety's main thesis. Think about it. If all of this shadow wealth is stored in "non-wealth generating assets", then in the long-run, economic growth reduces its relative share of the pie to a small fraction.

    If Pickety is correct, then the people who hoard this wealth should be the largest stakeholders in the economy. But they aren't. They may be politically influential and good at preserving their wealth, but those are different issues.

    Also, for every hereditary billionaire not on the Forbes 400, it is equally likely, there is an oil/tech/industry billionaire mogul, who keeps his name off the list as well. Woodside, CA and Plano, TX have plenty of people who would qualify for the list, but who also like their privacy and want to avoid scrutiny.
  78. Clown Circus

  79. @Anthony Wayne
    I think Piketty is right in essence but wrong in magnitude. There’s probably a number of people who wield clandestine power and influence whose inherited wealth is just below the level of the Forbes list. $100 million or more is still enough to get one’s way in a lot of matters.

    The English Earl Cadogan, despite his fame, comes to mind. He’s richer than Trump because his family has owned a couple neighborhoods in London for a few hundred years. His descendants will live comfortably and be politically influential in perpetuity. How many thousands of little Cadogans must there be across Europe and in the older cities of the US?

    Wasn’t Piketty’s whole point about magnitude? Namely, the magnitude of capital ROI surpasses economic growth over the long-term?

    Without that, he doesn’t have a real argument.

  80. @Jack D
    "450 of them married titled Europeans, 100 of them British aristocrats"

    So most went for Continentals. I think there were a lot more of those than British (Germany was well supplied with all sorts of princelings - they supplied the British royal family for centuries) plus more of them were running out of money at that time, especially the Italians.

    (Germany was well supplied with all sorts of princelings – they supplied the British royal family for centuries)

    And the Russian royal family. Nicholas II had very little actual Russian blood.

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
    Until the detestable result of the damnable First World War, the Germans really did rule the world.
  81. @Cortes
    Big yellow taxi family

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thurn_und_Taxis

    The livery of the Spanish postal service is still yellow.

    See also The Crying of Lot 49.

  82. My reader pointed out that Gates’ polo shirts, however, weren’t $16.99 ones from Costco, they were the finest brand sold by the best boutique in the nicest town in North San Diego County.

    I noticed the same thing about one of Jim Henson’s kids, whom I “ran into”. She looked like everyone else from far away, but when you got up close…

    On the other hand, old money has a tendency over the generations to dispense with the dull, grubby work of making money and instead concentrate on the more refined pleasures such as spending money…

    Yeah, the first guy is a miser. After that, it regression from the mean.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I know somebody who works with a son-in-law of a famous billionaire. The son-in-law works hard at a full time middle income job, he just takes very expensive vacations of the Flying Off to Tierra Del Fuego to See the Eclipse kind.
  83. @Old Palo Altan
    One of my more distant American cousins married the Prince di Poggio Suasa, an Italian nobleman of the Ruspoli family who was twice Mayor of Rome. I knew their granddaughter, who married the eldest son of King Alfonso XIII of Spain. This couple's son married Franco's granddaughter, and their son is acclaimed as Louis XX, rightful King of France, by strict legitimists.

    So that’s how you got to meet Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis.

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
    No. I get to know her because we are both traditional Catholics.
  84. @Brabantian
    Piketty, being French, knows whereof he speaks re old hidden money

    Quite common in continental Europe, where families are used to how wealth needs to be well-hidden at times, as conquering armies and confiscatory regimes come and go

    Hiding things from the Nazis was merely one instance amongst many

    Invited into an old family's house, you often see valuable art ... much gold is hidden in Europe too

    Europeans have been at this a long time, and are much less braggart boastful about what is owned ... as with firearms

    There are maybe 75-100 million legally-owned (or deeply hidden) civilian firearms in the EU, and yet there is very little internet bluster about it, to the point that USA people often imagine 'guns are banned in Europe'

    A lot of the privately owned hidden firearms in Europe in the last 70 years were acquired from American army bases. It’s amazing how many firearms walked off the bases into European homes. Plus cigarettes and other things

  85. OT, but from the Daily Mail: EXCLUSIVE: ‘I don’t want gays around, I don’t like f****ts.’ Nigerian brother in Jussie Smollett scandal ‘nearly came to blows in a screaming match with a gay extra on the set of Empire over his homophobic bashing’?

    This could be the route Smollett’s lawyers are planning on taking: acknowledge that the brothers did it, but claim that it was a gay-bashing. The phone call beforehand could be explained as Smollett talking to the brothers about his training program, and then adding “OK guys, I’m getting hungry, so despite the hour and the freezing cold weather I think imma head out to Subway for one of their delicious sandwiches. Just so you’ll know where I am.”

    (I know, that’s pretty lame. But can you come up with anything better?)

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    Hilarious, just like CB4: "We're not rapping about women, we're rapping about bitches," or the almost all-female intro to sociology class that unanimously rejected the female professor's objections to the videogame Grand Theft Auto: "You're not killing women, you're killing whores."
  86. @Old Palo Altan
    The museum is indeed free, but you can get in ahead of the tourist line if you know a friend of the family. I was able to jump the queue in precisely this fashion some five years ago. My cousin (of another famous old Amsterdam family) simply picked up the telephone, gave assurances, and I was in.

    I recommend it to one and all: contemplating Rembrandt's portrait, still hanging where it has hung since the family moved into the house in the early 19th century (their earlier house was demolished for a canal widening scheme) is a uniquely moving experience. Another magnificent portrait in the house, by Michiel van Mierevelt, as good in his way as Rembrandt was in his, hangs in another room nearby. Painted in 1610, it shows the sitter holding an embroidered and bejewelled glove in her hand. The guide, having rhapsodised about its beauty, then opens a drawer and pulls out - the very glove!

    Don't miss it.

    I recommend it to one and all

    Yo can you hook a brotha up?

  87. @Ben H
    Lots of money does not necessarily equal influence right away. For the "entrepreneurs", most of their wealth is locked up in the corporations that they own. Unless their company pays them dividends a lot of their spending money is probably bank loans against their massive stock holdings.

    It's subsequent generations which are able to use the entrepreneurs money to become supremely influential. The Rockefellers are the best example: the members of their family are still billionaires, but just a couple billion each. But their tremendously malign influence over the past 70 years is unsurpassed.

    Gates has managed to bridge the gap by being influential within his own lifetime (obviously malign, empty people like that can do no other).

    Incorrect* David Rockefeller was the last billionaire of his line, dying maybe a year ago with 2 or 3 billion at over 100 years of age. Left about half to the various arts and charities hed supported for many years.

    Rockefeller family likely has many deca and a centa millionaire or two. Estimates are about 200 of the extended family still have some financial link to the fortune, trusts etc. which are run through a family office that David formed.

    A better example along those lines are the Duponts and Mellons. Still have 10-15 billion spread out among hundreds and even thousands of cousins etc.

    • Replies: @Ed
    The Duponts, similar to the Rothschilds, practiced cousin marriage early on, so that also helped to keep their fortune intact.
  88. “… there is far more semi-hidden Old Money than is reported in Forbes magazine lists of rich people ….”

    Perhaps, but I bought a fixer-upper chateau in France for probably one-twentieth of its original cost when adjusted for inflation. A lot of old money simply dissipates over time.

    • Replies: @Trevor H.
    NB: buying a "fixer-upper chateau" in France is a particularly effective way to run through whatever money you may have remaining.

    Separately: The amount of bragging going on in this thread verges on the pathetic.

  89. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:

    Similarly, his glasses were the best frames from the most expensive eye doctor. (By the way, about five years ago, after a lifetime of fiddling with eyeglass frames that start self-destructing after a few months, I splurged for the best eyeglass frames at my Costco, Italian-made titanium YSL frames.

    An Italian company called Luxottica basically has a monopoly on all the glasses you can buy from the expensive designer labels to the more affordable brands, hence the huge markups:

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/anaswanson/2014/09/10/meet-the-four-eyed-eight-tentacled-monopoly-that-is-making-your-glasses-so-expensive/

  90. I am always impressed that Lord Salisbury was Prime Minister three hundred years after his direct ancestors William and Robert Cecil were chief ministers to Elizabeth I.

    • Agree: Philip Owen
    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
    It's called civilisation. It ended in 1918.
    , @Philip Owen
    They churned out a Professor at Cambridge too last century. One of them was Leader of the House of Lords just before the hereditarily were reduced in number under the last Labour government. I think he ended up leading them. The Cecil's claimed to marry for intelligence not money.
  91. @res

    Piketty is basically saying there is enormous wealth — comparable to Silicon Valley money — buried under mattresses, somehow not creating residual financial effects in the local economy. I don’t buy this for a second.
     
    It is hard to know for sure. There is a great deal of value tied up in non-wealth generating assets discovered and created over millenia (paintings being a good example, but much more like other art, jewels, high end collections of things like coins/stamps/cars, I'm sure others can come up with more).

    Where are all of these assets? Many have ended up in public collections--largely for tax or income producing reasons, and the Six collection looks like an interesting hybrid here. But I find it plausible there is much more out there (e.g. see Anne Sinclair comment above). And what better way to hide assets from the taxman than small, high value, easily portable assets many of which have collector chic value (which I think is important at these levels of wealth and exclusivity, Old Palo Altan, what do you think?).

    It is worth forgoing significant income if one can avoid confiscatory levels of death duty.

    One complex dynamic here is how growth in the value creating economy creates wealth which increases the value (given scarcity) of these assets.

    But this would run contrary to Pickety’s main thesis. Think about it. If all of this shadow wealth is stored in “non-wealth generating assets”, then in the long-run, economic growth reduces its relative share of the pie to a small fraction.

    If Pickety is correct, then the people who hoard this wealth should be the largest stakeholders in the economy. But they aren’t. They may be politically influential and good at preserving their wealth, but those are different issues.

    Also, for every hereditary billionaire not on the Forbes 400, it is equally likely, there is an oil/tech/industry billionaire mogul, who keeps his name off the list as well. Woodside, CA and Plano, TX have plenty of people who would qualify for the list, but who also like their privacy and want to avoid scrutiny.

    • Replies: @res

    If all of this shadow wealth is stored in “non-wealth generating assets”, then in the long-run, economic growth reduces its relative share of the pie to a small fraction.
     
    You clearly failed either to read or to understand the last sentence of my comment. And if the pie is really increasing (and not just experiencing inflation) what's the problem with continuing to be worth a billion real dollars in the future? Rather than being Jeff Bezos and worth tens of billions (just checked $134.8B, yow).


    If Pickety is correct, then the people who hoard this wealth should be the largest stakeholders in the economy.
     
    Why? Does he ever say that? See $1 vs. $134.8 billion comment above.

    Also, for every hereditary billionaire not on the Forbes 400, it is equally likely, there is an oil/tech/industry billionaire mogul, who keeps his name off the list as well. Woodside, CA and Plano, TX have plenty of people who would qualify for the list, but who also like their privacy and want to avoid scrutiny.
     
    That seems reasonable. To my mind that adds to Piketty's point rather than detracts from it.
  92. The biggest issue is that grand estates are ruinously expensive to maintain. Heirs have to come up with creative solutions such as opening a zoo, converting some to a hotel or doing a deal with the National Trust with most of the property subsequently opened up to visitors. In France there are many chateaus for sale for a couple of hundred thousand dollars.

  93. @Autochthon
    I'm not very knowledgable about painting, sculpture, and other visual arts at all (i
    I've always been more involved and talented at music, theatre, cinema, and literature).

    Will an expert please educate me:

    Why is it some are conventionally referred to by their surnames (which I'd have thought the common default) but others their Christian names even when both names are known? Leonardo da Vinci seems to, oddly, be referred to by either, though probably a little more by his surname:

    - Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni
    - Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn
    - William Hogarth
    - Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (usually Anglicised to "Raphael," of course)
    - Vincent Van Gogh
    - Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi (Anglicised to "Donatello")

    And so on.

    We don't speak in one breath of Alfred, Wolfgang, and Henrik but in the next of Welles, Bach, and Congreve – but we do the equivalent with painters. How come?

    Is it only because the Italian and Dutch surnames are difficult to English ears and tongues? And if that's so, why then don't ee study the great philosopher Søren or the philologist Jonathan? The novels of Fyodor? Heaven only knows how often people bastardise and butcher the pronunciation and spelling of the names Kierkegaard, Tolkien, and Dostoyevsky! (And what of Van Gogh? Why doesn't he get to be Vincent? He's got a weird Dutch surname too!)

    Is it because some masters were so great they earned the honour of being known by tjeir Christian names alone, a bit like Elvis Presley did? That seems more a phenomenon in modern, popular culture than any way for scholars to discuss masters. After all, while we do speak of "The Bard (of Avon)," we don't speak of "William."

    (I understand with the likes of Aeschylus and Ovid they did not have, or we do not know, their surnames; things were easier before the overpopulation began in earnest....)

    I thank any who will educate me, and I beg Steve's pardon for the tangential but sincere questions.

    Why is it some are conventionally referred to by their surnames (which I’d have thought the common default) but others their Christian names even when both names are known?

    Isn’t it just a matter of time period? The last you mention who’s known mostly by his first name (Rembrandt) was born in 1606. The first you mention who’s known mostly by his surname (Hogarth) was born in 1697.

  94. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:
    @Sean

    Bill Gates famously intends to give away vast amounts of money through his Gates Foundation. I suspect, like the Six family, that his descendants will have pretty nice lives presiding over this vast foundation
     
    Gates is simply a 24 billion tax evader and free-rider on his own country masquerading as a global philanthropist. Tax cannot reduce inequality, because people like Gates never lose control over how their money is spent.

    Also his entire fortune is built on a network effect monopoly, rather than a superior technical product. People have had to use Windows and other Microsoft products like Office because everyone else uses it. The original MS-DOS was purchased by Gates from a lone, independent programmer. Gates’s father was a lawyer, and his mother had connections to IBM, which is the sort of background that would clue him in to exploit network effects.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    IBM (knowing that it could never produce an operating system in house for the new IBM PC that it was designing - it would have cost them billions and taken forever) went to CP/M - then the leading OS for Intel based PCs. The CP/M guy told them that he was busy and to come back later and to go away and not bother him, etc. - something like that . The #1 stupidest business decision in all of history. So IBM had to keep looking.

    Gates was already selling them Microsoft Basic and they asked him if he had an operating system and he said sure, absolutely, funny you should ask, we've been working on a new PC operating system. I'll be glad to give you a demo next week, you'll really love it, it's a great operating system with many interesting features and I think it is just what you need, etc. He had no OS. But rule #1 of customer service is never turn a customer away - they may leave and never come back. So the instant he hung up the phone he called around desperately to find one and made a deal to buy it outright for what must have seemed like a good price to the seller (#2 stupidest business decision in all of history). Of course not mentioning that IBM was interested. So you can see that Gates was a very shrewd businessman.

  95. @Benjaminl
    A recent book about the transatlantic marriage market, 1870-1914:

    https://quadrant.org.au/magazine/2019/01-02/panthers-on-the-prowl-in-london/

    In The Husband Hunters Anne de Courcy puts a well-researched focus on the seeming invasion between 1870 and 1914 of young American heiresses into the cash-strapped marriage markets of Europe and Britain, where over 450 of them married titled Europeans, 100 of them British aristocrats, including six dukes, the best catches of all. The number of these marriages peaked in 1895.
     
    Did the American girls mostly marry English, or did Continental titles have appeal as well?

    Jenny Jerome, the mother of Winston Churchill was one of these women. Her father, Leonard Jerome got rich in the Newspaper business, and her mother, who I think was Iroquois Indian, brought her and her sister to Europe. She and Lord Randolph fell in love that the rest was history . . . except they both seemed to have done a lot of side-banging.

  96. @Old Palo Altan
    The museum is indeed free, but you can get in ahead of the tourist line if you know a friend of the family. I was able to jump the queue in precisely this fashion some five years ago. My cousin (of another famous old Amsterdam family) simply picked up the telephone, gave assurances, and I was in.

    I recommend it to one and all: contemplating Rembrandt's portrait, still hanging where it has hung since the family moved into the house in the early 19th century (their earlier house was demolished for a canal widening scheme) is a uniquely moving experience. Another magnificent portrait in the house, by Michiel van Mierevelt, as good in his way as Rembrandt was in his, hangs in another room nearby. Painted in 1610, it shows the sitter holding an embroidered and bejewelled glove in her hand. The guide, having rhapsodised about its beauty, then opens a drawer and pulls out - the very glove!

    Don't miss it.

    I was able to jump the queue in precisely this fashion some five years ago. My cousin (of another famous old Amsterdam family) simply picked up the telephone, gave assurances, and I was in.

    I recommend it to one and all…

    I hate you! I totally hate you! /jk

    • Replies: @Trevor H.
    Finally, the reaxn OPA was gunning 4
    , @Old Palo Altan
    Let me know via this site when you next plan to be in that great city and I'll get you in too.
  97. @tyrone
    OR….did democrat back-biting during the summit make Trump look weak and unstable in Kim's eyes .

    OR….did democrat back-biting during the summit make Trump look weak and unstable in Kim’s eyes .

    I ‘m sure that played a part.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    The last major Democratic Party contribution to the Korean situation was to hand large amounts of fissionable material over to the Norks (of course, the first was to kick it all off).
  98. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:
    @Sean

    Status in the modern world comes from other things, like giving away most of your money to help Africans.
     
    No. Saying you will, while retaining control over it does because that is how the game is played. If Gates had actually given away most of his money then he would be definitely lower in status.

    He is really clever, but I suppose everything is thought out by a team advising him on how to talk (especially about his wealth), how to dress, and even body language.

    He is really clever, but I suppose everything is thought out by a team advising him on how to talk (especially about his wealth), how to dress, and even body language.

    He just appeared on The Late Show recently, in response to the various proposals being floated about recently about taxing the rich. Obviously his appearance wasn’t a coincidence. He and his PR team presumably reached out to The Late Show to make an appearance. Gates’s response to Piketty and the various other recent proposals is to promote consumption taxes instead, which is regressive relative to wealth taxes.

  99. @Realist
    OT:

    Trump's talks with Kim Jong-un ended without a deal. Trump wanted NK to give up it's nukes before sanctions are lifted. NK should have demanded that if it gave up all of it's nukes, the US would end all sanctions and remove all of it's nukes from SK.

    The apostrophes! They burn!

    • Agree: Autochthon
  100. @dvorak

    The man could afford to dress like Henry VIII if he wanted to, with ermine and silk and gold chains as thick as a rope and eyeglass frames made of pure platinum studded with diamonds. But in 2019 that would make him look like a rapper.
     
    Billgates should hire Seattle's Sir Mix-A-Lot as his stylist.

    Does Mr. Gates like big butts?

  101. @Autochthon
    I'm not very knowledgable about painting, sculpture, and other visual arts at all (i
    I've always been more involved and talented at music, theatre, cinema, and literature).

    Will an expert please educate me:

    Why is it some are conventionally referred to by their surnames (which I'd have thought the common default) but others their Christian names even when both names are known? Leonardo da Vinci seems to, oddly, be referred to by either, though probably a little more by his surname:

    - Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni
    - Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn
    - William Hogarth
    - Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (usually Anglicised to "Raphael," of course)
    - Vincent Van Gogh
    - Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi (Anglicised to "Donatello")

    And so on.

    We don't speak in one breath of Alfred, Wolfgang, and Henrik but in the next of Welles, Bach, and Congreve – but we do the equivalent with painters. How come?

    Is it only because the Italian and Dutch surnames are difficult to English ears and tongues? And if that's so, why then don't ee study the great philosopher Søren or the philologist Jonathan? The novels of Fyodor? Heaven only knows how often people bastardise and butcher the pronunciation and spelling of the names Kierkegaard, Tolkien, and Dostoyevsky! (And what of Van Gogh? Why doesn't he get to be Vincent? He's got a weird Dutch surname too!)

    Is it because some masters were so great they earned the honour of being known by tjeir Christian names alone, a bit like Elvis Presley did? That seems more a phenomenon in modern, popular culture than any way for scholars to discuss masters. After all, while we do speak of "The Bard (of Avon)," we don't speak of "William."

    (I understand with the likes of Aeschylus and Ovid they did not have, or we do not know, their surnames; things were easier before the overpopulation began in earnest....)

    I thank any who will educate me, and I beg Steve's pardon for the tangential but sincere questions.

    15th century Florentine Italians often didn’t have “surnames” as we northern Europeans think of them.

    If you look at the Florentine Castato of 1427–a census of the wealth tax placed on rich Florentine families and their holdings there and elsewhere in Tuscany–you’ll see that only about 1/3 of the families have what we’d call a “surname.” So it was common to refer to someone by their first name and birthplace.

    “da Vinci” wasn’t Leonardo’s surname. It was a reference to his Tuscan hometown.

    Michelangelo returned to the Tuscan village of Caprese, his actual birthplace, after his family’s bank in Florence failed. But he grew up in Florence.

    Raphael was born in the Marche but by his 20s was living and painting mostly in Florence.

    Donato di N di BB was a native Florentine.

    Their appellations aren’t “Anglicized.” This was common usage in that place and time. This naming convention is a literal linguistic fossil of the Florentine Renaissance.

    As for Rembrandt, his “surname” is a reference to his father’s family and place of birth. He himself started signing his paintings with just his first name, which van Gogh later adopted. But prior to that he abbreviated the whole string. I suppose that after awhile there was no need, as people well began to know who “Rembrant” then “Rembrandt” was.

    If I have time this evening I’ll add a few thoughts on this. These naming conventions for individuals and families always interested me, out of observation of the burgeoning and lucrative 20th century phenomenon of branding, and institutions, systems, and laws arising around those.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    Thank you! I am very ignorant of the matters you elucidate, and I love that this forum is a place one can often be educated by bright people. I look forward to perhaps learning more from a later addendum.
  102. @Autochthon
    I'm not very knowledgable about painting, sculpture, and other visual arts at all (i
    I've always been more involved and talented at music, theatre, cinema, and literature).

    Will an expert please educate me:

    Why is it some are conventionally referred to by their surnames (which I'd have thought the common default) but others their Christian names even when both names are known? Leonardo da Vinci seems to, oddly, be referred to by either, though probably a little more by his surname:

    - Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni
    - Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn
    - William Hogarth
    - Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (usually Anglicised to "Raphael," of course)
    - Vincent Van Gogh
    - Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi (Anglicised to "Donatello")

    And so on.

    We don't speak in one breath of Alfred, Wolfgang, and Henrik but in the next of Welles, Bach, and Congreve – but we do the equivalent with painters. How come?

    Is it only because the Italian and Dutch surnames are difficult to English ears and tongues? And if that's so, why then don't ee study the great philosopher Søren or the philologist Jonathan? The novels of Fyodor? Heaven only knows how often people bastardise and butcher the pronunciation and spelling of the names Kierkegaard, Tolkien, and Dostoyevsky! (And what of Van Gogh? Why doesn't he get to be Vincent? He's got a weird Dutch surname too!)

    Is it because some masters were so great they earned the honour of being known by tjeir Christian names alone, a bit like Elvis Presley did? That seems more a phenomenon in modern, popular culture than any way for scholars to discuss masters. After all, while we do speak of "The Bard (of Avon)," we don't speak of "William."

    (I understand with the likes of Aeschylus and Ovid they did not have, or we do not know, their surnames; things were easier before the overpopulation began in earnest....)

    I thank any who will educate me, and I beg Steve's pardon for the tangential but sincere questions.

    Leonardo didn’t have a surname. He should be called Leonardo always and everywhere. Note that Vincent Van Gogh referred to himself exclusively as “Vincent” for similar reasons. Michelangelo I can’t explain as readily. Claude Lorrain is another interesting case; he’s being called Claude more and more nowadays.

  103. @Fragilfox
    John Churchill, the future Duke of Marlborough, is considered to be one of the greatest commanders in military history. Winston Churchill goes into great detail in describing Marlborough's campaigns during the War of the Spanish Succession in his landmark bio, MARLBOROUGH, HIS LIFE AND TIMES. David Chandler's books THE ART OF WARFARE IN THE AGE OF MARLBOROUGH and MARLBOROUGH AS MILITARY COMMANDER focus exclusively on the military aspects of John Churchill's life.

    I, too, am a life-long glasses wearer who finally decided to spend Good Money on a pair of glasses with carbon fiber lenses and titanium frames; the glasses cost four figures but are very light and comfortable and exceedingly durable. Well worth the money, I think.

    Frag, Just wondering if your eyes were not correctable with laser surgery.

    • Replies: @Fragilfox
    All of my friends who have had laser corrective surgery found themselves soon wearing glasses again because their eyes continued to deteriorate, so I have not seriously looked into it.
  104. @Anthony Wayne
    I think Piketty is right in essence but wrong in magnitude. There’s probably a number of people who wield clandestine power and influence whose inherited wealth is just below the level of the Forbes list. $100 million or more is still enough to get one’s way in a lot of matters.

    The English Earl Cadogan, despite his fame, comes to mind. He’s richer than Trump because his family has owned a couple neighborhoods in London for a few hundred years. His descendants will live comfortably and be politically influential in perpetuity. How many thousands of little Cadogans must there be across Europe and in the older cities of the US?

    My great aunt was the victim of scammers when she became convinced that she was an heir to the mythical Edwards fortune. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Edwards_(pirate)

  105. The British government does (or did) dispense grants to help people repair houses of historic interest. The deal is that they must agree to show members of the public around, by appointment.

    We once wrote to the owners of a lovely wee castle asking if we could visit. They phoned back: we must come to lunch. A very chatty and friendly lunch, and afternoon, transpired. Salmon from the burn, that sort of thing; tales of parts of there world where the old boy had been soldiering; snippets of family history.

    It’s rare that government money is so well spent.

    Their best sally was to refer to people who Came Over With The Conqueror as johnny-come-latelies. There was a seventh century family grave nearby.

  106. This is a fun subject to speculate about. I am convinced that this kind of fun armchair spitballing about how the world really works is a major part of Marxism’s seductive appeal. I recently re-read “The Communist Manifesto,” and it occurred to me how much it resembles the kind of elaborate fan theories/lore that sprout up around popular media properties today. If you changed a few things it would make a not-half-bad basis for an X-Files-type conspiracy show. When you think of the Bolsheviks as a bunch of angry Star Wars nerds suddenly armed with real guns and tanks, a lot of things become much clearer.

    My own view is much like that of an earlier commenter: There’s probably a kernel of truth there, but not on the scale Piketty imagines.

  107. @Kylie
    Old Palo Altan's anecdote about his private viewing reminded me of Andras Schiff examining Schubert's score in this documentary. I found it a profoundly moving experience. Like you, I'm more oriented to music than to painting (despite being one of those people who's overcome when viewing a Rothko).

    The relevant bit starts at 27:20:
    https://youtu.be/G4R-qf6E7XI

    Schiff András is certainly a talented performer, but I find that bit of the documentary really strange. He gets all choked up about the physical appearance, including the stain left by some spilled coffee (or whatever) on the manuscript of one of Schubert’s lesser piano sonatas.

    I mean, what’s up with that? Would Schubert be pleased by this?

    It’s almost as crazy as being “overcome when viewing a Rothko.”

    • Replies: @Kylie
    Lol! The coffee stain on Schubert's manuscript is often noted because Schubert mentioned it in a note, iirc. It's an actual moment in his life and moves people in the same way his spectacles do.

    As for my being overcome when viewing a Rothko, yeah, it's really weird. I don't even care for modern painting. The last time it happened, a museum docent overheard me all choked up and asked me about it. According to her it's a real thing. In his Wikipedia entry, Rothko is quoted as saying, "...The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when I painted them."

    Besides, I knew if I mentioned it, it would trigger at least one of you guys. 😀
  108. @El Dato
    OT2: Another attack of the Incontinent Flying Swastika.

    12yo arrested for writing ‘Hail Hitler’ on school playground (PHOTOS)


    “I am appalled and disgusted by the Swastikas and other anti-Semitic symbols of hate that were scrawled in a Queens schoolyard,” Cuomo said in a statement before the arrest. “In New York, we have zero tolerance for such vile acts of anti-Semitism.”
     
    I guess the overall Swasticost of that investigation is already reaching 10K+ USD.

    El Dato, I will kick in for the kid’s bail money and spray paint if he will just write “Cuomo suks a big one” on a Thruway bridge abutment.

    • Replies: @JMcG
    Hell , I’ll do that for nothing.
  109. @Anonymous
    OT: diversity in Bradford (UK) - via Katie Hopkins

    https://twitter.com/KTHopkins/status/1101127484949647360

    I thought that kicking people in the head when they’re down was an American Negro specialty. Now it appears that Muslims do it too. Is it spreading?

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
    I'm sorry to say that it is more a Yorkshire thing.

    I saw it going on outside a pub (and not too far from Bradford either, but in the country) as long ago as 1983. Both victor and victim were white.
  110. @Old Palo Altan
    The museum is indeed free, but you can get in ahead of the tourist line if you know a friend of the family. I was able to jump the queue in precisely this fashion some five years ago. My cousin (of another famous old Amsterdam family) simply picked up the telephone, gave assurances, and I was in.

    I recommend it to one and all: contemplating Rembrandt's portrait, still hanging where it has hung since the family moved into the house in the early 19th century (their earlier house was demolished for a canal widening scheme) is a uniquely moving experience. Another magnificent portrait in the house, by Michiel van Mierevelt, as good in his way as Rembrandt was in his, hangs in another room nearby. Painted in 1610, it shows the sitter holding an embroidered and bejewelled glove in her hand. The guide, having rhapsodised about its beauty, then opens a drawer and pulls out - the very glove!

    Don't miss it.

    …their earlier house was demolished for a canal widening scheme…

    Just like the interstates being routed through black communities!

    Clearly, reparations are in order.

  111. @Vinteuil

    I was able to jump the queue in precisely this fashion some five years ago. My cousin (of another famous old Amsterdam family) simply picked up the telephone, gave assurances, and I was in.

    I recommend it to one and all...
     
    I hate you! I totally hate you! /jk

    Finally, the reaxn OPA was gunning 4

  112. @Fragilfox
    John Churchill, the future Duke of Marlborough, is considered to be one of the greatest commanders in military history. Winston Churchill goes into great detail in describing Marlborough's campaigns during the War of the Spanish Succession in his landmark bio, MARLBOROUGH, HIS LIFE AND TIMES. David Chandler's books THE ART OF WARFARE IN THE AGE OF MARLBOROUGH and MARLBOROUGH AS MILITARY COMMANDER focus exclusively on the military aspects of John Churchill's life.

    I, too, am a life-long glasses wearer who finally decided to spend Good Money on a pair of glasses with carbon fiber lenses and titanium frames; the glasses cost four figures but are very light and comfortable and exceedingly durable. Well worth the money, I think.

    I buy my glasses in Poundland which is the Brit equivalent of Dollar Store

  113. @Bruno
    I had the same idea because of 2 cases :

    1) Anne Sinclair. She is not listed but has sold every 10 years a 30/50 millions painting and she is believed to have 200/400 of those. That would be around 10 bn.

    2) a girl I know whose mother has 180k sq m in posh Paris. It should be valued 1.8 bn . But her family doesn’t make a list of French people above 50M (it’s only professional wealth).

    That’s a lot of land to own within the bounds of the city of Paris. I suppose it’s not contiguous.

  114. @Maciano
    Steve!

    How could you have missed the iSteve-ist of facts here?

    Tom Six, director of the horror movie, "Human Centipede" is another member of the Six family.

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

    Fussell would probably call this prole drift, but being a successful director (in any way) also indicates competence. So, the Six genes must be giving every Six generation the moxie Greg Clarke mentioned in "Son Also Rises".

    At least, he's making his own money.

    Weird. Here’s another case that’s very similar:

    https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/mar/14/the-evil-within-horror-movie-andrew-getty-millionaire-meth

    Andrew Getty was the grandson of Jean-Paul Getty, founder of Getty Oil.

  115. A reader once contributed in the comments some observations on Bill Gates’ lifestyle garnered from running into the plutocrat in downtown Rancho Santa Fe, CA, near where he owns a winter home.

    Odd to me when genuine rich people voluntarily live in California. Yeah, I get that the Mediterranean climate is nice, the beach is there and the Sierra are a days drive. But they just abuse you on taxes.

    Friend of mine from grad school still owns his house in San Diego even though he’s been working in Washington State for the past decade. He can’t be in the state more than 14 days, before California goes after his *all* his income. Not his California rental income–fair game–but everything!

    Bill Gates, even at 3% return is realizing a couple billion a year in interest\dividends. A few million a day. Every day he spends in California is costing him–ballpark 500K in taxes. For that you can afford to stay at a very nice resort.

    I went down looking at real estate back in 2009. Found a house we liked in a nice development outside Lake Elsinore, with a pool and view back up toward the mountains that had tumbled down to 2 and quarter. Very tempting. (And yeah I should have got it, rented it and sold it five years later for a good return.) But just could not stomach the thought of California trying to get it’s grubby paws on what I’ve been able to put away for retirement.

    It’s one thing if you are earning there–lots of friends in that boat. But quite another to have accumulated a pile and let California be raiding your pile to piss away supporting yet another illegal immigrant, his kids in school, his welfare, his medical bills, his wear and tear and space on the highways, his policing and prisoning.

    You want sun–Nevada, Wyoming, Texas, Florida; mountains–Alaska, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nevada, New Hampshire; warm weather–Nevada, Texas, Florida; the beach–Florida, Texas and well Alaska 😉 All without the state jamming its hand into your pocket and feeling around trying to grab the nest egg you’ve built.

    • Replies: @Trevor H.
    I don't need sun or warm weather particularly, but I know of no other place in America where you can enjoy mild weather year-round. No extreme cold, no extreme heat--ever. I speak of the middle coast, obviously, though San Diego is not far behind.


    That's worth a lot, and I wish I'd gotten in early to enjoy the Prop 13 goodness for a few decades. Why haven't the progressives gotten rid of that?

  116. @stillCARealist
    Why were they running out of money? Wars, taxes, thefts, attrition?

    I've read that most of the British old money was taken away to pay for the welfare state of the 20th c. I'd guess that this is even more true of the continent. Is it true? Someone point me to a good book.

    You could read Adam Nicolson’s book The Gentry (2011) to get a feel for the societal Snakes and Ladders played by this particular group. From rags to riches and then down to denim seems to have been the fate for many of these families over the centuries.

  117. @El Dato
    OT2: Another attack of the Incontinent Flying Swastika.

    12yo arrested for writing ‘Hail Hitler’ on school playground (PHOTOS)


    “I am appalled and disgusted by the Swastikas and other anti-Semitic symbols of hate that were scrawled in a Queens schoolyard,” Cuomo said in a statement before the arrest. “In New York, we have zero tolerance for such vile acts of anti-Semitism.”
     
    I guess the overall Swasticost of that investigation is already reaching 10K+ USD.

    12 y/o seems a bit young for ruining the boy’s life, but rules are rules and he broke the biggest one, right? Any hint about the boy’s ethnicity perchance?

    • Replies: @Anon
    I willing to bet he's Jewish and just wanted to see his elders freak out for the fun of it.
  118. @Clyde
    #2 Circa 1992 I ran into an endowment manager for MIT university a few times. He told me that English and Dutch old money going back for centuries and growing for centuries. Was very well hidden and super enormous. I asked him the same question with some variations and he gave me the same reply a few times. Dutch and English old money is what Steve is talking about. The kind that two remains intact past two World Wars.
    The MIT guy was very credible and looked a bit like Robert Fripp.

    My above "dodge them for years".......taxes of course

    How about Swiss old money? Or had Switzerland been kind of a hillbilly backwater compared to the wealth of the low countries until relatively recently?

    • Replies: @Bill P
    Yes, Switzerland was pretty poor until fairly recently. It also had a lot of nutrition-related diseases, such as cretinism. The Swiss watch industry got its start with impoverished farmers who had nothing to do all winter, so were available as cheap labor, kind of like Scottish crofters.

    The Dutch practically invented modern finance while Swiss were still yodeling and blowing alphorns.
    , @Art Deco
    Per the Maddison Project, Switzerland had pulled even with the Low Countries by 1850, and were ahead of just about every other European country except Britain.
    , @Old Palo Altan
    One of the quietly very rich Dutch families of my genetic circle repaired to Switzerland some fifty or sixty years ago. They have since married into the equally prosperous families of the Lausanne region, which have for centuries kept up connections with the Low Countries. Of their sons, the senior continues the family enterprises from Switzerland, the second is a well known physicist in France, and the third is at the very top of his chosen field from his base in London.

    They are like the Jews in their easy familiarity with finance, the sciences and academe, and like them, they are not afraid of a multi-cultural and supra-national world which they are comfortably certain they will continue to dominate.
  119. @The Alarmist

    "... there is far more semi-hidden Old Money than is reported in Forbes magazine lists of rich people ...."
     
    Perhaps, but I bought a fixer-upper chateau in France for probably one-twentieth of its original cost when adjusted for inflation. A lot of old money simply dissipates over time.

    NB: buying a “fixer-upper chateau” in France is a particularly effective way to run through whatever money you may have remaining.

    Separately: The amount of bragging going on in this thread verges on the pathetic.

    • Agree: Autochthon
    • Replies: @The Alarmist

    "NB: buying a “fixer-upper chateau” in France is a particularly effective way to run through whatever money you may have remaining."
     
    Indeed, but I've restored the moat and laid in some firewood, so when the next revolution comes, I'll raise the drawbridge and dump hot grease on the peasants who wade across it.

    Seriously, you can't take it with you, so why not have some fun ... the decorating keeps my wife happy and occupied. Happy wife, happy life.
  120. @Buffalo Joe
    Frag, Just wondering if your eyes were not correctable with laser surgery.

    All of my friends who have had laser corrective surgery found themselves soon wearing glasses again because their eyes continued to deteriorate, so I have not seriously looked into it.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    You did the right thing, because those who have to merely return to wearing spectacles are the fortunate ones. For others it's worse than that. Much worse.

    I've said my whole adult life that because this technology is more or less coeval with me, that I did not want to try it since only my son's generation could ever really know what the effects of the procedure might be in the long term, once those partaking of it aged; I didn't want to take the risk of being the guinea pig. I wish everyone well, so I am sad to have my foresight vindicated so dramatically and tragically.
    , @Anonymous
    Most myopia is caused by reading. When reading, the focal point of the image you're focused on is projected further back than the eye evolved to normally handle. The eye evolved under outdoor conditions where images are much further away, on the horizon, etc. Under the stress of the intense extended focus on a near object involved during reading, the eyeball accommodates by flattening itself into a football shape so the back of the eyeball is closer to the focal point of the near image.

    Glasses "solve" this problem by taking all the images taken in and projecting them further back in the now flattened eyeball. Things would be stabilized if people only used glasses for distance viewing, but the problem is that most myopes are readers, and read with their glasses, which compounds the original problem by projecting the near image of the reading material even further back. Hence the typical case of progressively stronger glasses. Laser corrective surgery is just like getting a permanent pair of glasses etched onto your eyes that you can't remove. It probably shouldn't be done unless you're not a big reader and your eyes have stabilized.

    BTW, this means that most myopia could be prevented by giving kids a $2 dollar pair of reading glasses when they start school and learn to read, and getting people into the habit of wearing reading glasses whenever they read or do close work. Reading glasses project images forward, away from the eye. When wearing reading glasses, it is as if the book you're reading is much further away than a foot from your face, thus the eye has no stimulus to accommodate by flattening itself. Widespread use of cheap reading glasses would obviate the need for the multibillion dollar industry devoted to correcting myopia.
  121. @AnotherDad

    A reader once contributed in the comments some observations on Bill Gates’ lifestyle garnered from running into the plutocrat in downtown Rancho Santa Fe, CA, near where he owns a winter home.
     
    Odd to me when genuine rich people voluntarily live in California. Yeah, I get that the Mediterranean climate is nice, the beach is there and the Sierra are a days drive. But they just abuse you on taxes.

    Friend of mine from grad school still owns his house in San Diego even though he's been working in Washington State for the past decade. He can't be in the state more than 14 days, before California goes after his *all* his income. Not his California rental income--fair game--but everything!

    Bill Gates, even at 3% return is realizing a couple billion a year in interest\dividends. A few million a day. Every day he spends in California is costing him--ballpark 500K in taxes. For that you can afford to stay at a very nice resort.

    I went down looking at real estate back in 2009. Found a house we liked in a nice development outside Lake Elsinore, with a pool and view back up toward the mountains that had tumbled down to 2 and quarter. Very tempting. (And yeah I should have got it, rented it and sold it five years later for a good return.) But just could not stomach the thought of California trying to get it's grubby paws on what I've been able to put away for retirement.

    It's one thing if you are earning there--lots of friends in that boat. But quite another to have accumulated a pile and let California be raiding your pile to piss away supporting yet another illegal immigrant, his kids in school, his welfare, his medical bills, his wear and tear and space on the highways, his policing and prisoning.

    You want sun--Nevada, Wyoming, Texas, Florida; mountains--Alaska, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nevada, New Hampshire; warm weather--Nevada, Texas, Florida; the beach--Florida, Texas and well Alaska ;-) All without the state jamming its hand into your pocket and feeling around trying to grab the nest egg you've built.

    I don’t need sun or warm weather particularly, but I know of no other place in America where you can enjoy mild weather year-round. No extreme cold, no extreme heat–ever. I speak of the middle coast, obviously, though San Diego is not far behind.

    That’s worth a lot, and I wish I’d gotten in early to enjoy the Prop 13 goodness for a few decades. Why haven’t the progressives gotten rid of that?

  122. @stillCARealist
    Why were they running out of money? Wars, taxes, thefts, attrition?

    I've read that most of the British old money was taken away to pay for the welfare state of the 20th c. I'd guess that this is even more true of the continent. Is it true? Someone point me to a good book.

    Piketty’s book says just before WW1 was the last time inequality was anything like as great as it is now.

    If inequality is the mechanism by which modern advanced societies reduce inequality then we will soon find out.

  123. “You can take a free one hour tour of the Six house and collection, but it’s booked up through 2019.
    “. I bet it is , by bots .

  124. I haven’t read Pikkety’s book – in fact, I get the feeling no one has, although they like to talk about his conclusions a lot.

    But I tend to believe there is a lot of wealth which is hidden due to tax avoidance and evasion schemes which are pretty easy to do with a closely held company (especially, if it’s involved in international transactions).

    However, I don’t think there is any reason to believe this hidden money is older than most, however. In fact, it’s probably the first generation of nouveau riche business owners who are most likely to use aggressive tax avoidance/evasion strategies.

    The heirs to this money are more likely to just sit back and live off the interest.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    There's about to be a lot more un-captured tax revenue throughout the developed world, between boomers dying off, their children being shut out of careers, and alien immigrants either not making enough money to pay taxes or doing everything they can to cheat taxes. As always the educated, respectable, and mainstream focus will be kept nailed to the sinister middle class white male.
  125. OT: The Donna Zuckerbergs have taken over the asylum at the (American) Society for Classical Studies.

    https://quillette.com/2019/02/26/how-i-was-kicked-out-of-the-society-for-classical-studies-annual-meeting/

    How I was Kicked Out of the Society for Classical Studies Annual Meeting
    by Mary Frances Williams

    I am a Classics Ph.D. who recently attended the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Society for Classical Studies (SCS—formerly the American Philological Association), a yearly conference that provides papers on classical subjects and interviews for academic positions. I now regret doing so since some remarks I made at the conference led to me being branded a “racist” and the loss of my editing job with the Association of Ancient Historians.

    Bond’s final topic was “inclusion.” She had been in charge of organizing Classics colloquia at her university, and claimed that “those panels represented what we believed Classics is and should be.” Over the past 10 years, there had only been three scholars of colour in any of these colloquia. She tried to make them inclusive by inviting even numbers of men and women, and bringing in as many women, people of colour, dance professors and other people “outside the traditional area of Classics” as she could. In Bond’s eyes, inclusion “begins in the local university, telling people of colour and women specifically that they can be a part of our field through simply presenting them with people who are not seen as the [sic] traditional classicists, i.e., white males, who are older.”

    The second speaker, Joy Connolly (the Graduate Center at CUNY New York), focused on what she called “the futureology of Classics.” The big trend in education, she said, was the rising cost of higher education; meanwhile, Classics was “not in growth mode.” Classicists needed to teach more students. “We have to decide what we want our field to be,” she said. We had to put more of our energy into attracting students to justify hiring replacements for ourselves when we retire. The future of Classics was really ours to make.

    Connolly’s preferred vision of the future was, to my ears, rather alarming:

    Let’s imagine a field… where language study is not the core, and courses in translation are so popular we can argue to support tiny language courses, because they will always now be tiny, and let’s remember that a lot of administrations are not going to support that solution.

    The final speaker, Dan-el Padilla Peralta (Princeton University), began by saying: “For the next few minutes I want to concentrate on the systemic marginalisation of people of colour in the credentialed and accredited knowledge production of the discipline.”

    Apparently, the organisers of the SCS annual meeting had contributed to this marginalisation by holding the conference at a hotel in San Diego:

    Already by the historical process of convening this conference in locations that are not only ludicrously expensive to travel to but that are rife with micro- and macroaggressions that target people of colour, the SCS does people of colour no favours.

    But Padilla’s main subject was Classics. He said he wanted to displace “the pre-eminence and priority of white privilege and white supremacy in the discipline’s self-image.” He then talked about the shortcomings of scholarly journals:

    He concluded that “the hegemony of whiteness is everywhere in evidence across the three journals”—between 91–98 percent of contributors turned out to be white Americans or white Europeans: “These percentages remind me of nothing so much as the figures for those intensely segregated suburbs that define the childhoods [sic] and adolescence of my partner; publication in elite journals is a whites-only neighbourhood.”

    Padilla’s solution “for the wellbeing and the future of the discipline,” was for Classics to “de-colonise” itself

    Unfortunately, I was interrupted in the middle of my first point by Sarah Bond, who forcefully insisted: “We are not Western Civilization!”

    I had never been at an academic conference where a member of an audience had the power to forbid another audience member from speaking. I continued: “We don’t teach Homer. We don’t teach Cicero… Why don’t we teach Thucydides and Herodotus?… So I’m saying: Cicero has value. Homer has value. Demosthenes has value, because it will teach you about defending Democracy.” (Sarah Bond pointed out that these writers were “all men” and seemed to think she’d scored a devastating point at my expense.)

    So one of the speakers is basically Donna Zuckerberg, one wants to turn their academic profession into a ponzi scheme to saddle young people with fat student debts and the third seems to really hate white people a lot for a Classics professor at Princeton married to a white woman who had nothing but sympathy and charity shown to him by white people including a free ride to a very fancy high school that allowed him study the Classics.

    [MORE]

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcJZCVemn-4&t=4m11s

    At this timestamp he introduces two of the 6 speakers who are full on SJWs who just happen to have ended up in Classics and would have more or less the same kind of output if they were professors of anything. One of them is the author of a book talking about his experience as an illegal immigrant.

    On the Princeton faculty website of the former illegal immigrant:

    TEACHING INTERESTS

    In fall 2016-17 I will offer the Roman Republic undergraduate survey and co-teach (with Denis Feeney) a graduate seminar on the Middle Republic. In the spring I will launch a new course, “Citizenships: ancient and modern,” designed to push me—and students who enroll—well beyond our comfort zones.

    I was intrigued by the anger of Bond in her other writings, it seemed to follow a pattern that only ever seem to come from Jewish writers but her appearance and surname seemed to differ. But it turns out she considers herself Jewish.

    You may now imagine your shocks.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    I think about 2,000 baccalaureate degrees in classics are awarded each year. Academe is a hopelessly corrupt patronage mill, so they'll still continue hiring parody faculty as the number of diplomas heads to zero.
  126. ” My reader pointed out that Gates’ polo shirts, however, weren’t $16.99 ones from Costco, they were the finest brand sold by the best boutique in the nicest town in North San Diego County. Similarly, his glasses were the best frames from the most expensive eye doctor. ” So this richest of men has the tastes and aspirations of the Petite bourgeoisie . In Bill Gates world view Africans are just white liberals aborning with no internet access and bad hygiene . How did this simpleton become one of the richest men in the world ? OTOH how did we end up with a simpleton as POTUS ? Well I guess because simpletons like me voted for him .

  127. @Mikeja
    Walmart? You must be some kind of plutocrat. I buy a half dozen from the dollar store and treat them as carefully as a five year old

    Walmart? You must be some kind of plutocrat. I buy a half dozen from the dollar store and treat them as carefully as a five year old

    Get ye to ChiCom (like me long time w happy Robert Kraft endings) dollah store. Like you say Walmart is over charging. Plutocrat indeed! The dunce you are replying to.

  128. @Steve Sailer
    How about Swiss old money? Or had Switzerland been kind of a hillbilly backwater compared to the wealth of the low countries until relatively recently?

    Yes, Switzerland was pretty poor until fairly recently. It also had a lot of nutrition-related diseases, such as cretinism. The Swiss watch industry got its start with impoverished farmers who had nothing to do all winter, so were available as cheap labor, kind of like Scottish crofters.

    The Dutch practically invented modern finance while Swiss were still yodeling and blowing alphorns.

  129. Hey Sailer , since the subject is art this is on topic and some of your fans might enjoy it .

    • Replies: @JoeFour
    Absolutely fascinating video! Thanks so much for posting it!
  130. @Flip
    Diana may actually not have been a biological Spencer. Her mother had an affair with James Goldsmith and Diana looked remarkably like his son Zac.

    You need to up your audacity quotient. Next time say Zac Goldsmith looks remarkably like Frank Marshall Davis.

  131. @The Anti-Gnostic
    I'm thinking not, because of what you pointed out: economies no longer revolve around land and agriculture. Modern economies are way more dynamic and volatile. Modern tax structures just aren't very conducive to accruing dynastic wealth. How much of Bill Gates's family actually works at the Gates Foundation? Those institutions operate under a ton of rules to keep their tax-exempt status; they can't just dole out money to family members. Well, the Clinton Foundation probably can, but once the dim-witted, dull Chelsea drops out of public life, probably within 10 years, the Clinton Foundation will disappear. Regression to the mean, spoiled-brat lifestyles, divorces, untimely deaths take their toll as well.

    I think Piketty might be wishfully thinking there's this vast pool of untaxed wealth out there that deficit-choked governments can still get their hands on to save us from our future. I just don't see it in a modern economy and tax regime. Of course, I'm nowhere near those circles so I'm happy to be proved wrong.

    Well, the Clinton Foundation probably can, but once the dim-witted, dull Chelsea drops out of public life, probably within 10 years, the Clinton Foundation will disappear.

    Chelsea’s not suffering any intellectual deficits. She just isn’t focused or driven.

  132. Steve, if one is determined to hide their wealth (shares, land, minerals, metals, stakes, artwork, owed debts, rights), in several counties, tax havens, holding companies, safe deposit boxes, and underground bunkers, could this end be pursued.

    I wouldnt be suprised, to avoid full taxation, some tricks arent employed.

  133. @Steve Sailer
    How about Swiss old money? Or had Switzerland been kind of a hillbilly backwater compared to the wealth of the low countries until relatively recently?

    Per the Maddison Project, Switzerland had pulled even with the Low Countries by 1850, and were ahead of just about every other European country except Britain.

  134. @Speculator
    But this would run contrary to Pickety's main thesis. Think about it. If all of this shadow wealth is stored in "non-wealth generating assets", then in the long-run, economic growth reduces its relative share of the pie to a small fraction.

    If Pickety is correct, then the people who hoard this wealth should be the largest stakeholders in the economy. But they aren't. They may be politically influential and good at preserving their wealth, but those are different issues.

    Also, for every hereditary billionaire not on the Forbes 400, it is equally likely, there is an oil/tech/industry billionaire mogul, who keeps his name off the list as well. Woodside, CA and Plano, TX have plenty of people who would qualify for the list, but who also like their privacy and want to avoid scrutiny.

    If all of this shadow wealth is stored in “non-wealth generating assets”, then in the long-run, economic growth reduces its relative share of the pie to a small fraction.

    You clearly failed either to read or to understand the last sentence of my comment. And if the pie is really increasing (and not just experiencing inflation) what’s the problem with continuing to be worth a billion real dollars in the future? Rather than being Jeff Bezos and worth tens of billions (just checked $134.8B, yow).

    If Pickety is correct, then the people who hoard this wealth should be the largest stakeholders in the economy.

    Why? Does he ever say that? See $1 vs. $134.8 billion comment above.

    Also, for every hereditary billionaire not on the Forbes 400, it is equally likely, there is an oil/tech/industry billionaire mogul, who keeps his name off the list as well. Woodside, CA and Plano, TX have plenty of people who would qualify for the list, but who also like their privacy and want to avoid scrutiny.

    That seems reasonable. To my mind that adds to Piketty’s point rather than detracts from it.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I keep going back to Piketty's Hidden Old Money Wealth theory not because I have a strong opinion on the subject, one way or another, but because it seems really interesting. Yet as far as I can tell, I'm the only reader of Piketty's famous bestseller who noticed that he thinks one testable implication of his theory is that there must be a lot of Hidden Old Money Wealth that Forbes doesn't know about.
  135. There are two problems, taxes and DNA. Organisms evolved be a vector for their DNA and super rich young heirs can and do as many women as they can physically manage, while ultra wealthy heiresses are on heat to mate with ruthless super-studs ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexy_son_hypothesis ).

    The appreciation in value of the assets is used to pay the salary of family members for working at the family’s charitable foundation, which never sells its shares and thus avoids paying any tax (capital gains taxes are not assessed until the investment is sold). Thus generations of the family are not only important people but regarded as moral paragons, while the problem of someone like the drunk driving patron of hookers that the younger Gates was getting their hands on tens of billions in their testosterone crazed youth, or a daughter doing a Doris Duke and marrying a psychopathic playboy like Porfirio Rubirosa, is solved.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffreydorfman/2017/08/13/the-biggest-and-best-tax-break-of-all-time/

    Bill Gates is the richest person in the world. He achieved that station by co-founding and then leading Microsoft to incredible success. Most of his wealth came not from his salary, but from the Microsoft stock that he owns, equal to about 10% of the company’s outstanding shares. Wealth gained from stock price appreciation is not taxable until you sell the shares. By holding most of his shares since the company’s founding, Mr. Gates delayed paying tax on those capital gains. By donating the shares to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, that wealth will never be taxed.

    Thus, the fact that capital gains are not taxed as long as the asset is held (and, in real estate, not even when sold if the proceeds are reinvested in a “like” asset) and the existence of the charitable donation tax deduction have provided Bill Gates with what might be called the biggest tax break in history.
     
    , @Anonymous

    There are two problems, taxes and DNA. Organisms evolved be a vector for their DNA and super rich young heirs can and do as many women as they can physically manage, while ultra wealthy heiresses are on heat to mate with ruthless super-studs ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexy_son_hypothesis ).
     
    https://racehist.blogspot.com/2013/06/r-fisher-social-selection-of-fertility.html

    In his book on Hereditary Genius, published in 1869, Galton considers the problem presented by the generally acknowledged fact that the families of great men tend, with unusual frequency, to die out. Of thirty-one peerages received by the judges of England, twelve were already extinct. Galton examined the family history of these thirty- one peerages, and lit upon an explanation which he rightly describes as 'Simple, adequate and novel'. A considerable proportion of the new peers and of their sons had married heiresses.
     
  136. @Anonymous
    Also his entire fortune is built on a network effect monopoly, rather than a superior technical product. People have had to use Windows and other Microsoft products like Office because everyone else uses it. The original MS-DOS was purchased by Gates from a lone, independent programmer. Gates's father was a lawyer, and his mother had connections to IBM, which is the sort of background that would clue him in to exploit network effects.

    IBM (knowing that it could never produce an operating system in house for the new IBM PC that it was designing – it would have cost them billions and taken forever) went to CP/M – then the leading OS for Intel based PCs. The CP/M guy told them that he was busy and to come back later and to go away and not bother him, etc. – something like that . The #1 stupidest business decision in all of history. So IBM had to keep looking.

    Gates was already selling them Microsoft Basic and they asked him if he had an operating system and he said sure, absolutely, funny you should ask, we’ve been working on a new PC operating system. I’ll be glad to give you a demo next week, you’ll really love it, it’s a great operating system with many interesting features and I think it is just what you need, etc. He had no OS. But rule #1 of customer service is never turn a customer away – they may leave and never come back. So the instant he hung up the phone he called around desperately to find one and made a deal to buy it outright for what must have seemed like a good price to the seller (#2 stupidest business decision in all of history). Of course not mentioning that IBM was interested. So you can see that Gates was a very shrewd businessman.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    As Steve has written about before when reviewing Malcolm Gladwell's book Blink, Bill Gates Sr. was an anti-trust attorney, which certainly helped Gates when he created his monopoly known as Microsoft.

    All that money and he still dresses just slightly above Revenge of the Nerds.
    , @Anonymous

    So the instant he hung up the phone he called around desperately to find one and made a deal to buy it outright for what must have seemed like a good price to the seller (#2 stupidest business decision in all of history). Of course not mentioning that IBM was interested. So you can see that Gates was a very shrewd businessman.
     
    That was my point. Gates was a shrewd businessman and able to recognize and exploit the likely network effect monopoly accruing to the operating systems on mass market PCs. He himself of course did not create the network effect, because it's not something someone creates, but a feature of nature. If some other guy had been able to slip in his OS onto PCs, he would've become extraordinarily wealthy.
    , @Philip Owen
    Gary Kildall (CP/M) was apparently out when IBM called (flying I think). His wife took the call but he was really slow following it up. Acorn in Cambridge in the UK probably had the best O/S at the time, already heading to a GUI but IBM didn't call them. Gates came to Acorn to pitch Windows and saw Acorn's much superior GUI. Apple wasn't the only contributor.

    Has Microsoft ever done anything original?
    , @Jim Don Bob
    Mr. CP/M was out flying his plane that day, the story goes, which is why he could not meet with IBM.

    Gates's greatest idea was reserving the right to sell DOS himself, instead of selling IBM exclusive rights.

    IBM's stamp of approval got PCs into corporate America, where the motto was you don't get fired for buying from IBM. Now Gates could sell a similar DOS to anybody, and they all felt safe knowing that it was good enough for IBM.
  137. @rufus
    Incorrect* David Rockefeller was the last billionaire of his line, dying maybe a year ago with 2 or 3 billion at over 100 years of age. Left about half to the various arts and charities hed supported for many years.

    Rockefeller family likely has many deca and a centa millionaire or two. Estimates are about 200 of the extended family still have some financial link to the fortune, trusts etc. which are run through a family office that David formed.

    A better example along those lines are the Duponts and Mellons. Still have 10-15 billion spread out among hundreds and even thousands of cousins etc.

    The Duponts, similar to the Rothschilds, practiced cousin marriage early on, so that also helped to keep their fortune intact.

  138. @Anonymous

    OT:

    Trump’s talks with Kim Jong-un ended without a deal. Trump wanted NK to give up it’s nukes before sanctions are lifted. NK should have demanded that if it gave up all of it’s nukes, the US would end all sanctions and remove all of it’s nukes from SK.
     

    What country would be stupid enough to trust and make a deal with the U.S.?? Trump ended the Iran nuclear deal and the INF with Russia. But hey, our word is our bond, especially if we sign agreements. Laughable.

    The United States signed no agreement with Iran on the nuclear deal; the “agreement” was never ratified by the Senate. “Our word” was never given. What one executive acting alone (Obama) can do can be undone by another (Trump) with the stroke of a pen.

  139. “On the street, Gates doesn’t dress like the man on the Monopoly box, he basically looks like all the other polo shirt-wearing upper upper middle class guys dropping into Starbucks.”

    You mean, slightly stooped, pot bellied, low energy. ZZZZ boring.

    Ok, elephant in the room. IF Gates had any sartorial stylish desires, he could simply hire style consultants a la “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”; “Extreme Makeover”; and other such tropes. Contact lenses, and spend a few paltry million on a skin and eye tuck, darken his hair, remove the wrinkles a la botox, actually start wearing a three piece suit (form fitting of course), hit the gym on a regular basis, perhaps some Growth Hormones/Anti-Aging meds, and,…the Style puts the BILL into Gates. Move over, Warren Beatty (circa 1990 in Bugsy), and suddenly some of Willie Brown’s Mojo rubs off on Bill. Some adventuresses in their late 30’s who couldn’t land or snag some NFL QB/Rock Star/Alist Actor suddenly sees the new and improved Billionaire and “Wow! I bet I can get that easily.” And she goes for it. And succeeds.

    If ever Trump’s bon mots “Low Energy” applied to any public figure (regarding personal hygiene, style, etc), it would be to Bill Gates, but with a simple makeover at a steal for less than five million big ones, it’s BILL Gates, and don’t you forget that.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    In other words, Bezos. How would breaking up his happy family for some ho be an improvement?
  140. So in summary, the art is a national treasure but it is in the hands of private owners.

    The value of the art is inflated to such an astronomical degree that the state could not justify simply purchasing the art.

    Therefore, the state pays what is effectively a rent to these aristocrats to ensure that they keep the art in the country.

    And who says that nationalism is dead? If it were me, I’d have said goodbye to them decades ago.

  141. @Olorin
    15th century Florentine Italians often didn't have "surnames" as we northern Europeans think of them.

    If you look at the Florentine Castato of 1427--a census of the wealth tax placed on rich Florentine families and their holdings there and elsewhere in Tuscany--you'll see that only about 1/3 of the families have what we'd call a "surname." So it was common to refer to someone by their first name and birthplace.

    "da Vinci" wasn't Leonardo's surname. It was a reference to his Tuscan hometown.

    Michelangelo returned to the Tuscan village of Caprese, his actual birthplace, after his family's bank in Florence failed. But he grew up in Florence.

    Raphael was born in the Marche but by his 20s was living and painting mostly in Florence.

    Donato di N di BB was a native Florentine.

    Their appellations aren't "Anglicized." This was common usage in that place and time. This naming convention is a literal linguistic fossil of the Florentine Renaissance.

    As for Rembrandt, his "surname" is a reference to his father's family and place of birth. He himself started signing his paintings with just his first name, which van Gogh later adopted. But prior to that he abbreviated the whole string. I suppose that after awhile there was no need, as people well began to know who "Rembrant" then "Rembrandt" was.

    If I have time this evening I'll add a few thoughts on this. These naming conventions for individuals and families always interested me, out of observation of the burgeoning and lucrative 20th century phenomenon of branding, and institutions, systems, and laws arising around those.

    Thank you! I am very ignorant of the matters you elucidate, and I love that this forum is a place one can often be educated by bright people. I look forward to perhaps learning more from a later addendum.

  142. @Jack D
    IBM (knowing that it could never produce an operating system in house for the new IBM PC that it was designing - it would have cost them billions and taken forever) went to CP/M - then the leading OS for Intel based PCs. The CP/M guy told them that he was busy and to come back later and to go away and not bother him, etc. - something like that . The #1 stupidest business decision in all of history. So IBM had to keep looking.

    Gates was already selling them Microsoft Basic and they asked him if he had an operating system and he said sure, absolutely, funny you should ask, we've been working on a new PC operating system. I'll be glad to give you a demo next week, you'll really love it, it's a great operating system with many interesting features and I think it is just what you need, etc. He had no OS. But rule #1 of customer service is never turn a customer away - they may leave and never come back. So the instant he hung up the phone he called around desperately to find one and made a deal to buy it outright for what must have seemed like a good price to the seller (#2 stupidest business decision in all of history). Of course not mentioning that IBM was interested. So you can see that Gates was a very shrewd businessman.

    As Steve has written about before when reviewing Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink, Bill Gates Sr. was an anti-trust attorney, which certainly helped Gates when he created his monopoly known as Microsoft.

    All that money and he still dresses just slightly above Revenge of the Nerds.

  143. @Realist

    OR….did democrat back-biting during the summit make Trump look weak and unstable in Kim’s eyes .
     
    I 'm sure that played a part.

    The last major Democratic Party contribution to the Korean situation was to hand large amounts of fissionable material over to the Norks (of course, the first was to kick it all off).

  144. @Hypnotoad666
    I haven't read Pikkety's book - in fact, I get the feeling no one has, although they like to talk about his conclusions a lot.

    But I tend to believe there is a lot of wealth which is hidden due to tax avoidance and evasion schemes which are pretty easy to do with a closely held company (especially, if it's involved in international transactions).

    However, I don't think there is any reason to believe this hidden money is older than most, however. In fact, it's probably the first generation of nouveau riche business owners who are most likely to use aggressive tax avoidance/evasion strategies.

    The heirs to this money are more likely to just sit back and live off the interest.

    There’s about to be a lot more un-captured tax revenue throughout the developed world, between boomers dying off, their children being shut out of careers, and alien immigrants either not making enough money to pay taxes or doing everything they can to cheat taxes. As always the educated, respectable, and mainstream focus will be kept nailed to the sinister middle class white male.

  145. @jb
    OT, but from the Daily Mail: EXCLUSIVE: 'I don't want gays around, I don't like f****ts.' Nigerian brother in Jussie Smollett scandal 'nearly came to blows in a screaming match with a gay extra on the set of Empire over his homophobic bashing'?

    This could be the route Smollett's lawyers are planning on taking: acknowledge that the brothers did it, but claim that it was a gay-bashing. The phone call beforehand could be explained as Smollett talking to the brothers about his training program, and then adding "OK guys, I'm getting hungry, so despite the hour and the freezing cold weather I think imma head out to Subway for one of their delicious sandwiches. Just so you'll know where I am."

    (I know, that's pretty lame. But can you come up with anything better?)

    Hilarious, just like CB4: “We’re not rapping about women, we’re rapping about bitches,” or the almost all-female intro to sociology class that unanimously rejected the female professor’s objections to the videogame Grand Theft Auto: “You’re not killing women, you’re killing whores.”

  146. @res

    still hanging where it has hung since the family moved into the house in the early 19th century (their earlier house was demolished for a canal widening scheme)
     
    Any idea if it was stolen during WWII and returned later? If not, how did they manage that?

    Don’t believe the propaganda. The Nazis took from the Jews, but not from families who were 1) not Jewish, and 2) behaved themselves.

    • Replies: @res
    Thanks.
  147. @Flip

    (Germany was well supplied with all sorts of princelings – they supplied the British royal family for centuries)
     
    And the Russian royal family. Nicholas II had very little actual Russian blood.

    Until the detestable result of the damnable First World War, the Germans really did rule the world.

    • Replies: @Flip
    Yes, WWI was probably the biggest tragedy in history. And they didn't even know what they were fighting about.
  148. @Vinteuil
    Schiff András is certainly a talented performer, but I find that bit of the documentary really strange. He gets all choked up about the physical appearance, including the stain left by some spilled coffee (or whatever) on the manuscript of one of Schubert's lesser piano sonatas.

    I mean, what's up with that? Would Schubert be pleased by this?

    It's almost as crazy as being "overcome when viewing a Rothko."

    Lol! The coffee stain on Schubert’s manuscript is often noted because Schubert mentioned it in a note, iirc. It’s an actual moment in his life and moves people in the same way his spectacles do.

    As for my being overcome when viewing a Rothko, yeah, it’s really weird. I don’t even care for modern painting. The last time it happened, a museum docent overheard me all choked up and asked me about it. According to her it’s a real thing. In his Wikipedia entry, Rothko is quoted as saying, “…The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when I painted them.”

    Besides, I knew if I mentioned it, it would trigger at least one of you guys. 😀

    • Replies: @Trevor H.
    It happened to me at an exhibition. A complete array of them on all sides, larger than life and somehow totemic and mystical as an ensemble. I'd never bother explaining to anyone who didn't already get it. Even in my own case it was fairly unexpected. But unforgettable.
    , @Vinteuil

    It’s an actual moment in his life and moves people in the same way his spectacles do.
     
    I.e., your appreciation of Schubert is at about the same level as your appreciation of the visual arts.

    So what's your favorite performance of, say, "Der Leiermann?"
  149. @Alden
    So that’s how you got to meet Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis.

    No. I get to know her because we are both traditional Catholics.

  150. I have the highest recommendation for the podcast series “Last Seen” by WBUR in Boston. It is about a billion dollar art heist in Boston in the 1990s.

    Crime podcasts can be really depressing since they deal with serial murders, kidnappings etc. No one was hurt in this one. It has never been solved but there are a lot of leads.

    • Replies: @prosa123
    I have the highest recommendation for the podcast series “Last Seen” by WBUR in Boston. It is about a billion dollar art heist in Boston in the 1990s.

    The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum theft. What makes it amusing is that despite the museum's priceless collection only two guards were on duty, and both of them were unarmed with very little training.

  151. @LondonBob
    I am always impressed that Lord Salisbury was Prime Minister three hundred years after his direct ancestors William and Robert Cecil were chief ministers to Elizabeth I.

    It’s called civilisation. It ended in 1918.

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
    Civilisation ended in 1911 with the Parliament Act 1911: That marks the beginning of the end of the British Empire and its need to bring the rest of the West down with it.
  152. @Yak-15
    You’ve stumbled onto an interesting idea. American aristocracy is being enshrined by foundation and charity law. A charity founder can direct that a family member must be at the head of the funds and be paid a handsome salary. This organization, existing in near perpetuity without taxes while throwing off sinecures to the scions, is essentially an aristocratic estate.

    Sure, some of that money goes to good causes, but the vast majority goes to sustaining the organization and giving its employees great annuities and extravagant prerequisites.

    It works for the Clinton Foundation.

  153. @Trevor H.
    NB: buying a "fixer-upper chateau" in France is a particularly effective way to run through whatever money you may have remaining.

    Separately: The amount of bragging going on in this thread verges on the pathetic.

    “NB: buying a “fixer-upper chateau” in France is a particularly effective way to run through whatever money you may have remaining.”

    Indeed, but I’ve restored the moat and laid in some firewood, so when the next revolution comes, I’ll raise the drawbridge and dump hot grease on the peasants who wade across it.

    Seriously, you can’t take it with you, so why not have some fun … the decorating keeps my wife happy and occupied. Happy wife, happy life.

    • Replies: @Trevor H.
    Well then more power to you, especially if you also can grow food and if you also have advanced medical services within reach. Heck why not invest in solar power while you're at it.

    Seriously, if you ever post a photo of the place, I'd love to see it.

  154. @Old Palo Altan
    It's called civilisation. It ended in 1918.

    Civilisation ended in 1911 with the Parliament Act 1911: That marks the beginning of the end of the British Empire and its need to bring the rest of the West down with it.

  155. @Vinteuil

    I was able to jump the queue in precisely this fashion some five years ago. My cousin (of another famous old Amsterdam family) simply picked up the telephone, gave assurances, and I was in.

    I recommend it to one and all...
     
    I hate you! I totally hate you! /jk

    Let me know via this site when you next plan to be in that great city and I’ll get you in too.

    • Replies: @Vinteuil
    May 16, 17 or 18 next?
  156. @Altai
    OT: The Donna Zuckerbergs have taken over the asylum at the (American) Society for Classical Studies.

    https://quillette.com/2019/02/26/how-i-was-kicked-out-of-the-society-for-classical-studies-annual-meeting/

    How I was Kicked Out of the Society for Classical Studies Annual Meeting
    by Mary Frances Williams

    I am a Classics Ph.D. who recently attended the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Society for Classical Studies (SCS—formerly the American Philological Association), a yearly conference that provides papers on classical subjects and interviews for academic positions. I now regret doing so since some remarks I made at the conference led to me being branded a “racist” and the loss of my editing job with the Association of Ancient Historians.

    ...

    Bond’s final topic was “inclusion.” She had been in charge of organizing Classics colloquia at her university, and claimed that “those panels represented what we believed Classics is and should be.” Over the past 10 years, there had only been three scholars of colour in any of these colloquia. She tried to make them inclusive by inviting even numbers of men and women, and bringing in as many women, people of colour, dance professors and other people “outside the traditional area of Classics” as she could. In Bond’s eyes, inclusion “begins in the local university, telling people of colour and women specifically that they can be a part of our field through simply presenting them with people who are not seen as the [sic] traditional classicists, i.e., white males, who are older.”

    ...

    The second speaker, Joy Connolly (the Graduate Center at CUNY New York), focused on what she called “the futureology of Classics.” The big trend in education, she said, was the rising cost of higher education; meanwhile, Classics was “not in growth mode.” Classicists needed to teach more students. “We have to decide what we want our field to be,” she said. We had to put more of our energy into attracting students to justify hiring replacements for ourselves when we retire. The future of Classics was really ours to make.

    Connolly’s preferred vision of the future was, to my ears, rather alarming:

    Let’s imagine a field… where language study is not the core, and courses in translation are so popular we can argue to support tiny language courses, because they will always now be tiny, and let’s remember that a lot of administrations are not going to support that solution.

    ...

    The final speaker, Dan-el Padilla Peralta (Princeton University), began by saying: “For the next few minutes I want to concentrate on the systemic marginalisation of people of colour in the credentialed and accredited knowledge production of the discipline.”

    Apparently, the organisers of the SCS annual meeting had contributed to this marginalisation by holding the conference at a hotel in San Diego:

    Already by the historical process of convening this conference in locations that are not only ludicrously expensive to travel to but that are rife with micro- and macroaggressions that target people of colour, the SCS does people of colour no favours.

    ...

    But Padilla’s main subject was Classics. He said he wanted to displace “the pre-eminence and priority of white privilege and white supremacy in the discipline’s self-image.” He then talked about the shortcomings of scholarly journals:

    ...

    He concluded that “the hegemony of whiteness is everywhere in evidence across the three journals”—between 91–98 percent of contributors turned out to be white Americans or white Europeans: “These percentages remind me of nothing so much as the figures for those intensely segregated suburbs that define the childhoods [sic] and adolescence of my partner; publication in elite journals is a whites-only neighbourhood.”

    ...

    Padilla’s solution “for the wellbeing and the future of the discipline,” was for Classics to “de-colonise” itself

    ...

    Unfortunately, I was interrupted in the middle of my first point by Sarah Bond, who forcefully insisted: “We are not Western Civilization!”

    ...

    I had never been at an academic conference where a member of an audience had the power to forbid another audience member from speaking. I continued: “We don’t teach Homer. We don’t teach Cicero… Why don’t we teach Thucydides and Herodotus?… So I’m saying: Cicero has value. Homer has value. Demosthenes has value, because it will teach you about defending Democracy.” (Sarah Bond pointed out that these writers were “all men” and seemed to think she’d scored a devastating point at my expense.)

     

    So one of the speakers is basically Donna Zuckerberg, one wants to turn their academic profession into a ponzi scheme to saddle young people with fat student debts and the third seems to really hate white people a lot for a Classics professor at Princeton married to a white woman who had nothing but sympathy and charity shown to him by white people including a free ride to a very fancy high school that allowed him study the Classics.



    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcJZCVemn-4&t=4m11s

    At this timestamp he introduces two of the 6 speakers who are full on SJWs who just happen to have ended up in Classics and would have more or less the same kind of output if they were professors of anything. One of them is the author of a book talking about his experience as an illegal immigrant.

    On the Princeton faculty website of the former illegal immigrant:

    TEACHING INTERESTS

    In fall 2016-17 I will offer the Roman Republic undergraduate survey and co-teach (with Denis Feeney) a graduate seminar on the Middle Republic. In the spring I will launch a new course, “Citizenships: ancient and modern,” designed to push me—and students who enroll—well beyond our comfort zones.
     
    I was intrigued by the anger of Bond in her other writings, it seemed to follow a pattern that only ever seem to come from Jewish writers but her appearance and surname seemed to differ. But it turns out she considers herself Jewish.

    You may now imagine your shocks.

    I think about 2,000 baccalaureate degrees in classics are awarded each year. Academe is a hopelessly corrupt patronage mill, so they’ll still continue hiring parody faculty as the number of diplomas heads to zero.

  157. @Steve Sailer
    How about Swiss old money? Or had Switzerland been kind of a hillbilly backwater compared to the wealth of the low countries until relatively recently?

    One of the quietly very rich Dutch families of my genetic circle repaired to Switzerland some fifty or sixty years ago. They have since married into the equally prosperous families of the Lausanne region, which have for centuries kept up connections with the Low Countries. Of their sons, the senior continues the family enterprises from Switzerland, the second is a well known physicist in France, and the third is at the very top of his chosen field from his base in London.

    They are like the Jews in their easy familiarity with finance, the sciences and academe, and like them, they are not afraid of a multi-cultural and supra-national world which they are comfortably certain they will continue to dominate.

    • Replies: @Another German Reader
    That's why Trump needs to pick up the migrants from the border & the refugees-camps of Africa and dump them right into Park Avenue, Beverly Hills.

    That's why we need to team up with Leftist from time to time make sure the upper-middle-class and upper-class feels the diversity directly in the frontyard.

    The key is to break the upper-middle-class/middle-class, who can escape diversity only to a certain extent, from the upper-class.

    China & Vietnam only changed course because the middle-ranked cadre knew how much better life was in the Western countries.

  158. @Maciano
    Steve!

    How could you have missed the iSteve-ist of facts here?

    Tom Six, director of the horror movie, "Human Centipede" is another member of the Six family.

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

    Fussell would probably call this prole drift, but being a successful director (in any way) also indicates competence. So, the Six genes must be giving every Six generation the moxie Greg Clarke mentioned in "Son Also Rises".

    At least, he's making his own money.

    Not to be confused with Tom Mix.

  159. @Speculator
    Piketty is the quintessential modern European, focusing on the past while modernity has blown by. The closest thing we get in the US to this mindset is Northeastern provincialism.

    I don't think these people understand just how much wealth is generated by tech. This type of wealth creates a large wake -- like skyrocketing real estate, immigrants seeking the residual wealth, noticeable increase in $200K+ sports cars etc. This occurs even if the original founders sock it away.

    Outside of tech, the closest thing we see is oil, which produces the exact same effect, albeit on a smaller scale, from Dubai to Dallas.

    Piketty is basically saying there is enormous wealth -- comparable to Silicon Valley money -- buried under mattresses, somehow not creating residual financial effects in the local economy. I don't buy this for a second.

    Piketty is basically saying there is enormous wealth — comparable to Silicon Valley money — buried under mattresses, somehow not creating residual financial effects in the local economy.

    He’s saying no such thing.

  160. @Brabantian
    Piketty, being French, knows whereof he speaks re old hidden money

    Quite common in continental Europe, where families are used to how wealth needs to be well-hidden at times, as conquering armies and confiscatory regimes come and go

    Hiding things from the Nazis was merely one instance amongst many

    Invited into an old family's house, you often see valuable art ... much gold is hidden in Europe too

    Europeans have been at this a long time, and are much less braggart boastful about what is owned ... as with firearms

    There are maybe 75-100 million legally-owned (or deeply hidden) civilian firearms in the EU, and yet there is very little internet bluster about it, to the point that USA people often imagine 'guns are banned in Europe'

    There are maybe 75-100 million legally-owned (or deeply hidden) civilian firearms in the EU, and yet there is very little internet bluster about it, to the point that USA people often imagine ‘guns are banned in Europe’

    To the best of my knowledge no European country bans the civilian ownership of all firearms. Most countries have stricter licensing requirements than in the US, and some restrictions on firearm types, but no outright bans.
    Britain is a semi-exception with most handguns being banned. The one part of the United Kingdom that allows handgun ownership is Northern Ireland, which is rather odd given its history.

    • Replies: @Hibernian
    I'd say it fits right in with their history.
    , @J.Ross
    The deal isn't having a gun or not having a gun. The government-preceding right to bear arms is a controlling foundational thing and serves as a shorthand for a certain type of society. The point isn't to merely have guns but to recognize rights that precede government, to limit government, and to not allow the licensing scam to get too big ("sure you can have that, after I give you permission. You voted for me, right?"). Our gun rights came directly from England. They used to have largely the same concept. Their revolution like ours was kicked off by an attempt to gradually eliminate gun rights by turning the militia into an army. In their case there were other issues, which is used to obscure things; in ours the reason Paul Revere is saying anything about redcoats is because the redcoats want to effect common sense gun legislation that places ownership in the other side of a state-controlled license.
    The late decline of England took on serious momentum following the disarmament of the people, which Orwell of all people warned about. The Empire was vaguely "declining" for centuries but a disarmed populace is a politically unimportant populace. When British people describe the what we could call the Blair changes they are reminding us that Blair hammered the last nails in the coffin of the English right to bear arms with an extra-democratic act whose relevant information was classified for a hundred years. The English have a privilege to own those types of gun that the government might say they can have. They used to have a right. If it does nothing else, the Second Amendment teaches everyone the difference between a right and a privilege. The left is currently trying to eliminate rights by insisting that everything is a right, which after all everybody knows is just a synonym for privilege.
    The distributed lawful ownership of firearms, which is not the same thing as a centralized militia or as having guns as opposed to not having them, is a civilizational cornerstone like literacy or hand-washing or religious tolerance, and bloodlesly intimidates domestic tyranny from getting too bad. Leftists grant this point when they bring up Big Dog or PetMan and say that technology will make rights obsolete.
  161. @Autochthon
    You recommend to one and all visiting in 2021 if one is able, or you recommend using personal connections to receive special treatment and bypass the wait ? Presumably the former to all, the latter, perhaps to maybe, one.

    Nonpareil humble-bragging commentary on this one. Surely at least one of your relatives slept with Grace Kelly when Prince Ranier was out of town, too? No?

    https://youtu.be/8xi-6MUz06w

    Incidentally, I don't doubt your tales, really I do not; I just think it's droll to see them spun so blithely.

    Thank you for introducing me to Commander McBragg. I shall look up his further tales of daring do, and try in my small way to emulate him.

    His companion in the club: I know that look of desperation – my friends wear it almost continually when in my company.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    Quite.
  162. @simple_pseudonymic_handle
    Did you get past page 26 of Piketty's book?

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/07/piketty-book-no-one-read_n_5563629.html

    I also am very interested in this question. It's going to be in land holdings and bank deposits. Did any large family land holdings survive east of the Iron Curtain 1945? My impression is that every single acre was appropriated by the commies and none has been returned. Bank holdings ain't forever either. The biggest bank in Renaissance Italy went bankrupt loaning to some government to pay for warfare. If you are going to perpetuate a vast fortune you have to be pretty obsessed and very lucky.

    Gold is not the solution:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamashita%27s_gold

    The Chinese secret agents have plans for your Krugerrands and if you have a lot they know about them.

    I would be surprised if there was a single person who is effectively wealthier than Mohammed Bin Salman. His family is going to be very rich for a long time but fathers kill sons, sons kill fathers, and brothers kill brothers in that family so I wouldn't envy them.

    I think the Czech Republic returned some property.

    • Replies: @GermanReader2
    The Germans as well, or they at least let the families buy back their former land at rates much below the market rate.
  163. @Hodag
    I have the highest recommendation for the podcast series "Last Seen" by WBUR in Boston. It is about a billion dollar art heist in Boston in the 1990s.

    Crime podcasts can be really depressing since they deal with serial murders, kidnappings etc. No one was hurt in this one. It has never been solved but there are a lot of leads.

    I have the highest recommendation for the podcast series “Last Seen” by WBUR in Boston. It is about a billion dollar art heist in Boston in the 1990s.

    The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum theft. What makes it amusing is that despite the museum’s priceless collection only two guards were on duty, and both of them were unarmed with very little training.

  164. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    "On the street, Gates doesn’t dress like the man on the Monopoly box, he basically looks like all the other polo shirt-wearing upper upper middle class guys dropping into Starbucks."

    You mean, slightly stooped, pot bellied, low energy. ZZZZ boring.

    Ok, elephant in the room. IF Gates had any sartorial stylish desires, he could simply hire style consultants a la "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy"; "Extreme Makeover"; and other such tropes. Contact lenses, and spend a few paltry million on a skin and eye tuck, darken his hair, remove the wrinkles a la botox, actually start wearing a three piece suit (form fitting of course), hit the gym on a regular basis, perhaps some Growth Hormones/Anti-Aging meds, and,...the Style puts the BILL into Gates. Move over, Warren Beatty (circa 1990 in Bugsy), and suddenly some of Willie Brown's Mojo rubs off on Bill. Some adventuresses in their late 30's who couldn't land or snag some NFL QB/Rock Star/Alist Actor suddenly sees the new and improved Billionaire and "Wow! I bet I can get that easily." And she goes for it. And succeeds.

    If ever Trump's bon mots "Low Energy" applied to any public figure (regarding personal hygiene, style, etc), it would be to Bill Gates, but with a simple makeover at a steal for less than five million big ones, it's BILL Gates, and don't you forget that.

    In other words, Bezos. How would breaking up his happy family for some ho be an improvement?

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    It's all fine, and much of it would do him good (especially the business of getting in shape) except for the business about the adventuress. One can after all be healthy, manly, exude presentable levels of self-esteem, and maintain a respectable appearance without being a philandering jackass like Bezos.

    The guy has a point, after all, in that people like Christopher Lee and Louis Mountbatten – both happily married to one woman until the end of their days – were far more dignified into their late seventies than Gates is at sixty-three. Being filthy rich makes being a pudgy schlub especially unbecoming, because it's not as though the guy is too busy juggling multiple jobs and a brutal commute to get to the gym, and too impecunious to afford decent clothes.
  165. @prosa123
    There are maybe 75-100 million legally-owned (or deeply hidden) civilian firearms in the EU, and yet there is very little internet bluster about it, to the point that USA people often imagine ‘guns are banned in Europe’

    To the best of my knowledge no European country bans the civilian ownership of all firearms. Most countries have stricter licensing requirements than in the US, and some restrictions on firearm types, but no outright bans.
    Britain is a semi-exception with most handguns being banned. The one part of the United Kingdom that allows handgun ownership is Northern Ireland, which is rather odd given its history.

    I’d say it fits right in with their history.

  166. @Speculator
    Piketty is the quintessential modern European, focusing on the past while modernity has blown by. The closest thing we get in the US to this mindset is Northeastern provincialism.

    I don't think these people understand just how much wealth is generated by tech. This type of wealth creates a large wake -- like skyrocketing real estate, immigrants seeking the residual wealth, noticeable increase in $200K+ sports cars etc. This occurs even if the original founders sock it away.

    Outside of tech, the closest thing we see is oil, which produces the exact same effect, albeit on a smaller scale, from Dubai to Dallas.

    Piketty is basically saying there is enormous wealth -- comparable to Silicon Valley money -- buried under mattresses, somehow not creating residual financial effects in the local economy. I don't buy this for a second.

    Piketty is basically saying there is enormous wealth — comparable to Silicon Valley money — buried under mattresses, somehow not creating residual financial effects in the local economy. I don’t buy this for a second.

    There is wealth of that magnitude and more, sequestered in offshore trusts whose beneficiaries are secret. An example: Pablo Escobar used to appear on the Rich Lists. Now he is dead, but the worldwide demand for cocaine generates a revenue stream that did not go away when Escobar died: its beneficiaries are simply more discreet than he was.

  167. @Old Palo Altan
    Don't believe the propaganda. The Nazis took from the Jews, but not from families who were 1) not Jewish, and 2) behaved themselves.

    Thanks.

  168. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jack D
    IBM (knowing that it could never produce an operating system in house for the new IBM PC that it was designing - it would have cost them billions and taken forever) went to CP/M - then the leading OS for Intel based PCs. The CP/M guy told them that he was busy and to come back later and to go away and not bother him, etc. - something like that . The #1 stupidest business decision in all of history. So IBM had to keep looking.

    Gates was already selling them Microsoft Basic and they asked him if he had an operating system and he said sure, absolutely, funny you should ask, we've been working on a new PC operating system. I'll be glad to give you a demo next week, you'll really love it, it's a great operating system with many interesting features and I think it is just what you need, etc. He had no OS. But rule #1 of customer service is never turn a customer away - they may leave and never come back. So the instant he hung up the phone he called around desperately to find one and made a deal to buy it outright for what must have seemed like a good price to the seller (#2 stupidest business decision in all of history). Of course not mentioning that IBM was interested. So you can see that Gates was a very shrewd businessman.

    So the instant he hung up the phone he called around desperately to find one and made a deal to buy it outright for what must have seemed like a good price to the seller (#2 stupidest business decision in all of history). Of course not mentioning that IBM was interested. So you can see that Gates was a very shrewd businessman.

    That was my point. Gates was a shrewd businessman and able to recognize and exploit the likely network effect monopoly accruing to the operating systems on mass market PCs. He himself of course did not create the network effect, because it’s not something someone creates, but a feature of nature. If some other guy had been able to slip in his OS onto PCs, he would’ve become extraordinarily wealthy.

    • Replies: @Inquiring Mind
    That guy may have become extraordinarily wealthy but not have reached a Wealth Singularity.

    IBM flailed and failed at developing the Next Great OS beyond DOS with their OS/2 product.

    From what I heard, OS/2 was pretty darned good and in important ways better than Windows. I also heard it had a long life in the shadows running ATM terminals, a niche that has since been occupied by Windows XP, which is another story about why an obsolete operating system is handing out cash on the street corner.

    The rollout and marketing and positioning of OS/2, however, was handled in IBMs ham-handed blue-suited corporate fashion. Gates had his Windows that was also considered an oddity with DOS doing the serious jobs without the graphical user interface (GUI) eye candy.

    But when OS/2 came out, Gates came out with his Windows 95. Not nearly as good as OS/2, but at the time, good enough.

    Before people start nit picking, OS/2 came in various incarnations, a text-mode version and a later graphical (GUI) version. Part of its failure may have been the enormous resources IBM put into making a version for a 16-bit "chip" whereas Gates' Windows 95 wrote off the 16-bit chip as a dead end and concentrated on the 32-bit chip version, greatly simplifying bringing it to market. IBM, however, was serious about OS/2 being the Next Great OS but they lost out to Windows 95.

    Would Gary Kildall -- the guy alleged to have kept the Big Blue Suits waiting while he was out flying is private airplane -- have successfully staged this second act? By the way, Kildall died wealthy enough, but he died young, perhaps from complications of a bike accident?

  169. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:
    @Sean
    There are two problems, taxes and DNA. Organisms evolved be a vector for their DNA and super rich young heirs can and do as many women as they can physically manage, while ultra wealthy heiresses are on heat to mate with ruthless super-studs ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexy_son_hypothesis ).

    The appreciation in value of the assets is used to pay the salary of family members for working at the family's charitable foundation, which never sells its shares and thus avoids paying any tax (capital gains taxes are not assessed until the investment is sold). Thus generations of the family are not only important people but regarded as moral paragons, while the problem of someone like the drunk driving patron of hookers that the younger Gates was getting their hands on tens of billions in their testosterone crazed youth, or a daughter doing a Doris Duke and marrying a psychopathic playboy like Porfirio Rubirosa, is solved.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffreydorfman/2017/08/13/the-biggest-and-best-tax-break-of-all-time/

    Bill Gates is the richest person in the world. He achieved that station by co-founding and then leading Microsoft to incredible success. Most of his wealth came not from his salary, but from the Microsoft stock that he owns, equal to about 10% of the company’s outstanding shares. Wealth gained from stock price appreciation is not taxable until you sell the shares. By holding most of his shares since the company’s founding, Mr. Gates delayed paying tax on those capital gains. By donating the shares to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, that wealth will never be taxed.

    Thus, the fact that capital gains are not taxed as long as the asset is held (and, in real estate, not even when sold if the proceeds are reinvested in a “like” asset) and the existence of the charitable donation tax deduction have provided Bill Gates with what might be called the biggest tax break in history.

  170. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:
    @Sean
    There are two problems, taxes and DNA. Organisms evolved be a vector for their DNA and super rich young heirs can and do as many women as they can physically manage, while ultra wealthy heiresses are on heat to mate with ruthless super-studs ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexy_son_hypothesis ).

    The appreciation in value of the assets is used to pay the salary of family members for working at the family's charitable foundation, which never sells its shares and thus avoids paying any tax (capital gains taxes are not assessed until the investment is sold). Thus generations of the family are not only important people but regarded as moral paragons, while the problem of someone like the drunk driving patron of hookers that the younger Gates was getting their hands on tens of billions in their testosterone crazed youth, or a daughter doing a Doris Duke and marrying a psychopathic playboy like Porfirio Rubirosa, is solved.

    There are two problems, taxes and DNA. Organisms evolved be a vector for their DNA and super rich young heirs can and do as many women as they can physically manage, while ultra wealthy heiresses are on heat to mate with ruthless super-studs ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexy_son_hypothesis ).

    https://racehist.blogspot.com/2013/06/r-fisher-social-selection-of-fertility.html

    In his book on Hereditary Genius, published in 1869, Galton considers the problem presented by the generally acknowledged fact that the families of great men tend, with unusual frequency, to die out. Of thirty-one peerages received by the judges of England, twelve were already extinct. Galton examined the family history of these thirty- one peerages, and lit upon an explanation which he rightly describes as ‘Simple, adequate and novel’. A considerable proportion of the new peers and of their sons had married heiresses.

  171. @Anonymous
    OT: diversity in Bradford (UK) - via Katie Hopkins

    https://twitter.com/KTHopkins/status/1101127484949647360

    Sacred Heart of Jesus.

  172. @Anon
    I once pondered whether, if I were a billionaire, and I didn't want to leave anything to to next generation (let them do reality shows), how I would do that. I think it would be impossible. I once read a book called Die Broke that recommended all kinds of schemes like disability insurance, reverse mortgages, burial insurance. But for a billionaire you'd need something more sophisticated.

    A conundrum worthy of Larry Tate himself. (Blink and you’ll miss him.)

  173. @Buffalo Joe
    El Dato, I will kick in for the kid's bail money and spray paint if he will just write "Cuomo suks a big one" on a Thruway bridge abutment.

    Hell , I’ll do that for nothing.

  174. @El Dato
    OT: Allegedly, another flaming, posing, civilization-destroying, islam-importing, world-saving, US-policy-kowtowing, (((money)))-sniffing, on-camera-anguish-signaling, genital mutilation okaying, (((hectoring))), crazed-ethnomasochistic-pinkfringe-supporting, child-bombing, Middle Eastern nasty country supporting, possibly entirely sociopathic and internally hollow "liberal" gets his comeuppance.

    Surprise! ‘Progressive hero’ Justin Trudeau is a fraud and a hypocrite

    I went for the details of the scandal, I lingered for the associated story “Banana-Sucking Pop Singer Jailed for Video ‘Harmful to Egyptian Morality.’”

    The Russians even have better click-bait than we do.

    • Replies: @Anon
    No one should go to jail for sucking on a banana, but for making Egyptian rap music? Heck, yes.
  175. @res

    If all of this shadow wealth is stored in “non-wealth generating assets”, then in the long-run, economic growth reduces its relative share of the pie to a small fraction.
     
    You clearly failed either to read or to understand the last sentence of my comment. And if the pie is really increasing (and not just experiencing inflation) what's the problem with continuing to be worth a billion real dollars in the future? Rather than being Jeff Bezos and worth tens of billions (just checked $134.8B, yow).


    If Pickety is correct, then the people who hoard this wealth should be the largest stakeholders in the economy.
     
    Why? Does he ever say that? See $1 vs. $134.8 billion comment above.

    Also, for every hereditary billionaire not on the Forbes 400, it is equally likely, there is an oil/tech/industry billionaire mogul, who keeps his name off the list as well. Woodside, CA and Plano, TX have plenty of people who would qualify for the list, but who also like their privacy and want to avoid scrutiny.
     
    That seems reasonable. To my mind that adds to Piketty's point rather than detracts from it.

    I keep going back to Piketty’s Hidden Old Money Wealth theory not because I have a strong opinion on the subject, one way or another, but because it seems really interesting. Yet as far as I can tell, I’m the only reader of Piketty’s famous bestseller who noticed that he thinks one testable implication of his theory is that there must be a lot of Hidden Old Money Wealth that Forbes doesn’t know about.

    • Agree: res
    • Replies: @Sean
    Piketty says we may be approaching pre WW1 levels, but to me it follows that wars, especially WW1, have greatly reduced inequality and it crept back up. The Beanie Baby guy, Olsen Twins and Kylie Jenner are less compelling than Downton Abbey's secret Swiss account though.
  176. @Reg Cæsar

    My reader pointed out that Gates’ polo shirts, however, weren’t $16.99 ones from Costco, they were the finest brand sold by the best boutique in the nicest town in North San Diego County.
     
    I noticed the same thing about one of Jim Henson's kids, whom I "ran into". She looked like everyone else from far away, but when you got up close...

    On the other hand, old money has a tendency over the generations to dispense with the dull, grubby work of making money and instead concentrate on the more refined pleasures such as spending money...
     
    Yeah, the first guy is a miser. After that, it regression from the mean.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMarHac3VpQ

    I know somebody who works with a son-in-law of a famous billionaire. The son-in-law works hard at a full time middle income job, he just takes very expensive vacations of the Flying Off to Tierra Del Fuego to See the Eclipse kind.

  177. Of course there is a great deal of hidden money. Why is this a theory? The Rothschilds never show up on various lists either.

    There are various legal artifacts used to hide wealth. Trusts, offshore bank accounts, etc etc.

  178. @Fragilfox
    All of my friends who have had laser corrective surgery found themselves soon wearing glasses again because their eyes continued to deteriorate, so I have not seriously looked into it.

    You did the right thing, because those who have to merely return to wearing spectacles are the fortunate ones. For others it’s worse than that. Much worse.

    I’ve said my whole adult life that because this technology is more or less coeval with me, that I did not want to try it since only my son’s generation could ever really know what the effects of the procedure might be in the long term, once those partaking of it aged; I didn’t want to take the risk of being the guinea pig. I wish everyone well, so I am sad to have my foresight vindicated so dramatically and tragically.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    Maybe 90% of the people who get this surgery are very happy, 9% have in the range of mild regrets to serious regrets because it's not perfect (glare at night, etc.) and 1% deeply, deeply regret it as the worst decision that they ever made. Personally I would not take a chance on being part of the 1%.

    In general, I would not recommend getting almost any sort of "elective" surgery. (A good hint is that if your insurance company won't pay for it, you shouldn't get it). Surgery should be reserved for some life threatening or very serious condition that cannot be treated in any other way, not so that you can get rid of your eyeglasses or contacts or because you have a few wrinkles. Too many things can go wrong - anesthesia, infection, etc. Going blind is the least of it - my (late) housekeeper decided that she was overweight and needed bariatric surgery. When you sign the forms they tell you that there is a risk of death. This not just something that the lawyers make them put in. They are not kidding. Laser eye surgery is not going to kill you, but you may wish you were dead if it goes really badly.

    As you get older, you are going to lose your close focus no matter what because your lenses lose the ability to change shape, so even the people whose surgery is perfect are going to need reading glasses eventually anyway. And if you are old enough to need reading glasses or bifocals, there's no point in having the surgery. There are various devices and procedures in trial for presbyopia (it's a very big market since virtually everyone over 40 gets it eventually) but nothing that I would trust yet, especially since the "disease" can be treated with a pair of glasses from the dollar store instead of an ultra-expensive surgery.

  179. @prosa123
    There are maybe 75-100 million legally-owned (or deeply hidden) civilian firearms in the EU, and yet there is very little internet bluster about it, to the point that USA people often imagine ‘guns are banned in Europe’

    To the best of my knowledge no European country bans the civilian ownership of all firearms. Most countries have stricter licensing requirements than in the US, and some restrictions on firearm types, but no outright bans.
    Britain is a semi-exception with most handguns being banned. The one part of the United Kingdom that allows handgun ownership is Northern Ireland, which is rather odd given its history.

    The deal isn’t having a gun or not having a gun. The government-preceding right to bear arms is a controlling foundational thing and serves as a shorthand for a certain type of society. The point isn’t to merely have guns but to recognize rights that precede government, to limit government, and to not allow the licensing scam to get too big (“sure you can have that, after I give you permission. You voted for me, right?”). Our gun rights came directly from England. They used to have largely the same concept. Their revolution like ours was kicked off by an attempt to gradually eliminate gun rights by turning the militia into an army. In their case there were other issues, which is used to obscure things; in ours the reason Paul Revere is saying anything about redcoats is because the redcoats want to effect common sense gun legislation that places ownership in the other side of a state-controlled license.
    The late decline of England took on serious momentum following the disarmament of the people, which Orwell of all people warned about. The Empire was vaguely “declining” for centuries but a disarmed populace is a politically unimportant populace. When British people describe the what we could call the Blair changes they are reminding us that Blair hammered the last nails in the coffin of the English right to bear arms with an extra-democratic act whose relevant information was classified for a hundred years. The English have a privilege to own those types of gun that the government might say they can have. They used to have a right. If it does nothing else, the Second Amendment teaches everyone the difference between a right and a privilege. The left is currently trying to eliminate rights by insisting that everything is a right, which after all everybody knows is just a synonym for privilege.
    The distributed lawful ownership of firearms, which is not the same thing as a centralized militia or as having guns as opposed to not having them, is a civilizational cornerstone like literacy or hand-washing or religious tolerance, and bloodlesly intimidates domestic tyranny from getting too bad. Leftists grant this point when they bring up Big Dog or PetMan and say that technology will make rights obsolete.

    • Replies: @JMcG
    Extremely well put. I’d say the number of Americans who know that the British moves on Lexington and Concord were for the purpose of seizing arms and powder is effectively zero.
    Great exposition of the fundamental idea that only armed men are meaningfully free.
    Thank you.
  180. @Autochthon
    I'm not very knowledgable about painting, sculpture, and other visual arts at all (i
    I've always been more involved and talented at music, theatre, cinema, and literature).

    Will an expert please educate me:

    Why is it some are conventionally referred to by their surnames (which I'd have thought the common default) but others their Christian names even when both names are known? Leonardo da Vinci seems to, oddly, be referred to by either, though probably a little more by his surname:

    - Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni
    - Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn
    - William Hogarth
    - Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (usually Anglicised to "Raphael," of course)
    - Vincent Van Gogh
    - Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi (Anglicised to "Donatello")

    And so on.

    We don't speak in one breath of Alfred, Wolfgang, and Henrik but in the next of Welles, Bach, and Congreve – but we do the equivalent with painters. How come?

    Is it only because the Italian and Dutch surnames are difficult to English ears and tongues? And if that's so, why then don't ee study the great philosopher Søren or the philologist Jonathan? The novels of Fyodor? Heaven only knows how often people bastardise and butcher the pronunciation and spelling of the names Kierkegaard, Tolkien, and Dostoyevsky! (And what of Van Gogh? Why doesn't he get to be Vincent? He's got a weird Dutch surname too!)

    Is it because some masters were so great they earned the honour of being known by tjeir Christian names alone, a bit like Elvis Presley did? That seems more a phenomenon in modern, popular culture than any way for scholars to discuss masters. After all, while we do speak of "The Bard (of Avon)," we don't speak of "William."

    (I understand with the likes of Aeschylus and Ovid they did not have, or we do not know, their surnames; things were easier before the overpopulation began in earnest....)

    I thank any who will educate me, and I beg Steve's pardon for the tangential but sincere questions.

    There are still a number of prominent figures who go by a single name, such as Brazilian soccer players from Pele to Socrates to Fred. However the convention is that defenders and goalkeepers do not go by single names.

    Jesus, the prominent religious figure is generally known by single name, though Jesus the Manchester City soccer player, who has worked wonders this season, actually has a first name of Gabriel. No doubt his mother thought he was a little angel.

    In ancient times first names only was generally the rule from Zeus and Jupiter onwards. Philosophers like Socrates and Plato and authors like Homer, Cicero, and Vergil had enough name brand recognition not to require extra names.

    In more modern times popular musicians Madonna, Beyonce, Bono, and Sting use single names, which makes their names easier to remember. And hardly anyone remembers that the real name of 60’s model Twiggy was Lesley Hornby.

    Royalty also tend to use first names only, such as The Queen, Prince Charles, and so do dogs and horses for the most part. My dog Sally rarely uses her surname Barker-Dogge.

    When I was a schoolboy in England, it was common for boys to be addressed by (school)masters and each other by their last names only, with various forms of differention used for brothers or those who shared the same surname.

    However the best reason for using two names is to avoid ambiguity, and
    it makes it much easier to avoid problems with your driver’s license, passport, and credit cards.

    • Replies: @prosa123
    Teller, of Penn and Teller, had his former name of Raymond Teller legally changed to just Teller.
  181. @Jonathan Mason
    There are still a number of prominent figures who go by a single name, such as Brazilian soccer players from Pele to Socrates to Fred. However the convention is that defenders and goalkeepers do not go by single names.

    Jesus, the prominent religious figure is generally known by single name, though Jesus the Manchester City soccer player, who has worked wonders this season, actually has a first name of Gabriel. No doubt his mother thought he was a little angel.

    In ancient times first names only was generally the rule from Zeus and Jupiter onwards. Philosophers like Socrates and Plato and authors like Homer, Cicero, and Vergil had enough name brand recognition not to require extra names.

    In more modern times popular musicians Madonna, Beyonce, Bono, and Sting use single names, which makes their names easier to remember. And hardly anyone remembers that the real name of 60's model Twiggy was Lesley Hornby.

    Royalty also tend to use first names only, such as The Queen, Prince Charles, and so do dogs and horses for the most part. My dog Sally rarely uses her surname Barker-Dogge.

    When I was a schoolboy in England, it was common for boys to be addressed by (school)masters and each other by their last names only, with various forms of differention used for brothers or those who shared the same surname.

    However the best reason for using two names is to avoid ambiguity, and
    it makes it much easier to avoid problems with your driver's license, passport, and credit cards.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTnEyF_PbD8

    Teller, of Penn and Teller, had his former name of Raymond Teller legally changed to just Teller.

    • Replies: @Sean
    Cher is the only person with a single name US passport.
  182. @Jack D
    In other words, Bezos. How would breaking up his happy family for some ho be an improvement?

    It’s all fine, and much of it would do him good (especially the business of getting in shape) except for the business about the adventuress. One can after all be healthy, manly, exude presentable levels of self-esteem, and maintain a respectable appearance without being a philandering jackass like Bezos.

    The guy has a point, after all, in that people like Christopher Lee and Louis Mountbatten – both happily married to one woman until the end of their days – were far more dignified into their late seventies than Gates is at sixty-three. Being filthy rich makes being a pudgy schlub especially unbecoming, because it’s not as though the guy is too busy juggling multiple jobs and a brutal commute to get to the gym, and too impecunious to afford decent clothes.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I'm not sure that dignity was the leading characteristic of Lord Mountbatten's (semi) private life:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwina_Mountbatten,_Countess_Mountbatten_of_Burma

  183. @Trevor H.
    12 y/o seems a bit young for ruining the boy's life, but rules are rules and he broke the biggest one, right? Any hint about the boy's ethnicity perchance?

    I willing to bet he’s Jewish and just wanted to see his elders freak out for the fun of it.

  184. @Autochthon
    I went for the details of the scandal, I lingered for the associated story "Banana-Sucking Pop Singer Jailed for Video ‘Harmful to Egyptian Morality.’"

    The Russians even have better click-bait than we do.

    No one should go to jail for sucking on a banana, but for making Egyptian rap music? Heck, yes.

  185. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:
    @Fragilfox
    All of my friends who have had laser corrective surgery found themselves soon wearing glasses again because their eyes continued to deteriorate, so I have not seriously looked into it.

    Most myopia is caused by reading. When reading, the focal point of the image you’re focused on is projected further back than the eye evolved to normally handle. The eye evolved under outdoor conditions where images are much further away, on the horizon, etc. Under the stress of the intense extended focus on a near object involved during reading, the eyeball accommodates by flattening itself into a football shape so the back of the eyeball is closer to the focal point of the near image.

    Glasses “solve” this problem by taking all the images taken in and projecting them further back in the now flattened eyeball. Things would be stabilized if people only used glasses for distance viewing, but the problem is that most myopes are readers, and read with their glasses, which compounds the original problem by projecting the near image of the reading material even further back. Hence the typical case of progressively stronger glasses. Laser corrective surgery is just like getting a permanent pair of glasses etched onto your eyes that you can’t remove. It probably shouldn’t be done unless you’re not a big reader and your eyes have stabilized.

    BTW, this means that most myopia could be prevented by giving kids a $2 dollar pair of reading glasses when they start school and learn to read, and getting people into the habit of wearing reading glasses whenever they read or do close work. Reading glasses project images forward, away from the eye. When wearing reading glasses, it is as if the book you’re reading is much further away than a foot from your face, thus the eye has no stimulus to accommodate by flattening itself. Widespread use of cheap reading glasses would obviate the need for the multibillion dollar industry devoted to correcting myopia.

    • Agree: jim jones
    • Replies: @anonymous coward

    Most myopia is caused by reading.
     
    There's different theories about myopia, and none of them hold up to serious scrutiny.

    The current scientific fad is that myopia is caused by low light conditions.

    Personally, I don't believe in any of these theories. Looking at my own family history, I see that myopia is 90% genetic.
    , @JMcG
    Nobody ever read more than I did. I started at four and am still going strong some fifty years later. My vision was a measured 20/10 through my twenties and is 20/30 now. I don’t need reading glasses, or indeed any glasses at all. I have noticed some deterioration in my middle distance vision and in my night vision. Just a data point for you.
  186. @Old Palo Altan
    Thank you for introducing me to Commander McBragg. I shall look up his further tales of daring do, and try in my small way to emulate him.

    His companion in the club: I know that look of desperation - my friends wear it almost continually when in my company.

    Quite.

  187. http://www.cityam.com/273300/eu-simply-chooses-which-rules-enforce-and-which-ignore

    Rainer Zitelmann, an economist in Berlin, commissioned a poll of people in the UK, France, Germany and the US to compare their attitudes towards the wealthy.

    Respondents were asked whether they would support “drastically” shrinking the income of highly-paid bosses and distributing the cash among workers. Just 29 per cent were in favour compared with 54 per cent in France

    No coincidence that Piketty is French.

  188. @prosa123
    Teller, of Penn and Teller, had his former name of Raymond Teller legally changed to just Teller.

    Cher is the only person with a single name US passport.

  189. @Steve Sailer
    I keep going back to Piketty's Hidden Old Money Wealth theory not because I have a strong opinion on the subject, one way or another, but because it seems really interesting. Yet as far as I can tell, I'm the only reader of Piketty's famous bestseller who noticed that he thinks one testable implication of his theory is that there must be a lot of Hidden Old Money Wealth that Forbes doesn't know about.

    Piketty says we may be approaching pre WW1 levels, but to me it follows that wars, especially WW1, have greatly reduced inequality and it crept back up. The Beanie Baby guy, Olsen Twins and Kylie Jenner are less compelling than Downton Abbey’s secret Swiss account though.

  190. @Autochthon
    It's all fine, and much of it would do him good (especially the business of getting in shape) except for the business about the adventuress. One can after all be healthy, manly, exude presentable levels of self-esteem, and maintain a respectable appearance without being a philandering jackass like Bezos.

    The guy has a point, after all, in that people like Christopher Lee and Louis Mountbatten – both happily married to one woman until the end of their days – were far more dignified into their late seventies than Gates is at sixty-three. Being filthy rich makes being a pudgy schlub especially unbecoming, because it's not as though the guy is too busy juggling multiple jobs and a brutal commute to get to the gym, and too impecunious to afford decent clothes.

    I’m not sure that dignity was the leading characteristic of Lord Mountbatten’s (semi) private life:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwina_Mountbatten,_Countess_Mountbatten_of_Burma

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    I'd not known of these allegations. They affect one example, but not the point itself: Gates could stand to do a sit-up and wear a suit.

    Edmund Hillary wasn't a flabby slouch at sixty-three.

    By all accounts Jefferson Davis, who had some setbacks after 1865 which would have driven many men to abject despair and dissolution, comported himself like less of a schlub. Hell, here's Mr. Davis at eighty, a year before his death:

    http://www.mshistorynow.mdah.ms.gov/images/582.jpg

    There you are, two more examples as penance for the one poor choice, and, as far as I know, both men remarried as a widowers but engaged in no weird dalliances or orgies. If anyone knows different, I don't want to be disabused of my ignorance.

    No, I must stand by my assessment: Gates is a sloven weenie, for all his riches.
  191. @Steve Sailer
    I'm not sure that dignity was the leading characteristic of Lord Mountbatten's (semi) private life:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwina_Mountbatten,_Countess_Mountbatten_of_Burma

    I’d not known of these allegations. They affect one example, but not the point itself: Gates could stand to do a sit-up and wear a suit.

    Edmund Hillary wasn’t a flabby slouch at sixty-three.

    By all accounts Jefferson Davis, who had some setbacks after 1865 which would have driven many men to abject despair and dissolution, comported himself like less of a schlub. Hell, here’s Mr. Davis at eighty, a year before his death:

    There you are, two more examples as penance for the one poor choice, and, as far as I know, both men remarried as a widowers but engaged in no weird dalliances or orgies. If anyone knows different, I don’t want to be disabused of my ignorance.

    No, I must stand by my assessment: Gates is a sloven weenie, for all his riches.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    Being fit would be a good idea, but you can be sure that the way Gates dresses is intentional. His father was a lawyer and Gates would have been familiar with putting a suit on every day . But in the "tech" world this is not the normal uniform, no matter how rich you are. IBMers always dressed formally, but the PC business evolved as the UN-IBM. It would have been strange and would have distanced him from his employees, especially at the beginning. And there was never a good time for him to switch - the khaki pants became his trademark. Switching to a suit would have been seen as "putting on airs" and even today would generate bad publicity.
    , @res
    Worth noting that at the time photographs were still a big deal. Davis looks great in that photo. Especially given his life circumstances at the time which you note. I imagine Bill Gates would look better (than he does in the photos of him here, not your Davis photo) in a photograph that carefully staged than he does in the relatively candid shots we get to see.

    That said, the best portrayals of Bill Gates I have seen (at whatever age) don't come close to matching that photo.

    Agreed with your basic point, but I think Jack D gives a pretty good explanation for the relative informality of his dress. If not the other aspects of the slovenliness you note.
  192. @Hibernian
    I think the Czech Republic returned some property.

    The Germans as well, or they at least let the families buy back their former land at rates much below the market rate.

  193. @Sean
    Bill Gates on Piketty

    https://www.gatesnotes.com/Books/Why-Inequality-Matters-Capital-in-21st-Century-Review
    Imagine three types of wealthy people. One guy is putting his capital into building his business. Then there’s a woman who’s giving most of her wealth to charity. A third person is mostly consuming, spending a lot of money on things like a yacht and plane. While it’s true that the wealth of all three people is contributing to inequality, I would argue that the first two are delivering more value to society than the third. I wish Piketty had made this distinction, because it has important policy implications, which I’ll get to below.
     
    Someone wealthy who is delivering value by paying their full share of tax is such an outlier they're not worth talking about as far as Gates is concerned.

    LSE Events | The Great Leveler: violence and the history of inequality

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0qsQux6zeI

    “A third person is mostly consuming, spending a lot of money on things like a yacht and plane. While it’s true that the wealth of all three people is contributing to inequality, I would argue that the first two are delivering more value to society than the third. “

    Yeah, because we can’t have people gainfully employed building and selling boats and planes and then doing further consuming in our consumption economy … consumption just too efficient a way to allocate capital, and we can’t have that.

  194. @Old Palo Altan
    The museum is indeed free, but you can get in ahead of the tourist line if you know a friend of the family. I was able to jump the queue in precisely this fashion some five years ago. My cousin (of another famous old Amsterdam family) simply picked up the telephone, gave assurances, and I was in.

    I recommend it to one and all: contemplating Rembrandt's portrait, still hanging where it has hung since the family moved into the house in the early 19th century (their earlier house was demolished for a canal widening scheme) is a uniquely moving experience. Another magnificent portrait in the house, by Michiel van Mierevelt, as good in his way as Rembrandt was in his, hangs in another room nearby. Painted in 1610, it shows the sitter holding an embroidered and bejewelled glove in her hand. The guide, having rhapsodised about its beauty, then opens a drawer and pulls out - the very glove!

    Don't miss it.

    There’s a queue? I got invited to a private showing 😉

  195. @Anonymous
    1. Rothschild was known as the richest family in the world.

    2. There is no evidence/paper trail that the fortune was ever lost.

    3. Yet the family doesn't show up on any lists of modern richest in the world.

    DON'T ASK QUESTIONS. THERE IS NO HIDDEN WEALTH. ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW IS THAT IT DOESN'T EXIST.

    (In related news: The frigging Bilderberg Group hid in plain sight for the entire 20th century until Alex Jones forced the media to end the blackout)

    The Six family doesn't appear to have real clout. The family who essentially owns Lichtenstein has real clout! Those people don't need to bother with lawsuits against government bureaucrats. Government droogs never say diddly about Lichtenstein. Never.

    The Six family has been part of Dutch Patriciaat (Patrician families, similar to nobility) for a long time. They for sure had a lot of clout, especially in Amsterdam.

    https://www.bol.com/nl/f/the-many-lives-of-jan-six/9200000085183257/

  196. @Anonymous
    Most myopia is caused by reading. When reading, the focal point of the image you're focused on is projected further back than the eye evolved to normally handle. The eye evolved under outdoor conditions where images are much further away, on the horizon, etc. Under the stress of the intense extended focus on a near object involved during reading, the eyeball accommodates by flattening itself into a football shape so the back of the eyeball is closer to the focal point of the near image.

    Glasses "solve" this problem by taking all the images taken in and projecting them further back in the now flattened eyeball. Things would be stabilized if people only used glasses for distance viewing, but the problem is that most myopes are readers, and read with their glasses, which compounds the original problem by projecting the near image of the reading material even further back. Hence the typical case of progressively stronger glasses. Laser corrective surgery is just like getting a permanent pair of glasses etched onto your eyes that you can't remove. It probably shouldn't be done unless you're not a big reader and your eyes have stabilized.

    BTW, this means that most myopia could be prevented by giving kids a $2 dollar pair of reading glasses when they start school and learn to read, and getting people into the habit of wearing reading glasses whenever they read or do close work. Reading glasses project images forward, away from the eye. When wearing reading glasses, it is as if the book you're reading is much further away than a foot from your face, thus the eye has no stimulus to accommodate by flattening itself. Widespread use of cheap reading glasses would obviate the need for the multibillion dollar industry devoted to correcting myopia.

    Most myopia is caused by reading.

    There’s different theories about myopia, and none of them hold up to serious scrutiny.

    The current scientific fad is that myopia is caused by low light conditions.

    Personally, I don’t believe in any of these theories. Looking at my own family history, I see that myopia is 90% genetic.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Baseball hitters, who tend to have tremendous eyesight, weren't very bookish lads. There's a fair amount of demand for books by big league baseball players, but my impression is that most of the books of any literary merit, such as Jim Brosnan's, Jim Bouton's, and R.A. Dickey's are by pitchers. Writer-director Ron Shelton ("Bull Durham") was a highly literate middle infielder, but he couldn't hit well enough to make it above Triple AAA.
    , @Jack D
    E. Asians seem to be genetically prone to myopia. It's rare to see an E. Asian NOT wearing glasses. Part of this is because whites wear contacts more often, but not all of it. Some people think this is because Asians are more bookish but I think there is a big genetic factor. I was always a big reader and had perfect vision until presbyopia set in at the usual age. My wife has been wearing a strong prescription since 4th grade (as did her siblings) but my kids must have inherited my eyeballs since they have perfect vision despite being readers from an exceptionally early age. Maybe it is a combination thing where you have to have BOTH the genetic tendency (eyeballs that don't spring back into round?) AND stress your eyes from a young age.
    , @Anonymous
    The issue with light is that there's significant confounding between light and reading and near work.

    There's a huge difference in light levels between the indoors and outdoors. Lux is the standard unit of light, and outdoor lux levels typically range from 10,000 to 100,000 lux, whereas indoors, the light levels typically range from 100 to 500 lux. When you're indoors, you're enclosed by walls and often the furthest objects are only several feet away. When you're outside, your field of vision includes objects much further away, even miles away towards the horizon, and since vision involves light being reflected off of objects and into your eyes, the much stronger light outside means that the light reflected off of objects very far away actually reaches your eyes.

    Furthermore, where do most people do most of their reading? Indoors of course. When you're outside, not only are your eyes exposed to objects much further away by default, you're also typically engaged in activities involving your eyes looking at things far away. Whereas when you're indoors, the farthest thing you can look at might be the corner of your bedroom 10 ft. away.

    Aside from invalids, the disabled, senior citizens, etc., time spent indoors vs. outdoors and thus light exposure is often a proxy for things like near work, reading, bookishness, etc.
    , @Anonymous

    Personally, I don’t believe in any of these theories. Looking at my own family history, I see that myopia is 90% genetic.
     
    Tolerance of, aptitude for, and interest in reading and near work is also genetic. The question is whether the genetic influence on myopia is direct or indirect via reading and near work.
    , @Anonymous
    This is a good presentation on myopia:

    Myopia, or near-sightedness, is generally assumed to be an irreversible, genetically determined condition that can only be ameliorated with corrective lenses or surgery. Its prevalence is 30-40% in the U.S. and Europe, and more than 50% in some Asian countries, but it is rare in Africa and in pre-industrial cultures. The incidence of myopia correlates with IQ, school achievement, and industrialization, suggesting that an environmental factor is at work—namely, near-work. This talk will review the biology and epidemiology of myopia and present experimental evidence that myopia can be reversed naturally by specific focusing techniques and practices.
     
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5Efg42-Qn0
  197. @Flip
    Diana may actually not have been a biological Spencer. Her mother had an affair with James Goldsmith and Diana looked remarkably like his son Zac.

    Diana looked even more like Goldsmith’s daughter Jemina but not as pretty.

  198. @anonymous coward

    Most myopia is caused by reading.
     
    There's different theories about myopia, and none of them hold up to serious scrutiny.

    The current scientific fad is that myopia is caused by low light conditions.

    Personally, I don't believe in any of these theories. Looking at my own family history, I see that myopia is 90% genetic.

    Baseball hitters, who tend to have tremendous eyesight, weren’t very bookish lads. There’s a fair amount of demand for books by big league baseball players, but my impression is that most of the books of any literary merit, such as Jim Brosnan’s, Jim Bouton’s, and R.A. Dickey’s are by pitchers. Writer-director Ron Shelton (“Bull Durham”) was a highly literate middle infielder, but he couldn’t hit well enough to make it above Triple AAA.

  199. @Old Palo Altan
    One of the quietly very rich Dutch families of my genetic circle repaired to Switzerland some fifty or sixty years ago. They have since married into the equally prosperous families of the Lausanne region, which have for centuries kept up connections with the Low Countries. Of their sons, the senior continues the family enterprises from Switzerland, the second is a well known physicist in France, and the third is at the very top of his chosen field from his base in London.

    They are like the Jews in their easy familiarity with finance, the sciences and academe, and like them, they are not afraid of a multi-cultural and supra-national world which they are comfortably certain they will continue to dominate.

    That’s why Trump needs to pick up the migrants from the border & the refugees-camps of Africa and dump them right into Park Avenue, Beverly Hills.

    That’s why we need to team up with Leftist from time to time make sure the upper-middle-class and upper-class feels the diversity directly in the frontyard.

    The key is to break the upper-middle-class/middle-class, who can escape diversity only to a certain extent, from the upper-class.

    China & Vietnam only changed course because the middle-ranked cadre knew how much better life was in the Western countries.

    • Replies: @stillCARealist
    In my area the upper middle class is being replaced as fast as the landscaping class. The entire continent of Asia has disgorged its doctors/nurses/health professionals into Northern California and sent the few remaining Americans scurrying into the mountain states. The public school jobs are next.
  200. @Kylie
    Lol! The coffee stain on Schubert's manuscript is often noted because Schubert mentioned it in a note, iirc. It's an actual moment in his life and moves people in the same way his spectacles do.

    As for my being overcome when viewing a Rothko, yeah, it's really weird. I don't even care for modern painting. The last time it happened, a museum docent overheard me all choked up and asked me about it. According to her it's a real thing. In his Wikipedia entry, Rothko is quoted as saying, "...The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when I painted them."

    Besides, I knew if I mentioned it, it would trigger at least one of you guys. 😀

    It happened to me at an exhibition. A complete array of them on all sides, larger than life and somehow totemic and mystical as an ensemble. I’d never bother explaining to anyone who didn’t already get it. Even in my own case it was fairly unexpected. But unforgettable.

    • Replies: @prosa123
    In contrast, when I saw the Mona Lisa in person this past November it was impossible to be under the spell of the painting, or otherwise transformed by being in its presence, thanks to the horde of selfie-taking tourists (>50% East Asian) swarming around it and making it a struggle to get a decent view.

    An additional distraction was courtesy of one of the four guards on duty around the painting, a slightly chubby 30ish woman wearing a too-short skirt with hookerish fishnet stockings. She was the second most sexually charged sight in the room, second only to Ms. Lisa's cleavage.

  201. @The Alarmist

    "NB: buying a “fixer-upper chateau” in France is a particularly effective way to run through whatever money you may have remaining."
     
    Indeed, but I've restored the moat and laid in some firewood, so when the next revolution comes, I'll raise the drawbridge and dump hot grease on the peasants who wade across it.

    Seriously, you can't take it with you, so why not have some fun ... the decorating keeps my wife happy and occupied. Happy wife, happy life.

    Well then more power to you, especially if you also can grow food and if you also have advanced medical services within reach. Heck why not invest in solar power while you’re at it.

    Seriously, if you ever post a photo of the place, I’d love to see it.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob

    Seriously, if you ever post a photo of the place, I’d love to see it.
     
    Better yet, we can have an iSteve gathering at your place. Let us know when the place is ready!
  202. @Trevor H.
    It happened to me at an exhibition. A complete array of them on all sides, larger than life and somehow totemic and mystical as an ensemble. I'd never bother explaining to anyone who didn't already get it. Even in my own case it was fairly unexpected. But unforgettable.

    In contrast, when I saw the Mona Lisa in person this past November it was impossible to be under the spell of the painting, or otherwise transformed by being in its presence, thanks to the horde of selfie-taking tourists (>50% East Asian) swarming around it and making it a struggle to get a decent view.

    An additional distraction was courtesy of one of the four guards on duty around the painting, a slightly chubby 30ish woman wearing a too-short skirt with hookerish fishnet stockings. She was the second most sexually charged sight in the room, second only to Ms. Lisa’s cleavage.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    We have been so overexposed to the image of the Mona Lisa to the point of cliche that it is impossible to experience it fresh. If you go just before the museum closes it may be less mobbed but it's really no use - it has lost its transcendency because of excess familiarity, like a hit song that you have heard too many times. And there are some works where reproductions just don't do justice to the original - no picture of The Night Watch is going to have the same impact as the 12' x 14' painting itself. But the Mona Lisa is not like that, especially since it sits behind bulletproof glass because of all the nutjobs who have attacked it and they have you railed off so you can't get close. We already know most of the details of the Mona Lisa - her enigmatic smile, her eyes that seem to follow you, the landscape in the background, the pose of her hands, etc. so there are few surprises when you see the real thing. If anything it is diminished vs. what you can see from a high res. reproduction.
  203. @donut
    Hey Sailer , since the subject is art this is on topic and some of your fans might enjoy it .

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1Mjc4zNfY4

    Absolutely fascinating video! Thanks so much for posting it!

  204. @Autochthon
    You did the right thing, because those who have to merely return to wearing spectacles are the fortunate ones. For others it's worse than that. Much worse.

    I've said my whole adult life that because this technology is more or less coeval with me, that I did not want to try it since only my son's generation could ever really know what the effects of the procedure might be in the long term, once those partaking of it aged; I didn't want to take the risk of being the guinea pig. I wish everyone well, so I am sad to have my foresight vindicated so dramatically and tragically.

    Maybe 90% of the people who get this surgery are very happy, 9% have in the range of mild regrets to serious regrets because it’s not perfect (glare at night, etc.) and 1% deeply, deeply regret it as the worst decision that they ever made. Personally I would not take a chance on being part of the 1%.

    In general, I would not recommend getting almost any sort of “elective” surgery. (A good hint is that if your insurance company won’t pay for it, you shouldn’t get it). Surgery should be reserved for some life threatening or very serious condition that cannot be treated in any other way, not so that you can get rid of your eyeglasses or contacts or because you have a few wrinkles. Too many things can go wrong – anesthesia, infection, etc. Going blind is the least of it – my (late) housekeeper decided that she was overweight and needed bariatric surgery. When you sign the forms they tell you that there is a risk of death. This not just something that the lawyers make them put in. They are not kidding. Laser eye surgery is not going to kill you, but you may wish you were dead if it goes really badly.

    As you get older, you are going to lose your close focus no matter what because your lenses lose the ability to change shape, so even the people whose surgery is perfect are going to need reading glasses eventually anyway. And if you are old enough to need reading glasses or bifocals, there’s no point in having the surgery. There are various devices and procedures in trial for presbyopia (it’s a very big market since virtually everyone over 40 gets it eventually) but nothing that I would trust yet, especially since the “disease” can be treated with a pair of glasses from the dollar store instead of an ultra-expensive surgery.

    • Replies: @res

    Maybe 90% of the people who get this surgery are very happy, 9% have in the range of mild regrets to serious regrets because it’s not perfect (glare at night, etc.) and 1% deeply, deeply regret it as the worst decision that they ever made. Personally I would not take a chance on being part of the 1%.
     
    Agreed. I think your statistics understate the problem though since they typically don't look at long term outcomes.

    I think Autochthon made a prudent decision.
  205. @Anonymous

    So the instant he hung up the phone he called around desperately to find one and made a deal to buy it outright for what must have seemed like a good price to the seller (#2 stupidest business decision in all of history). Of course not mentioning that IBM was interested. So you can see that Gates was a very shrewd businessman.
     
    That was my point. Gates was a shrewd businessman and able to recognize and exploit the likely network effect monopoly accruing to the operating systems on mass market PCs. He himself of course did not create the network effect, because it's not something someone creates, but a feature of nature. If some other guy had been able to slip in his OS onto PCs, he would've become extraordinarily wealthy.

    That guy may have become extraordinarily wealthy but not have reached a Wealth Singularity.

    IBM flailed and failed at developing the Next Great OS beyond DOS with their OS/2 product.

    From what I heard, OS/2 was pretty darned good and in important ways better than Windows. I also heard it had a long life in the shadows running ATM terminals, a niche that has since been occupied by Windows XP, which is another story about why an obsolete operating system is handing out cash on the street corner.

    The rollout and marketing and positioning of OS/2, however, was handled in IBMs ham-handed blue-suited corporate fashion. Gates had his Windows that was also considered an oddity with DOS doing the serious jobs without the graphical user interface (GUI) eye candy.

    But when OS/2 came out, Gates came out with his Windows 95. Not nearly as good as OS/2, but at the time, good enough.

    Before people start nit picking, OS/2 came in various incarnations, a text-mode version and a later graphical (GUI) version. Part of its failure may have been the enormous resources IBM put into making a version for a 16-bit “chip” whereas Gates’ Windows 95 wrote off the 16-bit chip as a dead end and concentrated on the 32-bit chip version, greatly simplifying bringing it to market. IBM, however, was serious about OS/2 being the Next Great OS but they lost out to Windows 95.

    Would Gary Kildall — the guy alleged to have kept the Big Blue Suits waiting while he was out flying is private airplane — have successfully staged this second act? By the way, Kildall died wealthy enough, but he died young, perhaps from complications of a bike accident?

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    PS2 was diabolical. I had on an overpriced machine and never got it to run once. Each crash involved a huge pile of floppies.
  206. @Another German Reader
    That's why Trump needs to pick up the migrants from the border & the refugees-camps of Africa and dump them right into Park Avenue, Beverly Hills.

    That's why we need to team up with Leftist from time to time make sure the upper-middle-class and upper-class feels the diversity directly in the frontyard.

    The key is to break the upper-middle-class/middle-class, who can escape diversity only to a certain extent, from the upper-class.

    China & Vietnam only changed course because the middle-ranked cadre knew how much better life was in the Western countries.

    In my area the upper middle class is being replaced as fast as the landscaping class. The entire continent of Asia has disgorged its doctors/nurses/health professionals into Northern California and sent the few remaining Americans scurrying into the mountain states. The public school jobs are next.

  207. @anonymous coward

    Most myopia is caused by reading.
     
    There's different theories about myopia, and none of them hold up to serious scrutiny.

    The current scientific fad is that myopia is caused by low light conditions.

    Personally, I don't believe in any of these theories. Looking at my own family history, I see that myopia is 90% genetic.

    E. Asians seem to be genetically prone to myopia. It’s rare to see an E. Asian NOT wearing glasses. Part of this is because whites wear contacts more often, but not all of it. Some people think this is because Asians are more bookish but I think there is a big genetic factor. I was always a big reader and had perfect vision until presbyopia set in at the usual age. My wife has been wearing a strong prescription since 4th grade (as did her siblings) but my kids must have inherited my eyeballs since they have perfect vision despite being readers from an exceptionally early age. Maybe it is a combination thing where you have to have BOTH the genetic tendency (eyeballs that don’t spring back into round?) AND stress your eyes from a young age.

    • Replies: @BB753
    Mainland Chinese have lower rates of myopia than Singaporeans and Taiwanese and Chinese - Americans. Actually, lower than White Americans, who have off-the - charts rates of myopia (40%). Two generations ago, it was 10%. What's going on? It correlates with the rise of obesity. Somebody ought to look into that (insulin?)
    , @res

    Maybe it is a combination thing where you have to have BOTH the genetic tendency (eyeballs that don’t spring back into round?) AND stress your eyes from a young age.
     
    This. And perhaps other environmental influences (e.g. diet?).
    , @Anonymous
    The change in myopia rates has been so quick and significant that it's unlikely to be directly genetic. They've looked at myopia prevalence in older generations of Asians who were mainly peasant farmers outside all day and often illiterate, and it was much lower. The younger generations are inside all day doing schoolwork and reading, so a genetic tendency towards bookishness may be indirectly causing myopia.

    There have been similar major changes in other groups. In fact, more recently the change in myopia prevalence has been greater among blacks than whites, most likely because blacks in general have never been very bookish, so they probably haven't been exposed to lots of near work until more recently with the rise of television and electronic media. Whereas reading was always popular among whites even before electronic media.

    https://www.uabmedicine.org/-/attacking-the-myopia-epidemic-a-boom-in-the-research-community

    The National Eye Institute released a recent study that examined the prevalence of myopia within certain timeframes: 1971 to 1972 and 1999 to 2004. The study found that an estimated 25 percent of the population, ages 12-54, had myopia between 1971 and 1972. This percentage increased to a staggering 66 percent between 1999-2004. During this time, myopia rose from 30 to 80 percent in Americans of European descent and an exorbitant 100 percent in African Americans. By some estimates, one-third of the world’s population could be affected by myopia at the end of this decade.
     
  208. JP Morgan (not the one from the Gong Show) had a degree in art history from University of Göttingen. Getting on for half of his wealth at the time of his death was in his his art collection. In The panic of 1907 showed Morgan as having power to allocate an astonishing amount of money, relative to GNP, greater that anyone in American history.

    http://www.europeanfinancialreview.com/?p=3344

    J.P. Morgan, the great American banker, who was attributed with creating a vast monopoly on capital in the early twentieth century. What did he have to say about inequality?

    In 1912, the House of Representatives had the rare opportunity to question him about the consolidation of money and power in the United States. They wanted to know how he and his partners had come to sit on the boards of more than 200 firms, had access to over $81 million in corporate capital, owned large quantities of shares in major financial institutions from commercial banks to insurance companies, and dominated the voting trusts of major trust companies.

    They also wanted to understand the purpose of his business dealings with other elite bankers like George F. Baker of First National Bank and James Stillman of National City Bank. But when they asked him how he had such access and influence over the movement of capital, and when they questioned him about the “community of interest” he created with other elite bankers and industrialists, he responded by saying that all these things had nothing to do with money or power. Actually, he said, his business was based on trust, which was itself based on good character.

    What people like Gates certainly get from their philanthropy is reputation. It does not hurt Microsoft’s business that he is perceived as bypassing the government funneling the profit to good works, and he keeps his importance so he is winning in every way.

    I suppose the criticism of Wall Street capital is that, rather like the Dutch towards the end of their Golden Age (that provided the patrons for art), it is begining to concentrate on speculation rather than productive investment. Taibbi writes of “the great American bubble machine” (Goldman Sachs) being a “great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money”.

    Almost half of the world’s big art collectors work in asset management, they know a good investment.

  209. @Autochthon
    I'd not known of these allegations. They affect one example, but not the point itself: Gates could stand to do a sit-up and wear a suit.

    Edmund Hillary wasn't a flabby slouch at sixty-three.

    By all accounts Jefferson Davis, who had some setbacks after 1865 which would have driven many men to abject despair and dissolution, comported himself like less of a schlub. Hell, here's Mr. Davis at eighty, a year before his death:

    http://www.mshistorynow.mdah.ms.gov/images/582.jpg

    There you are, two more examples as penance for the one poor choice, and, as far as I know, both men remarried as a widowers but engaged in no weird dalliances or orgies. If anyone knows different, I don't want to be disabused of my ignorance.

    No, I must stand by my assessment: Gates is a sloven weenie, for all his riches.

    Being fit would be a good idea, but you can be sure that the way Gates dresses is intentional. His father was a lawyer and Gates would have been familiar with putting a suit on every day . But in the “tech” world this is not the normal uniform, no matter how rich you are. IBMers always dressed formally, but the PC business evolved as the UN-IBM. It would have been strange and would have distanced him from his employees, especially at the beginning. And there was never a good time for him to switch – the khaki pants became his trademark. Switching to a suit would have been seen as “putting on airs” and even today would generate bad publicity.

  210. @Jack D
    E. Asians seem to be genetically prone to myopia. It's rare to see an E. Asian NOT wearing glasses. Part of this is because whites wear contacts more often, but not all of it. Some people think this is because Asians are more bookish but I think there is a big genetic factor. I was always a big reader and had perfect vision until presbyopia set in at the usual age. My wife has been wearing a strong prescription since 4th grade (as did her siblings) but my kids must have inherited my eyeballs since they have perfect vision despite being readers from an exceptionally early age. Maybe it is a combination thing where you have to have BOTH the genetic tendency (eyeballs that don't spring back into round?) AND stress your eyes from a young age.

    Mainland Chinese have lower rates of myopia than Singaporeans and Taiwanese and Chinese – Americans. Actually, lower than White Americans, who have off-the – charts rates of myopia (40%). Two generations ago, it was 10%. What’s going on? It correlates with the rise of obesity. Somebody ought to look into that (insulin?)

  211. @Clyde
    #2 Circa 1992 I ran into an endowment manager for MIT university a few times. He told me that English and Dutch old money going back for centuries and growing for centuries. Was very well hidden and super enormous. I asked him the same question with some variations and he gave me the same reply a few times. Dutch and English old money is what Steve is talking about. The kind that two remains intact past two World Wars.
    The MIT guy was very credible and looked a bit like Robert Fripp.

    My above "dodge them for years".......taxes of course

    Last year on a CABLE CAR INTO MANHATTAN (a gem I found that cost me nothing) I buttonholed “a guy who works in” (I don’t reveal my sources) the UN’s pension fund’s management and as we looked out of the glass at his building I asked about his work. I’m far more delightful, but no less straightforward, in public than I am in this space so I asked and he answered: Yes, The United Nations is a scam for high-born but lesser local aristocrats and go-getter free-country
    young careerists and for all sorts of genuine bad guys, etc and that he is basically getting paid an enormous salary (he involunitarily smiled a lot about the size of his salary when I tried to pin him down on it during our brief moments together but he wouldn’t give me the number) for managing a fund so huge that, like Joseph’s original money management strategy in Egypt during The Seven Good Years, simple things like numbers just don’t go that high. He has more psycopathy than conscience to him so while he said outright that he’s managing money for the world’s biggest racket it didn’t bother him too much. The only reason this vignette stuck around in my head (I’ve met plenty of UN people) is because of how clear a picture he transmitted to me of never-ending wealth wrapped in the full legality and moral name of the UN.

    Counterpoint: Millions of people are trying to get IN to the US. Some even paying fortunes for it. And people are getting in dinghies in Africa to cross in to Europe. Same as the barbarians who wanted in to Rome. And all of that demonstrates clearly how awesome our lives are! Among all humans we are the ALIVE ones and among the alive ones we are the white ones. And among the white ones we are the English speaking ones. And from amongst those who are alive, white and English speaking, we are also Americans. In the 21st century.

    Lots of people want in to that club. Augustus Caesar and Alexander The Great for two. And every non-white English speaker from India too. Yeah yeah, some people have billions of dollars and have never had to wipe their own anus and get to be showered by girls while still in bed but life is still pretty damn kickass.

    • Agree: Clyde
  212. I have remote relatives who live in an old 18th C house full of art and no servants. The place is cold and damp all year round. Half the rooms are never used. The original art is still mostly on the walls (and one shared ancestor was an artist of note) but as it mostly of sentimental value, family portraits etc, it is not . A fair bit of furniture was sold in the ’60’s. The last two generations have done nothing but work to keep the place maintained. I am extremely glad that line inherited. I wouldn’t want the burden.

    They missed a trick. Until the 1970’s it was possible to give the house to the nation’. The deal included the right to live in part of the house in perpetuity. Most of these houses are managed by the National Trust, a private charity with huge resources in land. As a charity it doesn’t pay taxes so it has the income to pay for maintenance.

    Money does stay in gentry families. They tend(ed) to marry each other so there would be less dilution than you might expect. Certain other groups like the Quaker industrialists tend to marry in the group too. I think I have seen this happening in the East African Asian community. Matchmakers match like with like.

    Twice, women on my side married down, so no such inheritance.

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
    Very interesting.

    You wouldn't mind naming the artist perhaps?
  213. res says:
    @Autochthon
    I'd not known of these allegations. They affect one example, but not the point itself: Gates could stand to do a sit-up and wear a suit.

    Edmund Hillary wasn't a flabby slouch at sixty-three.

    By all accounts Jefferson Davis, who had some setbacks after 1865 which would have driven many men to abject despair and dissolution, comported himself like less of a schlub. Hell, here's Mr. Davis at eighty, a year before his death:

    http://www.mshistorynow.mdah.ms.gov/images/582.jpg

    There you are, two more examples as penance for the one poor choice, and, as far as I know, both men remarried as a widowers but engaged in no weird dalliances or orgies. If anyone knows different, I don't want to be disabused of my ignorance.

    No, I must stand by my assessment: Gates is a sloven weenie, for all his riches.

    Worth noting that at the time photographs were still a big deal. Davis looks great in that photo. Especially given his life circumstances at the time which you note. I imagine Bill Gates would look better (than he does in the photos of him here, not your Davis photo) in a photograph that carefully staged than he does in the relatively candid shots we get to see.

    That said, the best portrayals of Bill Gates I have seen (at whatever age) don’t come close to matching that photo.

    Agreed with your basic point, but I think Jack D gives a pretty good explanation for the relative informality of his dress. If not the other aspects of the slovenliness you note.

  214. @Jack D
    E. Asians seem to be genetically prone to myopia. It's rare to see an E. Asian NOT wearing glasses. Part of this is because whites wear contacts more often, but not all of it. Some people think this is because Asians are more bookish but I think there is a big genetic factor. I was always a big reader and had perfect vision until presbyopia set in at the usual age. My wife has been wearing a strong prescription since 4th grade (as did her siblings) but my kids must have inherited my eyeballs since they have perfect vision despite being readers from an exceptionally early age. Maybe it is a combination thing where you have to have BOTH the genetic tendency (eyeballs that don't spring back into round?) AND stress your eyes from a young age.

    Maybe it is a combination thing where you have to have BOTH the genetic tendency (eyeballs that don’t spring back into round?) AND stress your eyes from a young age.

    This. And perhaps other environmental influences (e.g. diet?).

  215. @prosa123
    In contrast, when I saw the Mona Lisa in person this past November it was impossible to be under the spell of the painting, or otherwise transformed by being in its presence, thanks to the horde of selfie-taking tourists (>50% East Asian) swarming around it and making it a struggle to get a decent view.

    An additional distraction was courtesy of one of the four guards on duty around the painting, a slightly chubby 30ish woman wearing a too-short skirt with hookerish fishnet stockings. She was the second most sexually charged sight in the room, second only to Ms. Lisa's cleavage.

    We have been so overexposed to the image of the Mona Lisa to the point of cliche that it is impossible to experience it fresh. If you go just before the museum closes it may be less mobbed but it’s really no use – it has lost its transcendency because of excess familiarity, like a hit song that you have heard too many times. And there are some works where reproductions just don’t do justice to the original – no picture of The Night Watch is going to have the same impact as the 12′ x 14′ painting itself. But the Mona Lisa is not like that, especially since it sits behind bulletproof glass because of all the nutjobs who have attacked it and they have you railed off so you can’t get close. We already know most of the details of the Mona Lisa – her enigmatic smile, her eyes that seem to follow you, the landscape in the background, the pose of her hands, etc. so there are few surprises when you see the real thing. If anything it is diminished vs. what you can see from a high res. reproduction.

    • Replies: @prosa123
    In contrast to the Mona Lisa experience, I was taken (pleasantly) by surprise at the Museum of Modern Art when I turned a corner and came face to face with Van Gogh's Starry Night. I knew it was in the museum but didn't know exactly where. Granted, my immediate reaction was "This was on the cover of my high school physics textbook!"

    Of the paintings in the museum Starry Night seemed to vie with Andrew Wyeth's Christina's World for attracting the most people, though the latter is in a more visible location right by the main stairway.
    , @Steve Sailer
    The Louvre is full of gigantic paintings (e.g. 20' x 12') that can't be fully experienced in a reproduction: e.g., Gericault's Raft of the Medusa. The Mona Lisa, however, is not one of them.
  216. @LondonBob
    I am always impressed that Lord Salisbury was Prime Minister three hundred years after his direct ancestors William and Robert Cecil were chief ministers to Elizabeth I.

    They churned out a Professor at Cambridge too last century. One of them was Leader of the House of Lords just before the hereditarily were reduced in number under the last Labour government. I think he ended up leading them. The Cecil’s claimed to marry for intelligence not money.

  217. res says:
    @Jack D
    Maybe 90% of the people who get this surgery are very happy, 9% have in the range of mild regrets to serious regrets because it's not perfect (glare at night, etc.) and 1% deeply, deeply regret it as the worst decision that they ever made. Personally I would not take a chance on being part of the 1%.

    In general, I would not recommend getting almost any sort of "elective" surgery. (A good hint is that if your insurance company won't pay for it, you shouldn't get it). Surgery should be reserved for some life threatening or very serious condition that cannot be treated in any other way, not so that you can get rid of your eyeglasses or contacts or because you have a few wrinkles. Too many things can go wrong - anesthesia, infection, etc. Going blind is the least of it - my (late) housekeeper decided that she was overweight and needed bariatric surgery. When you sign the forms they tell you that there is a risk of death. This not just something that the lawyers make them put in. They are not kidding. Laser eye surgery is not going to kill you, but you may wish you were dead if it goes really badly.

    As you get older, you are going to lose your close focus no matter what because your lenses lose the ability to change shape, so even the people whose surgery is perfect are going to need reading glasses eventually anyway. And if you are old enough to need reading glasses or bifocals, there's no point in having the surgery. There are various devices and procedures in trial for presbyopia (it's a very big market since virtually everyone over 40 gets it eventually) but nothing that I would trust yet, especially since the "disease" can be treated with a pair of glasses from the dollar store instead of an ultra-expensive surgery.

    Maybe 90% of the people who get this surgery are very happy, 9% have in the range of mild regrets to serious regrets because it’s not perfect (glare at night, etc.) and 1% deeply, deeply regret it as the worst decision that they ever made. Personally I would not take a chance on being part of the 1%.

    Agreed. I think your statistics understate the problem though since they typically don’t look at long term outcomes.

    I think Autochthon made a prudent decision.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    I asked an MD I know about Lasik years ago and he said keep a pair of drugstore glasses in each room instead.

    I have done that but still frequently leave the room wearing the room's glasses.

    Today I bought 2 three packs of readers at Walmart for $7.86 each so now I can leave two pair in each room.

    I love Walmart. It has everything. And the best self checkout machines.
  218. @Jack D
    IBM (knowing that it could never produce an operating system in house for the new IBM PC that it was designing - it would have cost them billions and taken forever) went to CP/M - then the leading OS for Intel based PCs. The CP/M guy told them that he was busy and to come back later and to go away and not bother him, etc. - something like that . The #1 stupidest business decision in all of history. So IBM had to keep looking.

    Gates was already selling them Microsoft Basic and they asked him if he had an operating system and he said sure, absolutely, funny you should ask, we've been working on a new PC operating system. I'll be glad to give you a demo next week, you'll really love it, it's a great operating system with many interesting features and I think it is just what you need, etc. He had no OS. But rule #1 of customer service is never turn a customer away - they may leave and never come back. So the instant he hung up the phone he called around desperately to find one and made a deal to buy it outright for what must have seemed like a good price to the seller (#2 stupidest business decision in all of history). Of course not mentioning that IBM was interested. So you can see that Gates was a very shrewd businessman.

    Gary Kildall (CP/M) was apparently out when IBM called (flying I think). His wife took the call but he was really slow following it up. Acorn in Cambridge in the UK probably had the best O/S at the time, already heading to a GUI but IBM didn’t call them. Gates came to Acorn to pitch Windows and saw Acorn’s much superior GUI. Apple wasn’t the only contributor.

    Has Microsoft ever done anything original?

  219. @Brabantian
    Piketty, being French, knows whereof he speaks re old hidden money

    Quite common in continental Europe, where families are used to how wealth needs to be well-hidden at times, as conquering armies and confiscatory regimes come and go

    Hiding things from the Nazis was merely one instance amongst many

    Invited into an old family's house, you often see valuable art ... much gold is hidden in Europe too

    Europeans have been at this a long time, and are much less braggart boastful about what is owned ... as with firearms

    There are maybe 75-100 million legally-owned (or deeply hidden) civilian firearms in the EU, and yet there is very little internet bluster about it, to the point that USA people often imagine 'guns are banned in Europe'

    “There are maybe 75-100 million legally-owned (or deeply hidden) civilian firearms in the EU, and yet there is very little internet bluster about it, to the point that USA people often imagine ‘guns are banned in Europe’”

    Actually, we think of Euros as having all their useful-for-militia guns as REGISTERED as thus immediately located by the your governments. Guns that aren’t useful for militia, and by that I mean magazine-fed, military caliber, semi/ full auto will be of odd-ball sporting or obsolescent calibers. Ammunition will begin to start going bad (“hang fires”) after around six or seven decades.

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

  220. @Jack D
    We have been so overexposed to the image of the Mona Lisa to the point of cliche that it is impossible to experience it fresh. If you go just before the museum closes it may be less mobbed but it's really no use - it has lost its transcendency because of excess familiarity, like a hit song that you have heard too many times. And there are some works where reproductions just don't do justice to the original - no picture of The Night Watch is going to have the same impact as the 12' x 14' painting itself. But the Mona Lisa is not like that, especially since it sits behind bulletproof glass because of all the nutjobs who have attacked it and they have you railed off so you can't get close. We already know most of the details of the Mona Lisa - her enigmatic smile, her eyes that seem to follow you, the landscape in the background, the pose of her hands, etc. so there are few surprises when you see the real thing. If anything it is diminished vs. what you can see from a high res. reproduction.

    In contrast to the Mona Lisa experience, I was taken (pleasantly) by surprise at the Museum of Modern Art when I turned a corner and came face to face with Van Gogh’s Starry Night. I knew it was in the museum but didn’t know exactly where. Granted, my immediate reaction was “This was on the cover of my high school physics textbook!”

    Of the paintings in the museum Starry Night seemed to vie with Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World for attracting the most people, though the latter is in a more visible location right by the main stairway.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    My #1 experience like that was visiting the Mauritshuis in the Hague which has a whole bunch of Rembrandt's top masterpieces - The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp, the heartbreaking self portrait he painted in the last year of his life, etc. It was a weekday in January and there was nobody there. Being able to commune with the art without a horde of self-snapping Asian tourists really makes a difference.

    Reproductions on paper or screen of Van Gogh's don't do them justice because their surface is very textured - he laid the paint on thick. The Mona Lisa is painted on a board and is almost as flat IRL as it is on paper so you don't lose a lot of information.
    , @Steve Sailer
    I can also recall first seeing Van Gogh's Starry Night at the MoMA c. 1980. It helps to have a catchy tune by Don McClean with the title "Starry Night" in it.
  221. @Charles Pewitt
    I remember a scene from a TV show that had a railroad going through some aristocrat's lands in England. The lady aristocrat is looking out the window of her manor house and watching the railroad go through. I wondered why the aristocrats didn't have enough political power to make the railroad go somewhere else.

    Thomas Hardy and other writers were writing about the railroads in England. Just saw on the internet a poem about railroads by Hardy, I'll read that.

    Oil and refining oil on Delaware Bay brought in the loot too.

    William the Conqueror had the right idea about ruling class decapitation. White Core Nationalists must financially liquidate those plutocrats who don't go along with the program. Maybe some old money would like to see the new money get taken out.

    The answer to 1984 is 1066.

    This internet censorship and de-platforming stuff ends when the internet plutocrats doing it get the William the Conqueror treatment. I have Norman ancestry and I would love to financially liquidate some of these new money anti-White internet plutocrat rats.

    I remember the program you mention, and indeed that very scene.

    I watched one of the episodes with a scion of an old and still landed family. During that episode a boy who is found to be talented is sent off to be educated properly – by the very woman watching the train.
    I said (those who don’t like my anecdotes can look away now): “Splendid. Equality of opportunity, not outcome”. My aristocratic friend replied: “Nonsense. Giving the fellow ideas above his station”.

    Let me know when your William the Conqueror treatment gets going, and I’ll send you his address. He’d like nothing better than to help you lop off the heads of the uppity nouveaus riches.

  222. @Clyde
    How intersecting that you kick off with a Dutch account and painting because Rollings Stones and Bono/U2 have been using double Dutch sandwich (or some variation ) to dodge them for years. The Stones were first and only started making their real money (got ripped off *massively* by Alan Klein who stole their pre 1971 song writing royalties) after hiring Prince Rupert Loewenstein their finances manager. He was very reluctant to deal with those scruffy dogs. He advised European Royalty
    __________________________

    Mick Jagger attacks former financial adviser over Rolling ...
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/rolling-stones/9860800/...
    Feb 10, 2013 · Once dubbed the human calculator, Prince Rupert describes himself as a combination of “bank manager, psychiatrist and nanny” to the Rolling Stones. He became the band’s adviser in 1968 when he was running a merchant bank, and admits to becoming fascinated by …

    Mick Jagger Up in Arms Over His Advisor’s New Memoir ...
    https://www.wealthmanagement.com/blog/mick-jagger-arms-over-his...
    Mick Jagger’s former financial advisor, Prince Rupert Loewenstein, is coming out with his memoir, A Prince Among Stones, next month, and the Rolling Stones’ front man is not happy about it.

    Rupert Loewenstein: Mick Jagger fury as Bavarian Prince ...
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2276087/Rupert-Loewen...
    Jagger fury as Bavarian Prince who worked as band's financial adviser for 40 years reveals truth about Rolling Stones' millions Prince Rupert Loewenstein was the Stones' financial adviser from ...

    Rupert Loewenstein was a gentleman before he was a prince. He loved a good party, but he loved learning and Catholic tradition and piety more.
    The Stones were a source of income to him; little more.
    He and I lunched (always at Wiltons in Jermyn Street, and he was always the host) on the very day when Josef Ratzinger was elected pope. I will never forget the triumphant smile with which he greeted me, and the gusto with which he announced that we would start our meal with a glass of vintage champagne.
    The name Loewenstein is not necessarily Jewish, but it does suggest Jewish blood, which in his case was true. Rupert was half Jewish on both sides, with descents from the Rothschilds, the Tedescos of Vienna and the de Worms of Germany. I did some research on his various lines, and discovered that he was first cousin (some generations removed of course) to Felix Mendelssohn. This was fitting, as classical (i e real) music was one of his passions.
    The press image (Rupie the Groupie and all that) was laughably wide of the mark.

    • Replies: @Clyde
    Many thanks! How interesting that you got to hang out with him. All accounts I read of Rupert Loewenstein kept his Jewish origins hidden. The Stones got massively ripped off until Jagger got a hold of Rupert to run their finances.
  223. @Philip Owen
    I have remote relatives who live in an old 18th C house full of art and no servants. The place is cold and damp all year round. Half the rooms are never used. The original art is still mostly on the walls (and one shared ancestor was an artist of note) but as it mostly of sentimental value, family portraits etc, it is not . A fair bit of furniture was sold in the '60's. The last two generations have done nothing but work to keep the place maintained. I am extremely glad that line inherited. I wouldn't want the burden.

    They missed a trick. Until the 1970's it was possible to give the house to the nation'. The deal included the right to live in part of the house in perpetuity. Most of these houses are managed by the National Trust, a private charity with huge resources in land. As a charity it doesn't pay taxes so it has the income to pay for maintenance.

    Money does stay in gentry families. They tend(ed) to marry each other so there would be less dilution than you might expect. Certain other groups like the Quaker industrialists tend to marry in the group too. I think I have seen this happening in the East African Asian community. Matchmakers match like with like.

    Twice, women on my side married down, so no such inheritance.

    Very interesting.

    You wouldn’t mind naming the artist perhaps?

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    Thomas Jones. He invented modern landscape painting by actually painting real landscapes, previously landscapes were painted according to a conventional formula. He was a professional artist based in Naples. He didn't expect to inherit.
    , @Philip Owen
    My answer seems to have disappeared. Thomas Jones. He invented modern landscape painting (by painting actual landscapes). He lived in Naples painting people on the grand tour. He didn't expect to inherit.
  224. @Trevor H.
    I thought that kicking people in the head when they're down was an American Negro specialty. Now it appears that Muslims do it too. Is it spreading?

    I’m sorry to say that it is more a Yorkshire thing.

    I saw it going on outside a pub (and not too far from Bradford either, but in the country) as long ago as 1983. Both victor and victim were white.

  225. @David
    One of Hitler's many complaints was that, to augment their fortunes, German noble families were choosing Jewish brides.

    Actually an extremely rare event. Truer perhaps of the Austrians, feckless incompetents that so many of them were.

    Count Arco-Valley, who shot Kurt Eisner dead in 1919, did so because the man was a “Jewish Bolshevik”. Ironically enough, Arco was himself partly Jewish: his mother was a Baroness von Oppenheim. But the Oppenheims had converted, and perhaps the count considered himself thusly absolved.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    There was no irony or coincidence. Arco-Valley killed Eisner to prove himself "worthy" after he had been rejected for membership in a proto-Nazi group, the Thule Society, because he was of Jewish descent.

    The Graf received very little punishment for his cold blooded murder of Eisner - 5 years in prison. He died in an "auto accident" in June of 1945. I wonder whether THAT was a coincidence.
  226. @prosa123
    In contrast to the Mona Lisa experience, I was taken (pleasantly) by surprise at the Museum of Modern Art when I turned a corner and came face to face with Van Gogh's Starry Night. I knew it was in the museum but didn't know exactly where. Granted, my immediate reaction was "This was on the cover of my high school physics textbook!"

    Of the paintings in the museum Starry Night seemed to vie with Andrew Wyeth's Christina's World for attracting the most people, though the latter is in a more visible location right by the main stairway.

    My #1 experience like that was visiting the Mauritshuis in the Hague which has a whole bunch of Rembrandt’s top masterpieces – The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp, the heartbreaking self portrait he painted in the last year of his life, etc. It was a weekday in January and there was nobody there. Being able to commune with the art without a horde of self-snapping Asian tourists really makes a difference.

    Reproductions on paper or screen of Van Gogh’s don’t do them justice because their surface is very textured – he laid the paint on thick. The Mona Lisa is painted on a board and is almost as flat IRL as it is on paper so you don’t lose a lot of information.

    • Replies: @The Last Real Calvinist
    Agree; can't recommend the Mauritshuis highly enough.

    In addition to the Rembrandts, there's a room with Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring and View of Delft on opposite walls. It's an unforgettable experience.

    The Mauritshuis is also the perfect size for a museum -- you have plenty to see, but it's not so large as to be overwhelming.
  227. @Old Palo Altan
    Actually an extremely rare event. Truer perhaps of the Austrians, feckless incompetents that so many of them were.

    Count Arco-Valley, who shot Kurt Eisner dead in 1919, did so because the man was a "Jewish Bolshevik". Ironically enough, Arco was himself partly Jewish: his mother was a Baroness von Oppenheim. But the Oppenheims had converted, and perhaps the count considered himself thusly absolved.

    There was no irony or coincidence. Arco-Valley killed Eisner to prove himself “worthy” after he had been rejected for membership in a proto-Nazi group, the Thule Society, because he was of Jewish descent.

    The Graf received very little punishment for his cold blooded murder of Eisner – 5 years in prison. He died in an “auto accident” in June of 1945. I wonder whether THAT was a coincidence.

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
    Amazingly, only in the last two weeks has it become known that Arco secretly (and through a Jewish lawyer) sent 60,000 Marks to Eisner's widow.

    A complicated and probably self-doubting man. In any case he was but one-quarter Jewish, as his mother's mother was a Protestant.

    One does wonder, doesn't one, just how many of the "accidental" deaths in those chaotic months at the end of the second war were anything but. One thinks of Patton above all.

  228. @Hippopotamusdrome


    The burden turns out to be his name, which is actually Jan Six XI. ... named a firstborn son Jan in nearly every generation.

     

    Rembrandt also painted a portrait of his cousin, Jari Severn IX, Countess of Bourges.

    I get the reference but not every one is a Star Trek fan.

  229. @Old Palo Altan
    Until the detestable result of the damnable First World War, the Germans really did rule the world.

    Yes, WWI was probably the biggest tragedy in history. And they didn’t even know what they were fighting about.

  230. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:
    @anonymous coward

    Most myopia is caused by reading.
     
    There's different theories about myopia, and none of them hold up to serious scrutiny.

    The current scientific fad is that myopia is caused by low light conditions.

    Personally, I don't believe in any of these theories. Looking at my own family history, I see that myopia is 90% genetic.

    The issue with light is that there’s significant confounding between light and reading and near work.

    There’s a huge difference in light levels between the indoors and outdoors. Lux is the standard unit of light, and outdoor lux levels typically range from 10,000 to 100,000 lux, whereas indoors, the light levels typically range from 100 to 500 lux. When you’re indoors, you’re enclosed by walls and often the furthest objects are only several feet away. When you’re outside, your field of vision includes objects much further away, even miles away towards the horizon, and since vision involves light being reflected off of objects and into your eyes, the much stronger light outside means that the light reflected off of objects very far away actually reaches your eyes.

    Furthermore, where do most people do most of their reading? Indoors of course. When you’re outside, not only are your eyes exposed to objects much further away by default, you’re also typically engaged in activities involving your eyes looking at things far away. Whereas when you’re indoors, the farthest thing you can look at might be the corner of your bedroom 10 ft. away.

    Aside from invalids, the disabled, senior citizens, etc., time spent indoors vs. outdoors and thus light exposure is often a proxy for things like near work, reading, bookishness, etc.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    There's an assumption among baseball statistics analysts that historic trends such as increasing strikeouts by batters can't possibly be due to a decline in skill. But what if American boys increasingly spent more time indoors and thus, on average, had less outstanding eyesight as adults?
  231. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:
    @anonymous coward

    Most myopia is caused by reading.
     
    There's different theories about myopia, and none of them hold up to serious scrutiny.

    The current scientific fad is that myopia is caused by low light conditions.

    Personally, I don't believe in any of these theories. Looking at my own family history, I see that myopia is 90% genetic.

    Personally, I don’t believe in any of these theories. Looking at my own family history, I see that myopia is 90% genetic.

    Tolerance of, aptitude for, and interest in reading and near work is also genetic. The question is whether the genetic influence on myopia is direct or indirect via reading and near work.

  232. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jack D
    E. Asians seem to be genetically prone to myopia. It's rare to see an E. Asian NOT wearing glasses. Part of this is because whites wear contacts more often, but not all of it. Some people think this is because Asians are more bookish but I think there is a big genetic factor. I was always a big reader and had perfect vision until presbyopia set in at the usual age. My wife has been wearing a strong prescription since 4th grade (as did her siblings) but my kids must have inherited my eyeballs since they have perfect vision despite being readers from an exceptionally early age. Maybe it is a combination thing where you have to have BOTH the genetic tendency (eyeballs that don't spring back into round?) AND stress your eyes from a young age.

    The change in myopia rates has been so quick and significant that it’s unlikely to be directly genetic. They’ve looked at myopia prevalence in older generations of Asians who were mainly peasant farmers outside all day and often illiterate, and it was much lower. The younger generations are inside all day doing schoolwork and reading, so a genetic tendency towards bookishness may be indirectly causing myopia.

    There have been similar major changes in other groups. In fact, more recently the change in myopia prevalence has been greater among blacks than whites, most likely because blacks in general have never been very bookish, so they probably haven’t been exposed to lots of near work until more recently with the rise of television and electronic media. Whereas reading was always popular among whites even before electronic media.

    https://www.uabmedicine.org/-/attacking-the-myopia-epidemic-a-boom-in-the-research-community

    The National Eye Institute released a recent study that examined the prevalence of myopia within certain timeframes: 1971 to 1972 and 1999 to 2004. The study found that an estimated 25 percent of the population, ages 12-54, had myopia between 1971 and 1972. This percentage increased to a staggering 66 percent between 1999-2004. During this time, myopia rose from 30 to 80 percent in Americans of European descent and an exorbitant 100 percent in African Americans. By some estimates, one-third of the world’s population could be affected by myopia at the end of this decade.

  233. @Anonymous
    The issue with light is that there's significant confounding between light and reading and near work.

    There's a huge difference in light levels between the indoors and outdoors. Lux is the standard unit of light, and outdoor lux levels typically range from 10,000 to 100,000 lux, whereas indoors, the light levels typically range from 100 to 500 lux. When you're indoors, you're enclosed by walls and often the furthest objects are only several feet away. When you're outside, your field of vision includes objects much further away, even miles away towards the horizon, and since vision involves light being reflected off of objects and into your eyes, the much stronger light outside means that the light reflected off of objects very far away actually reaches your eyes.

    Furthermore, where do most people do most of their reading? Indoors of course. When you're outside, not only are your eyes exposed to objects much further away by default, you're also typically engaged in activities involving your eyes looking at things far away. Whereas when you're indoors, the farthest thing you can look at might be the corner of your bedroom 10 ft. away.

    Aside from invalids, the disabled, senior citizens, etc., time spent indoors vs. outdoors and thus light exposure is often a proxy for things like near work, reading, bookishness, etc.

    There’s an assumption among baseball statistics analysts that historic trends such as increasing strikeouts by batters can’t possibly be due to a decline in skill. But what if American boys increasingly spent more time indoors and thus, on average, had less outstanding eyesight as adults?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    That definitely could be a factor. Bryce Harper's hitting improved a lot when he started wearing contacts:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/now-seeing-in-hd-bryce-harper-lays-waste-to-sally-league-pitching/2011/05/12/AF60aG1G_story.html

    On the day Bryce Harper walked into the eye doctor’s office, he was, he would say later, “blind as a bat.” Keith Smithson, the Washington Nationals’ team optometrist, asked Harper to read an eye chart, then looked at him with astonishment and said, according to Harper: “I don’t know how you ever hit before. You have some of the worst eyes I’ve ever seen.”

    That was on April 19. The next night, fitted with a new pair of contact lenses, Harper, batting just .231 at the time for the low-Class A Hagerstown Suns of the South Atlantic League, had a double and a single against the visiting Hickory Crawdads. The next night, he homered. And the night after that, he singled, doubled, homered and drove in six runs.

    “It was like I was seeing in HD,” Harper said.

    Suffice it to say Harper’s hi-def vision is a huge upgrade over standard-def. In 20 games since his visit to the eye doctor, Harper is hitting .480 (36 for 75) with a .547 on-base percentage and an .893 slugging percentage — with 7 homers, 10 doubles and 23 RBI. For the season, he is hitting .395/.473/.702, leading the league in all three “slash-line” categories...

    How did Harper become the top amateur player in the nation in 2010, as well as arguably the greatest hitting prospect in Major League Baseball draft history, when he was “blind as a bat” prior to his being fitted with contacts?

    And secondly, what in the world is he still doing here in Hagerstown?

    To the first question, Harper merely shrugs and says, “I don’t know” — apparently being too modest to tell the truth, which is: That’s just how good he was.

    “I needed [the contacts] in college,” he said. “But I tried them for a while in high school, and they gave me headaches really bad. So I just got by without them. But these are a new kind [of lenses], and they really help. The difference [in vision] is huge.”
     
  234. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:
    @anonymous coward

    Most myopia is caused by reading.
     
    There's different theories about myopia, and none of them hold up to serious scrutiny.

    The current scientific fad is that myopia is caused by low light conditions.

    Personally, I don't believe in any of these theories. Looking at my own family history, I see that myopia is 90% genetic.

    This is a good presentation on myopia:

    Myopia, or near-sightedness, is generally assumed to be an irreversible, genetically determined condition that can only be ameliorated with corrective lenses or surgery. Its prevalence is 30-40% in the U.S. and Europe, and more than 50% in some Asian countries, but it is rare in Africa and in pre-industrial cultures. The incidence of myopia correlates with IQ, school achievement, and industrialization, suggesting that an environmental factor is at work—namely, near-work. This talk will review the biology and epidemiology of myopia and present experimental evidence that myopia can be reversed naturally by specific focusing techniques and practices.

  235. @Inquiring Mind
    That guy may have become extraordinarily wealthy but not have reached a Wealth Singularity.

    IBM flailed and failed at developing the Next Great OS beyond DOS with their OS/2 product.

    From what I heard, OS/2 was pretty darned good and in important ways better than Windows. I also heard it had a long life in the shadows running ATM terminals, a niche that has since been occupied by Windows XP, which is another story about why an obsolete operating system is handing out cash on the street corner.

    The rollout and marketing and positioning of OS/2, however, was handled in IBMs ham-handed blue-suited corporate fashion. Gates had his Windows that was also considered an oddity with DOS doing the serious jobs without the graphical user interface (GUI) eye candy.

    But when OS/2 came out, Gates came out with his Windows 95. Not nearly as good as OS/2, but at the time, good enough.

    Before people start nit picking, OS/2 came in various incarnations, a text-mode version and a later graphical (GUI) version. Part of its failure may have been the enormous resources IBM put into making a version for a 16-bit "chip" whereas Gates' Windows 95 wrote off the 16-bit chip as a dead end and concentrated on the 32-bit chip version, greatly simplifying bringing it to market. IBM, however, was serious about OS/2 being the Next Great OS but they lost out to Windows 95.

    Would Gary Kildall -- the guy alleged to have kept the Big Blue Suits waiting while he was out flying is private airplane -- have successfully staged this second act? By the way, Kildall died wealthy enough, but he died young, perhaps from complications of a bike accident?

    PS2 was diabolical. I had on an overpriced machine and never got it to run once. Each crash involved a huge pile of floppies.

  236. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer
    There's an assumption among baseball statistics analysts that historic trends such as increasing strikeouts by batters can't possibly be due to a decline in skill. But what if American boys increasingly spent more time indoors and thus, on average, had less outstanding eyesight as adults?

    That definitely could be a factor. Bryce Harper’s hitting improved a lot when he started wearing contacts:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/now-seeing-in-hd-bryce-harper-lays-waste-to-sally-league-pitching/2011/05/12/AF60aG1G_story.html

    On the day Bryce Harper walked into the eye doctor’s office, he was, he would say later, “blind as a bat.” Keith Smithson, the Washington Nationals’ team optometrist, asked Harper to read an eye chart, then looked at him with astonishment and said, according to Harper: “I don’t know how you ever hit before. You have some of the worst eyes I’ve ever seen.”

    That was on April 19. The next night, fitted with a new pair of contact lenses, Harper, batting just .231 at the time for the low-Class A Hagerstown Suns of the South Atlantic League, had a double and a single against the visiting Hickory Crawdads. The next night, he homered. And the night after that, he singled, doubled, homered and drove in six runs.

    “It was like I was seeing in HD,” Harper said.

    Suffice it to say Harper’s hi-def vision is a huge upgrade over standard-def. In 20 games since his visit to the eye doctor, Harper is hitting .480 (36 for 75) with a .547 on-base percentage and an .893 slugging percentage — with 7 homers, 10 doubles and 23 RBI. For the season, he is hitting .395/.473/.702, leading the league in all three “slash-line” categories…

    How did Harper become the top amateur player in the nation in 2010, as well as arguably the greatest hitting prospect in Major League Baseball draft history, when he was “blind as a bat” prior to his being fitted with contacts?

    And secondly, what in the world is he still doing here in Hagerstown?

    To the first question, Harper merely shrugs and says, “I don’t know” — apparently being too modest to tell the truth, which is: That’s just how good he was.

    “I needed [the contacts] in college,” he said. “But I tried them for a while in high school, and they gave me headaches really bad. So I just got by without them. But these are a new kind [of lenses], and they really help. The difference [in vision] is huge.”

  237. @Old Palo Altan
    Very interesting.

    You wouldn't mind naming the artist perhaps?

    Thomas Jones. He invented modern landscape painting by actually painting real landscapes, previously landscapes were painted according to a conventional formula. He was a professional artist based in Naples. He didn’t expect to inherit.

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
    A very fine artist, whose lately discovered works have only enhanced his reputation.
  238. @Old Palo Altan
    Very interesting.

    You wouldn't mind naming the artist perhaps?

    My answer seems to have disappeared. Thomas Jones. He invented modern landscape painting (by painting actual landscapes). He lived in Naples painting people on the grand tour. He didn’t expect to inherit.

  239. @Jack D
    There was no irony or coincidence. Arco-Valley killed Eisner to prove himself "worthy" after he had been rejected for membership in a proto-Nazi group, the Thule Society, because he was of Jewish descent.

    The Graf received very little punishment for his cold blooded murder of Eisner - 5 years in prison. He died in an "auto accident" in June of 1945. I wonder whether THAT was a coincidence.

    Amazingly, only in the last two weeks has it become known that Arco secretly (and through a Jewish lawyer) sent 60,000 Marks to Eisner’s widow.

    A complicated and probably self-doubting man. In any case he was but one-quarter Jewish, as his mother’s mother was a Protestant.

    One does wonder, doesn’t one, just how many of the “accidental” deaths in those chaotic months at the end of the second war were anything but. One thinks of Patton above all.

  240. @Philip Owen
    Thomas Jones. He invented modern landscape painting by actually painting real landscapes, previously landscapes were painted according to a conventional formula. He was a professional artist based in Naples. He didn't expect to inherit.

    A very fine artist, whose lately discovered works have only enhanced his reputation.

  241. @prosa123
    In contrast to the Mona Lisa experience, I was taken (pleasantly) by surprise at the Museum of Modern Art when I turned a corner and came face to face with Van Gogh's Starry Night. I knew it was in the museum but didn't know exactly where. Granted, my immediate reaction was "This was on the cover of my high school physics textbook!"

    Of the paintings in the museum Starry Night seemed to vie with Andrew Wyeth's Christina's World for attracting the most people, though the latter is in a more visible location right by the main stairway.

    I can also recall first seeing Van Gogh’s Starry Night at the MoMA c. 1980. It helps to have a catchy tune by Don McClean with the title “Starry Night” in it.

  242. @Jack D
    We have been so overexposed to the image of the Mona Lisa to the point of cliche that it is impossible to experience it fresh. If you go just before the museum closes it may be less mobbed but it's really no use - it has lost its transcendency because of excess familiarity, like a hit song that you have heard too many times. And there are some works where reproductions just don't do justice to the original - no picture of The Night Watch is going to have the same impact as the 12' x 14' painting itself. But the Mona Lisa is not like that, especially since it sits behind bulletproof glass because of all the nutjobs who have attacked it and they have you railed off so you can't get close. We already know most of the details of the Mona Lisa - her enigmatic smile, her eyes that seem to follow you, the landscape in the background, the pose of her hands, etc. so there are few surprises when you see the real thing. If anything it is diminished vs. what you can see from a high res. reproduction.

    The Louvre is full of gigantic paintings (e.g. 20′ x 12′) that can’t be fully experienced in a reproduction: e.g., Gericault’s Raft of the Medusa. The Mona Lisa, however, is not one of them.

  243. @Jack D
    IBM (knowing that it could never produce an operating system in house for the new IBM PC that it was designing - it would have cost them billions and taken forever) went to CP/M - then the leading OS for Intel based PCs. The CP/M guy told them that he was busy and to come back later and to go away and not bother him, etc. - something like that . The #1 stupidest business decision in all of history. So IBM had to keep looking.

    Gates was already selling them Microsoft Basic and they asked him if he had an operating system and he said sure, absolutely, funny you should ask, we've been working on a new PC operating system. I'll be glad to give you a demo next week, you'll really love it, it's a great operating system with many interesting features and I think it is just what you need, etc. He had no OS. But rule #1 of customer service is never turn a customer away - they may leave and never come back. So the instant he hung up the phone he called around desperately to find one and made a deal to buy it outright for what must have seemed like a good price to the seller (#2 stupidest business decision in all of history). Of course not mentioning that IBM was interested. So you can see that Gates was a very shrewd businessman.

    Mr. CP/M was out flying his plane that day, the story goes, which is why he could not meet with IBM.

    Gates’s greatest idea was reserving the right to sell DOS himself, instead of selling IBM exclusive rights.

    IBM’s stamp of approval got PCs into corporate America, where the motto was you don’t get fired for buying from IBM. Now Gates could sell a similar DOS to anybody, and they all felt safe knowing that it was good enough for IBM.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    PC-DOS/MS-DOS was a CP/M like "operating system" that was really just a monitor routine and a collection of utilities. It was not a true OS in the manner of what IBM and the BUNCH's mainframes, or DEC's (and their imitators) minicomputers had. (DEC also had a true mainframe, the PDP-10 running TOPS-10 or -20, but it was a 36 bit, nine-bit-byte machine and was killed in favor of the VAX architecture.)

    CP/M consisted of two parts, the BDOS (basic disk operating system) and BIOS (basic input output system). They only had to give each maker of computers source for the BIOS, the BDOS being universal for all machines of a given processor architecture. Back then the mantra was "never give out or liense source unless you absolutely have to". But each manufacturer had to customize the BIOS because each machine had differences in the hardware far beyond the CPU architecture. This did make cloning a machine tough because the manufacturer owned their modified source and binaries.

    Bill Gates licensed PC-DOS/MS-DOS out at a time when only IBM machines were "100 percent IBM compatible". If you had a different 8086/8088 machine that wasnt a PC it was a " X [where x<100] prcent compatible" and even if it had genuine Microsoft MS-DOS, applications had to be specially compiled for it.

    It was not Bill Gates that "broke" IBM's BIOS exclusivity and made it possible for MS-DOS to be a universal environment all shrinkwrapped apps could run on. It was a small third party company who broke the BIOS by a two staged "Clean Room" approach, and it was they who prevailed in court against IBM at great expense. But the effect was to make Microsoft from being a market player to the monopoly supplier for business computing. Without that Bill Gates would still be a lowly multimillionaire.


    Cloning the IBM PC BIOS

    After the success of the IBM PC, many companies began making PC clones. Some, like Compaq, developed their own compatible ROM BIOS, but others violated copyright by directly copying the PC's BIOS from the IBM PC Technical Reference Manual. After Apple Computer, Inc. v. Franklin Computer Corp. IBM sued companies that it claimed infringed IBM's copyright. Clone manufacturers needed a legal, fully compatible BIOS.[5][6][7]

    To develop a legal BIOS, Phoenix used a clean room technique. Engineers read the BIOS source listings in the IBM PC Technical Reference Manual. They wrote technical specifications for the BIOS APIs for a single, separate engineer—one with experience programming the Texas Instruments TMS9900, not the Intel 8088 or 8086—who had not been exposed to IBM BIOS source code. The single engineer developed code to mimic the BIOS APIs. By recording the audit trail of the two groups' interactions, Phoenix developed a defensibly non-infringing IBM PC compatible ROM BIOS. Because the programmers who wrote the Phoenix code never read IBM's reference manuals, nothing they wrote could have been copied from IBM's code, no matter how closely the two matched.[6][7] This reverse engineering technique is commonly referred to as a "Chinese wall."

    The first Phoenix PC ROM BIOS was introduced in May 1984, which enabled OEMs to build essentially 100%-compatible clones without having to reverse-engineer the IBM PC BIOS themselves, as Compaq had done for the Portable, helping fuel the growth in the PC compatibles industry and sales of non-IBM versions of DOS.[8]

    Phoenix licensed the BIOS to clone makers for $290,000. To reassure customers, the company obtained a $2 million insurance policy from The Hartford against copyright-infringement lawsuits.[6] The availability of an IBM PC-compatible ROM BIOS helped fuel the 70% increase in sales that Phoenix experienced in 1988;[citation needed] competitors appeared, such as AMI BIOS.[7] Phoenix also developed IBM Personal System/2 Micro Channel BIOS, including the ABIOS,[9][10][11] and EISA compatible BIOS during 1988 and 1989.
     
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix_Technologies#Cloning_the_IBM_PC_BIOS

    There were better machines based on better CPU architectures, but they were either overpriced, physically cheesy, or suffered from idiotic business decisions by their vendors. And clones of IBM machines combined IBM's selling of FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) against competitors with the appeal of the sense of larceny by "going over on" IBM.

    Other than the PC, you had Apple's Macintosh, various "home enthusiast" niche machines , and workstations usually running Unix for scientific, tech, and financial applications. The workstations were really overpriced, the home enthusiast machines were cheesily built and appeared unbusinesslike, and Apple's Macintosh had deliberately thrown out all that was appealing in the Apple II series machines, always was somewhat overpriced, and generally deliberately eschewed mainstream business sales.

    Like the Model T Ford, PC clones were cranky and behind the technology curve but they were the standard and you had to actively know what you wanted to get anything different.

    Eventually the PC became a halfway decent machine: Microsoft hired the VMS crew to write an actual operating system and, impelled perhaps by the threat of free software, produced an OS that actually worked fairly well. But the war isn't as over as people think: desktops are becoming less relevant and the main function of them in business is to act as a Web terminal. ARM or RISC-V systems running a "sealed" OS like iOS, based on free kernels, could eventually unseat the Wintel PC.....but I would not bet on it.
  244. @Trevor H.
    Well then more power to you, especially if you also can grow food and if you also have advanced medical services within reach. Heck why not invest in solar power while you're at it.

    Seriously, if you ever post a photo of the place, I'd love to see it.

    Seriously, if you ever post a photo of the place, I’d love to see it.

    Better yet, we can have an iSteve gathering at your place. Let us know when the place is ready!

  245. @res

    Maybe 90% of the people who get this surgery are very happy, 9% have in the range of mild regrets to serious regrets because it’s not perfect (glare at night, etc.) and 1% deeply, deeply regret it as the worst decision that they ever made. Personally I would not take a chance on being part of the 1%.
     
    Agreed. I think your statistics understate the problem though since they typically don't look at long term outcomes.

    I think Autochthon made a prudent decision.

    I asked an MD I know about Lasik years ago and he said keep a pair of drugstore glasses in each room instead.

    I have done that but still frequently leave the room wearing the room’s glasses.

    Today I bought 2 three packs of readers at Walmart for $7.86 each so now I can leave two pair in each room.

    I love Walmart. It has everything. And the best self checkout machines.

  246. @Jack D
    My #1 experience like that was visiting the Mauritshuis in the Hague which has a whole bunch of Rembrandt's top masterpieces - The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp, the heartbreaking self portrait he painted in the last year of his life, etc. It was a weekday in January and there was nobody there. Being able to commune with the art without a horde of self-snapping Asian tourists really makes a difference.

    Reproductions on paper or screen of Van Gogh's don't do them justice because their surface is very textured - he laid the paint on thick. The Mona Lisa is painted on a board and is almost as flat IRL as it is on paper so you don't lose a lot of information.

    Agree; can’t recommend the Mauritshuis highly enough.

    In addition to the Rembrandts, there’s a room with Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring and View of Delft on opposite walls. It’s an unforgettable experience.

    The Mauritshuis is also the perfect size for a museum — you have plenty to see, but it’s not so large as to be overwhelming.

    • Agree: Vinteuil
  247. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jim Don Bob
    Mr. CP/M was out flying his plane that day, the story goes, which is why he could not meet with IBM.

    Gates's greatest idea was reserving the right to sell DOS himself, instead of selling IBM exclusive rights.

    IBM's stamp of approval got PCs into corporate America, where the motto was you don't get fired for buying from IBM. Now Gates could sell a similar DOS to anybody, and they all felt safe knowing that it was good enough for IBM.

    PC-DOS/MS-DOS was a CP/M like “operating system” that was really just a monitor routine and a collection of utilities. It was not a true OS in the manner of what IBM and the BUNCH’s mainframes, or DEC’s (and their imitators) minicomputers had. (DEC also had a true mainframe, the PDP-10 running TOPS-10 or -20, but it was a 36 bit, nine-bit-byte machine and was killed in favor of the VAX architecture.)

    CP/M consisted of two parts, the BDOS (basic disk operating system) and BIOS (basic input output system). They only had to give each maker of computers source for the BIOS, the BDOS being universal for all machines of a given processor architecture. Back then the mantra was “never give out or liense source unless you absolutely have to”. But each manufacturer had to customize the BIOS because each machine had differences in the hardware far beyond the CPU architecture. This did make cloning a machine tough because the manufacturer owned their modified source and binaries.

    Bill Gates licensed PC-DOS/MS-DOS out at a time when only IBM machines were “100 percent IBM compatible”. If you had a different 8086/8088 machine that wasnt a PC it was a ” X [where x<100] prcent compatible" and even if it had genuine Microsoft MS-DOS, applications had to be specially compiled for it.

    It was not Bill Gates that "broke" IBM's BIOS exclusivity and made it possible for MS-DOS to be a universal environment all shrinkwrapped apps could run on. It was a small third party company who broke the BIOS by a two staged "Clean Room" approach, and it was they who prevailed in court against IBM at great expense. But the effect was to make Microsoft from being a market player to the monopoly supplier for business computing. Without that Bill Gates would still be a lowly multimillionaire.

    Cloning the IBM PC BIOS

    After the success of the IBM PC, many companies began making PC clones. Some, like Compaq, developed their own compatible ROM BIOS, but others violated copyright by directly copying the PC’s BIOS from the IBM PC Technical Reference Manual. After Apple Computer, Inc. v. Franklin Computer Corp. IBM sued companies that it claimed infringed IBM’s copyright. Clone manufacturers needed a legal, fully compatible BIOS.[5][6][7]

    To develop a legal BIOS, Phoenix used a clean room technique. Engineers read the BIOS source listings in the IBM PC Technical Reference Manual. They wrote technical specifications for the BIOS APIs for a single, separate engineer—one with experience programming the Texas Instruments TMS9900, not the Intel 8088 or 8086—who had not been exposed to IBM BIOS source code. The single engineer developed code to mimic the BIOS APIs. By recording the audit trail of the two groups’ interactions, Phoenix developed a defensibly non-infringing IBM PC compatible ROM BIOS. Because the programmers who wrote the Phoenix code never read IBM’s reference manuals, nothing they wrote could have been copied from IBM’s code, no matter how closely the two matched.[6][7] This reverse engineering technique is commonly referred to as a “Chinese wall.”

    The first Phoenix PC ROM BIOS was introduced in May 1984, which enabled OEMs to build essentially 100%-compatible clones without having to reverse-engineer the IBM PC BIOS themselves, as Compaq had done for the Portable, helping fuel the growth in the PC compatibles industry and sales of non-IBM versions of DOS.[8]

    Phoenix licensed the BIOS to clone makers for $290,000. To reassure customers, the company obtained a $2 million insurance policy from The Hartford against copyright-infringement lawsuits.[6] The availability of an IBM PC-compatible ROM BIOS helped fuel the 70% increase in sales that Phoenix experienced in 1988;[citation needed] competitors appeared, such as AMI BIOS.[7] Phoenix also developed IBM Personal System/2 Micro Channel BIOS, including the ABIOS,[9][10][11] and EISA compatible BIOS during 1988 and 1989.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix_Technologies#Cloning_the_IBM_PC_BIOS

    There were better machines based on better CPU architectures, but they were either overpriced, physically cheesy, or suffered from idiotic business decisions by their vendors. And clones of IBM machines combined IBM’s selling of FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) against competitors with the appeal of the sense of larceny by “going over on” IBM.

    Other than the PC, you had Apple’s Macintosh, various “home enthusiast” niche machines , and workstations usually running Unix for scientific, tech, and financial applications. The workstations were really overpriced, the home enthusiast machines were cheesily built and appeared unbusinesslike, and Apple’s Macintosh had deliberately thrown out all that was appealing in the Apple II series machines, always was somewhat overpriced, and generally deliberately eschewed mainstream business sales.

    Like the Model T Ford, PC clones were cranky and behind the technology curve but they were the standard and you had to actively know what you wanted to get anything different.

    Eventually the PC became a halfway decent machine: Microsoft hired the VMS crew to write an actual operating system and, impelled perhaps by the threat of free software, produced an OS that actually worked fairly well. But the war isn’t as over as people think: desktops are becoming less relevant and the main function of them in business is to act as a Web terminal. ARM or RISC-V systems running a “sealed” OS like iOS, based on free kernels, could eventually unseat the Wintel PC…..but I would not bet on it.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    Part of Microsoft's success depended on luck and things that were not in their control, but fortune favors the bold. It's not an accident that Gates is still one of the richest men in the world and Kildall died young as an alcoholic.

    Probably the biggest commercial threat now is Chrome. In the scientific world, Linux, but this is a niche market. The default purchase is still Wintel.

    Windows 10 will run on ARM, by the way.
    , @Jim Don Bob
    Well said.

    The clean room creation of a IBM compatible BIOS was so good that included a bug in the, IIRC, 6502 UART of IBM's BIOS.
    , @res
    Nice account. Thanks!

    For anyone interested in more detail about

    Microsoft hired the VMS crew to write an actual operating system and, impelled perhaps by the threat of free software, produced an OS that actually worked fairly well.

     

    Not sure it is obvious to all that that OS was Windows NT. More details from https://web.njit.edu/~wcp2915/Unix_vs._NT.doc

    In 1988, Microsoft hired David Cutler, the designer of Digital Equipment Corp.'s VMS operating system. At Digital, Cutler had been working on the Prism project. The project was canceled at roughly the same time that Microsoft was looking for people to build its own next-generation operating system; soon Cutler and many Digital engineers found themselves at Microsoft with carte blanche to build it.

    Microsoft expected only a portable version of OS/2, but Cutler's crew did not intend to stop there. They targeted workstation-class machines from the beginning. Given Cutler's history and the target platform, there seems little doubt that the NT group, if not Microsoft as a whole, intended the NT operating system to compete with UNIX from the beginning. Its also interesting to note that ”NT is also more then paritally based on a variant of Unix called Mach, developed at Carnegie-Mellon University,”1 as is NextStep from Next Computers.
     
  248. @Old Palo Altan
    Let me know via this site when you next plan to be in that great city and I'll get you in too.

    May 16, 17 or 18 next?

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
    I'll get in touch with my cousin and we'll see.
    , @Old Palo Altan
    This is embarrassing: he's had a fight with the Six family over the very issues raised in the New York Times article, and is in no mood to be asking favours of them (nor are they, I suspect, in the mood to be granting them). Don't be too hard on him - he's over 80, and was never known for his sweet temper.

    I encourage you to book for 2020: it really is the most deeply layered cultural experience Amsterdam has to offer.
  249. @Kylie
    Lol! The coffee stain on Schubert's manuscript is often noted because Schubert mentioned it in a note, iirc. It's an actual moment in his life and moves people in the same way his spectacles do.

    As for my being overcome when viewing a Rothko, yeah, it's really weird. I don't even care for modern painting. The last time it happened, a museum docent overheard me all choked up and asked me about it. According to her it's a real thing. In his Wikipedia entry, Rothko is quoted as saying, "...The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when I painted them."

    Besides, I knew if I mentioned it, it would trigger at least one of you guys. 😀

    It’s an actual moment in his life and moves people in the same way his spectacles do.

    I.e., your appreciation of Schubert is at about the same level as your appreciation of the visual arts.

    So what’s your favorite performance of, say, “Der Leiermann?”

  250. @Vinteuil
    May 16, 17 or 18 next?

    I’ll get in touch with my cousin and we’ll see.

  251. @J.Ross
    The deal isn't having a gun or not having a gun. The government-preceding right to bear arms is a controlling foundational thing and serves as a shorthand for a certain type of society. The point isn't to merely have guns but to recognize rights that precede government, to limit government, and to not allow the licensing scam to get too big ("sure you can have that, after I give you permission. You voted for me, right?"). Our gun rights came directly from England. They used to have largely the same concept. Their revolution like ours was kicked off by an attempt to gradually eliminate gun rights by turning the militia into an army. In their case there were other issues, which is used to obscure things; in ours the reason Paul Revere is saying anything about redcoats is because the redcoats want to effect common sense gun legislation that places ownership in the other side of a state-controlled license.
    The late decline of England took on serious momentum following the disarmament of the people, which Orwell of all people warned about. The Empire was vaguely "declining" for centuries but a disarmed populace is a politically unimportant populace. When British people describe the what we could call the Blair changes they are reminding us that Blair hammered the last nails in the coffin of the English right to bear arms with an extra-democratic act whose relevant information was classified for a hundred years. The English have a privilege to own those types of gun that the government might say they can have. They used to have a right. If it does nothing else, the Second Amendment teaches everyone the difference between a right and a privilege. The left is currently trying to eliminate rights by insisting that everything is a right, which after all everybody knows is just a synonym for privilege.
    The distributed lawful ownership of firearms, which is not the same thing as a centralized militia or as having guns as opposed to not having them, is a civilizational cornerstone like literacy or hand-washing or religious tolerance, and bloodlesly intimidates domestic tyranny from getting too bad. Leftists grant this point when they bring up Big Dog or PetMan and say that technology will make rights obsolete.

    Extremely well put. I’d say the number of Americans who know that the British moves on Lexington and Concord were for the purpose of seizing arms and powder is effectively zero.
    Great exposition of the fundamental idea that only armed men are meaningfully free.
    Thank you.

  252. @Anonymous
    Most myopia is caused by reading. When reading, the focal point of the image you're focused on is projected further back than the eye evolved to normally handle. The eye evolved under outdoor conditions where images are much further away, on the horizon, etc. Under the stress of the intense extended focus on a near object involved during reading, the eyeball accommodates by flattening itself into a football shape so the back of the eyeball is closer to the focal point of the near image.

    Glasses "solve" this problem by taking all the images taken in and projecting them further back in the now flattened eyeball. Things would be stabilized if people only used glasses for distance viewing, but the problem is that most myopes are readers, and read with their glasses, which compounds the original problem by projecting the near image of the reading material even further back. Hence the typical case of progressively stronger glasses. Laser corrective surgery is just like getting a permanent pair of glasses etched onto your eyes that you can't remove. It probably shouldn't be done unless you're not a big reader and your eyes have stabilized.

    BTW, this means that most myopia could be prevented by giving kids a $2 dollar pair of reading glasses when they start school and learn to read, and getting people into the habit of wearing reading glasses whenever they read or do close work. Reading glasses project images forward, away from the eye. When wearing reading glasses, it is as if the book you're reading is much further away than a foot from your face, thus the eye has no stimulus to accommodate by flattening itself. Widespread use of cheap reading glasses would obviate the need for the multibillion dollar industry devoted to correcting myopia.

    Nobody ever read more than I did. I started at four and am still going strong some fifty years later. My vision was a measured 20/10 through my twenties and is 20/30 now. I don’t need reading glasses, or indeed any glasses at all. I have noticed some deterioration in my middle distance vision and in my night vision. Just a data point for you.

  253. @Anonymous
    PC-DOS/MS-DOS was a CP/M like "operating system" that was really just a monitor routine and a collection of utilities. It was not a true OS in the manner of what IBM and the BUNCH's mainframes, or DEC's (and their imitators) minicomputers had. (DEC also had a true mainframe, the PDP-10 running TOPS-10 or -20, but it was a 36 bit, nine-bit-byte machine and was killed in favor of the VAX architecture.)

    CP/M consisted of two parts, the BDOS (basic disk operating system) and BIOS (basic input output system). They only had to give each maker of computers source for the BIOS, the BDOS being universal for all machines of a given processor architecture. Back then the mantra was "never give out or liense source unless you absolutely have to". But each manufacturer had to customize the BIOS because each machine had differences in the hardware far beyond the CPU architecture. This did make cloning a machine tough because the manufacturer owned their modified source and binaries.

    Bill Gates licensed PC-DOS/MS-DOS out at a time when only IBM machines were "100 percent IBM compatible". If you had a different 8086/8088 machine that wasnt a PC it was a " X [where x<100] prcent compatible" and even if it had genuine Microsoft MS-DOS, applications had to be specially compiled for it.

    It was not Bill Gates that "broke" IBM's BIOS exclusivity and made it possible for MS-DOS to be a universal environment all shrinkwrapped apps could run on. It was a small third party company who broke the BIOS by a two staged "Clean Room" approach, and it was they who prevailed in court against IBM at great expense. But the effect was to make Microsoft from being a market player to the monopoly supplier for business computing. Without that Bill Gates would still be a lowly multimillionaire.


    Cloning the IBM PC BIOS

    After the success of the IBM PC, many companies began making PC clones. Some, like Compaq, developed their own compatible ROM BIOS, but others violated copyright by directly copying the PC's BIOS from the IBM PC Technical Reference Manual. After Apple Computer, Inc. v. Franklin Computer Corp. IBM sued companies that it claimed infringed IBM's copyright. Clone manufacturers needed a legal, fully compatible BIOS.[5][6][7]

    To develop a legal BIOS, Phoenix used a clean room technique. Engineers read the BIOS source listings in the IBM PC Technical Reference Manual. They wrote technical specifications for the BIOS APIs for a single, separate engineer—one with experience programming the Texas Instruments TMS9900, not the Intel 8088 or 8086—who had not been exposed to IBM BIOS source code. The single engineer developed code to mimic the BIOS APIs. By recording the audit trail of the two groups' interactions, Phoenix developed a defensibly non-infringing IBM PC compatible ROM BIOS. Because the programmers who wrote the Phoenix code never read IBM's reference manuals, nothing they wrote could have been copied from IBM's code, no matter how closely the two matched.[6][7] This reverse engineering technique is commonly referred to as a "Chinese wall."

    The first Phoenix PC ROM BIOS was introduced in May 1984, which enabled OEMs to build essentially 100%-compatible clones without having to reverse-engineer the IBM PC BIOS themselves, as Compaq had done for the Portable, helping fuel the growth in the PC compatibles industry and sales of non-IBM versions of DOS.[8]

    Phoenix licensed the BIOS to clone makers for $290,000. To reassure customers, the company obtained a $2 million insurance policy from The Hartford against copyright-infringement lawsuits.[6] The availability of an IBM PC-compatible ROM BIOS helped fuel the 70% increase in sales that Phoenix experienced in 1988;[citation needed] competitors appeared, such as AMI BIOS.[7] Phoenix also developed IBM Personal System/2 Micro Channel BIOS, including the ABIOS,[9][10][11] and EISA compatible BIOS during 1988 and 1989.
     
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix_Technologies#Cloning_the_IBM_PC_BIOS

    There were better machines based on better CPU architectures, but they were either overpriced, physically cheesy, or suffered from idiotic business decisions by their vendors. And clones of IBM machines combined IBM's selling of FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) against competitors with the appeal of the sense of larceny by "going over on" IBM.

    Other than the PC, you had Apple's Macintosh, various "home enthusiast" niche machines , and workstations usually running Unix for scientific, tech, and financial applications. The workstations were really overpriced, the home enthusiast machines were cheesily built and appeared unbusinesslike, and Apple's Macintosh had deliberately thrown out all that was appealing in the Apple II series machines, always was somewhat overpriced, and generally deliberately eschewed mainstream business sales.

    Like the Model T Ford, PC clones were cranky and behind the technology curve but they were the standard and you had to actively know what you wanted to get anything different.

    Eventually the PC became a halfway decent machine: Microsoft hired the VMS crew to write an actual operating system and, impelled perhaps by the threat of free software, produced an OS that actually worked fairly well. But the war isn't as over as people think: desktops are becoming less relevant and the main function of them in business is to act as a Web terminal. ARM or RISC-V systems running a "sealed" OS like iOS, based on free kernels, could eventually unseat the Wintel PC.....but I would not bet on it.

    Part of Microsoft’s success depended on luck and things that were not in their control, but fortune favors the bold. It’s not an accident that Gates is still one of the richest men in the world and Kildall died young as an alcoholic.

    Probably the biggest commercial threat now is Chrome. In the scientific world, Linux, but this is a niche market. The default purchase is still Wintel.

    Windows 10 will run on ARM, by the way.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Win NT based OSes are all capable of being easily ported to most any modern architecture. NT4 ran on DEC Alpha , MIPS and if I recall, HP PA-RISC. Win 2000 was available for Alpha in its betas, and it was clear that CPU architecture flexibility was a core design feature, via a hardware abstraction layer.

    Getting application vendors to support any different architecture is another matter and why NT on Alpha and MIPS failed miserably. We had a company called Deskstation that sold MIPS based otherwise whitebox PCs in Lenexa, the machines ran fast, but the problem was what to run on them, only a few vertical apps ever were available for NT4 on MIPS. You were better off buying a SGI running Irix. The machines were dumped surplus and made a few hobbyists running some free Unix variant happy for a few years.

    NeXT ran on four architectures as well-68k, x86, SPARC and PA-RISC. I had it running on a Sparcstation 5 in '97 or so.

    The short instruction set CPUs ran out of steam around the year 2000 for workstation use. DEC won a lawsuit and Intel effectively bought them out and killed the architecture, as it competed with the doomed Itanium. Sun imploded and was bought by Oracle, and DEC was bought by Compaq which then was bought by HP, which committed itself to Itanic and its workstation business imploded too, killing off all DEC assets as well as its own HP3000 /MPE environment (which was very popular in electronics manufacturing environments running systems like MANMAN.) Carly Fiorina was spectacularly inept and the company lost most of its momentum and sidelined many "legacy" products that had loyal user bases.

    The Intel x86/64 architecture survives because it gets access to the most modern fab resources and because of the illusion of "backwards compatibility". Not because it is particularly elegant or efficient.
  254. @Anonymous
    PC-DOS/MS-DOS was a CP/M like "operating system" that was really just a monitor routine and a collection of utilities. It was not a true OS in the manner of what IBM and the BUNCH's mainframes, or DEC's (and their imitators) minicomputers had. (DEC also had a true mainframe, the PDP-10 running TOPS-10 or -20, but it was a 36 bit, nine-bit-byte machine and was killed in favor of the VAX architecture.)

    CP/M consisted of two parts, the BDOS (basic disk operating system) and BIOS (basic input output system). They only had to give each maker of computers source for the BIOS, the BDOS being universal for all machines of a given processor architecture. Back then the mantra was "never give out or liense source unless you absolutely have to". But each manufacturer had to customize the BIOS because each machine had differences in the hardware far beyond the CPU architecture. This did make cloning a machine tough because the manufacturer owned their modified source and binaries.

    Bill Gates licensed PC-DOS/MS-DOS out at a time when only IBM machines were "100 percent IBM compatible". If you had a different 8086/8088 machine that wasnt a PC it was a " X [where x<100] prcent compatible" and even if it had genuine Microsoft MS-DOS, applications had to be specially compiled for it.

    It was not Bill Gates that "broke" IBM's BIOS exclusivity and made it possible for MS-DOS to be a universal environment all shrinkwrapped apps could run on. It was a small third party company who broke the BIOS by a two staged "Clean Room" approach, and it was they who prevailed in court against IBM at great expense. But the effect was to make Microsoft from being a market player to the monopoly supplier for business computing. Without that Bill Gates would still be a lowly multimillionaire.


    Cloning the IBM PC BIOS

    After the success of the IBM PC, many companies began making PC clones. Some, like Compaq, developed their own compatible ROM BIOS, but others violated copyright by directly copying the PC's BIOS from the IBM PC Technical Reference Manual. After Apple Computer, Inc. v. Franklin Computer Corp. IBM sued companies that it claimed infringed IBM's copyright. Clone manufacturers needed a legal, fully compatible BIOS.[5][6][7]

    To develop a legal BIOS, Phoenix used a clean room technique. Engineers read the BIOS source listings in the IBM PC Technical Reference Manual. They wrote technical specifications for the BIOS APIs for a single, separate engineer—one with experience programming the Texas Instruments TMS9900, not the Intel 8088 or 8086—who had not been exposed to IBM BIOS source code. The single engineer developed code to mimic the BIOS APIs. By recording the audit trail of the two groups' interactions, Phoenix developed a defensibly non-infringing IBM PC compatible ROM BIOS. Because the programmers who wrote the Phoenix code never read IBM's reference manuals, nothing they wrote could have been copied from IBM's code, no matter how closely the two matched.[6][7] This reverse engineering technique is commonly referred to as a "Chinese wall."

    The first Phoenix PC ROM BIOS was introduced in May 1984, which enabled OEMs to build essentially 100%-compatible clones without having to reverse-engineer the IBM PC BIOS themselves, as Compaq had done for the Portable, helping fuel the growth in the PC compatibles industry and sales of non-IBM versions of DOS.[8]

    Phoenix licensed the BIOS to clone makers for $290,000. To reassure customers, the company obtained a $2 million insurance policy from The Hartford against copyright-infringement lawsuits.[6] The availability of an IBM PC-compatible ROM BIOS helped fuel the 70% increase in sales that Phoenix experienced in 1988;[citation needed] competitors appeared, such as AMI BIOS.[7] Phoenix also developed IBM Personal System/2 Micro Channel BIOS, including the ABIOS,[9][10][11] and EISA compatible BIOS during 1988 and 1989.
     
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix_Technologies#Cloning_the_IBM_PC_BIOS

    There were better machines based on better CPU architectures, but they were either overpriced, physically cheesy, or suffered from idiotic business decisions by their vendors. And clones of IBM machines combined IBM's selling of FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) against competitors with the appeal of the sense of larceny by "going over on" IBM.

    Other than the PC, you had Apple's Macintosh, various "home enthusiast" niche machines , and workstations usually running Unix for scientific, tech, and financial applications. The workstations were really overpriced, the home enthusiast machines were cheesily built and appeared unbusinesslike, and Apple's Macintosh had deliberately thrown out all that was appealing in the Apple II series machines, always was somewhat overpriced, and generally deliberately eschewed mainstream business sales.

    Like the Model T Ford, PC clones were cranky and behind the technology curve but they were the standard and you had to actively know what you wanted to get anything different.

    Eventually the PC became a halfway decent machine: Microsoft hired the VMS crew to write an actual operating system and, impelled perhaps by the threat of free software, produced an OS that actually worked fairly well. But the war isn't as over as people think: desktops are becoming less relevant and the main function of them in business is to act as a Web terminal. ARM or RISC-V systems running a "sealed" OS like iOS, based on free kernels, could eventually unseat the Wintel PC.....but I would not bet on it.

    Well said.

    The clean room creation of a IBM compatible BIOS was so good that included a bug in the, IIRC, 6502 UART of IBM’s BIOS.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    There was a UART bug that has had to be copied over ever since, but a 6502 is an 8 bit CPU, not a UART. It was used in the Apple II and Atari 8 bit machines and in billions of microwave ovens, washing machines, TVs, you name it. Still is a player in high vol low price embedded apps.
  255. res says:
    @Anonymous
    PC-DOS/MS-DOS was a CP/M like "operating system" that was really just a monitor routine and a collection of utilities. It was not a true OS in the manner of what IBM and the BUNCH's mainframes, or DEC's (and their imitators) minicomputers had. (DEC also had a true mainframe, the PDP-10 running TOPS-10 or -20, but it was a 36 bit, nine-bit-byte machine and was killed in favor of the VAX architecture.)

    CP/M consisted of two parts, the BDOS (basic disk operating system) and BIOS (basic input output system). They only had to give each maker of computers source for the BIOS, the BDOS being universal for all machines of a given processor architecture. Back then the mantra was "never give out or liense source unless you absolutely have to". But each manufacturer had to customize the BIOS because each machine had differences in the hardware far beyond the CPU architecture. This did make cloning a machine tough because the manufacturer owned their modified source and binaries.

    Bill Gates licensed PC-DOS/MS-DOS out at a time when only IBM machines were "100 percent IBM compatible". If you had a different 8086/8088 machine that wasnt a PC it was a " X [where x<100] prcent compatible" and even if it had genuine Microsoft MS-DOS, applications had to be specially compiled for it.

    It was not Bill Gates that "broke" IBM's BIOS exclusivity and made it possible for MS-DOS to be a universal environment all shrinkwrapped apps could run on. It was a small third party company who broke the BIOS by a two staged "Clean Room" approach, and it was they who prevailed in court against IBM at great expense. But the effect was to make Microsoft from being a market player to the monopoly supplier for business computing. Without that Bill Gates would still be a lowly multimillionaire.


    Cloning the IBM PC BIOS

    After the success of the IBM PC, many companies began making PC clones. Some, like Compaq, developed their own compatible ROM BIOS, but others violated copyright by directly copying the PC's BIOS from the IBM PC Technical Reference Manual. After Apple Computer, Inc. v. Franklin Computer Corp. IBM sued companies that it claimed infringed IBM's copyright. Clone manufacturers needed a legal, fully compatible BIOS.[5][6][7]

    To develop a legal BIOS, Phoenix used a clean room technique. Engineers read the BIOS source listings in the IBM PC Technical Reference Manual. They wrote technical specifications for the BIOS APIs for a single, separate engineer—one with experience programming the Texas Instruments TMS9900, not the Intel 8088 or 8086—who had not been exposed to IBM BIOS source code. The single engineer developed code to mimic the BIOS APIs. By recording the audit trail of the two groups' interactions, Phoenix developed a defensibly non-infringing IBM PC compatible ROM BIOS. Because the programmers who wrote the Phoenix code never read IBM's reference manuals, nothing they wrote could have been copied from IBM's code, no matter how closely the two matched.[6][7] This reverse engineering technique is commonly referred to as a "Chinese wall."

    The first Phoenix PC ROM BIOS was introduced in May 1984, which enabled OEMs to build essentially 100%-compatible clones without having to reverse-engineer the IBM PC BIOS themselves, as Compaq had done for the Portable, helping fuel the growth in the PC compatibles industry and sales of non-IBM versions of DOS.[8]

    Phoenix licensed the BIOS to clone makers for $290,000. To reassure customers, the company obtained a $2 million insurance policy from The Hartford against copyright-infringement lawsuits.[6] The availability of an IBM PC-compatible ROM BIOS helped fuel the 70% increase in sales that Phoenix experienced in 1988;[citation needed] competitors appeared, such as AMI BIOS.[7] Phoenix also developed IBM Personal System/2 Micro Channel BIOS, including the ABIOS,[9][10][11] and EISA compatible BIOS during 1988 and 1989.
     
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix_Technologies#Cloning_the_IBM_PC_BIOS

    There were better machines based on better CPU architectures, but they were either overpriced, physically cheesy, or suffered from idiotic business decisions by their vendors. And clones of IBM machines combined IBM's selling of FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) against competitors with the appeal of the sense of larceny by "going over on" IBM.

    Other than the PC, you had Apple's Macintosh, various "home enthusiast" niche machines , and workstations usually running Unix for scientific, tech, and financial applications. The workstations were really overpriced, the home enthusiast machines were cheesily built and appeared unbusinesslike, and Apple's Macintosh had deliberately thrown out all that was appealing in the Apple II series machines, always was somewhat overpriced, and generally deliberately eschewed mainstream business sales.

    Like the Model T Ford, PC clones were cranky and behind the technology curve but they were the standard and you had to actively know what you wanted to get anything different.

    Eventually the PC became a halfway decent machine: Microsoft hired the VMS crew to write an actual operating system and, impelled perhaps by the threat of free software, produced an OS that actually worked fairly well. But the war isn't as over as people think: desktops are becoming less relevant and the main function of them in business is to act as a Web terminal. ARM or RISC-V systems running a "sealed" OS like iOS, based on free kernels, could eventually unseat the Wintel PC.....but I would not bet on it.

    Nice account. Thanks!

    For anyone interested in more detail about

    Microsoft hired the VMS crew to write an actual operating system and, impelled perhaps by the threat of free software, produced an OS that actually worked fairly well.

    Not sure it is obvious to all that that OS was Windows NT. More details from https://web.njit.edu/~wcp2915/Unix_vs._NT.doc

    In 1988, Microsoft hired David Cutler, the designer of Digital Equipment Corp.’s VMS operating system. At Digital, Cutler had been working on the Prism project. The project was canceled at roughly the same time that Microsoft was looking for people to build its own next-generation operating system; soon Cutler and many Digital engineers found themselves at Microsoft with carte blanche to build it.

    Microsoft expected only a portable version of OS/2, but Cutler’s crew did not intend to stop there. They targeted workstation-class machines from the beginning. Given Cutler’s history and the target platform, there seems little doubt that the NT group, if not Microsoft as a whole, intended the NT operating system to compete with UNIX from the beginning. Its also interesting to note that ”NT is also more then paritally based on a variant of Unix called Mach, developed at Carnegie-Mellon University,”1 as is NextStep from Next Computers.

  256. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anon
    I think Bill Gates's fashion tastes may be more dictated by the sort of stores he feels comfortable going into. If you're that rich you probably feel uncomfortable shopping at the outlet mall. The staff in super high end stores have more discretion.

    On the other hand, he may have a shopper bring him a bunch of stuff to try on. If you're a personal shopper for Bill Gates do you walk into his office with a bag from Target?

    A bunch of railroaders I know were over at the Nebraska Furniture Mart (in KCK) and swear that Bill Gates and Warren Buffett were walking through ( palookas discreetly following) and approached their wives to ask about the shopping experience they were having. I talked to several at different times and places and all had exactly the same story. Later I talked to someone who used to work there and he said Buffett was over there every once in a while. The railroaders had BNSF stuff on so Buffett may have felt more comfortable about approaching them.

  257. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jack D
    Part of Microsoft's success depended on luck and things that were not in their control, but fortune favors the bold. It's not an accident that Gates is still one of the richest men in the world and Kildall died young as an alcoholic.

    Probably the biggest commercial threat now is Chrome. In the scientific world, Linux, but this is a niche market. The default purchase is still Wintel.

    Windows 10 will run on ARM, by the way.

    Win NT based OSes are all capable of being easily ported to most any modern architecture. NT4 ran on DEC Alpha , MIPS and if I recall, HP PA-RISC. Win 2000 was available for Alpha in its betas, and it was clear that CPU architecture flexibility was a core design feature, via a hardware abstraction layer.

    Getting application vendors to support any different architecture is another matter and why NT on Alpha and MIPS failed miserably. We had a company called Deskstation that sold MIPS based otherwise whitebox PCs in Lenexa, the machines ran fast, but the problem was what to run on them, only a few vertical apps ever were available for NT4 on MIPS. You were better off buying a SGI running Irix. The machines were dumped surplus and made a few hobbyists running some free Unix variant happy for a few years.

    NeXT ran on four architectures as well-68k, x86, SPARC and PA-RISC. I had it running on a Sparcstation 5 in ’97 or so.

    The short instruction set CPUs ran out of steam around the year 2000 for workstation use. DEC won a lawsuit and Intel effectively bought them out and killed the architecture, as it competed with the doomed Itanium. Sun imploded and was bought by Oracle, and DEC was bought by Compaq which then was bought by HP, which committed itself to Itanic and its workstation business imploded too, killing off all DEC assets as well as its own HP3000 /MPE environment (which was very popular in electronics manufacturing environments running systems like MANMAN.) Carly Fiorina was spectacularly inept and the company lost most of its momentum and sidelined many “legacy” products that had loyal user bases.

    The Intel x86/64 architecture survives because it gets access to the most modern fab resources and because of the illusion of “backwards compatibility”. Not because it is particularly elegant or efficient.

    • Replies: @Jack D

    Getting application vendors to support any different architecture is another matter
     
    Win 10 ARM is based on an emulation of the x86 (never the best way to go because emulations tend to run slower than native architectures). Theoretically at least, any app that runs on Windows 10 for x86 (NOT x64 at least until recently) should run on Win 10 for ARM. Not run fast, but at least run. In reality there are problems with kernel mode drivers, compatibility, etc. and it's better to recompile the apps for ARM, which leads to the issues of vendor support you mention. Well behaved apps like Office are going to run (because Microsoft has itself recompiled them) and stuff like Chrome and Firefox will run in emulation mode but things like anti-virus and games that "cheat" and go around Windows in order to talk directly to the hardware aren't going to run at all. And peripherals (printers, etc.) will also require driver rewrites.

    ARM CPUs until recently did not match Intels on speed but they are catching up and are now good enough to power a low end laptop but with much better battery life. So if you want a laptop that runs for 25 hours and mostly run Office and do web browsing only (this describes a lot of users) then such machines might be attractive. But this is a niche market and not a complete replacement for Intel.

    More here:

    https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/16/18098230/microsoft-windows-on-arm-64-bit-app-support-arm64

    and here:

    https://www.theverge.com/2017/12/5/16737288/microsoft-windows-10-qualcomm-arm-laptops-launch
  258. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jim Don Bob
    Well said.

    The clean room creation of a IBM compatible BIOS was so good that included a bug in the, IIRC, 6502 UART of IBM's BIOS.

    There was a UART bug that has had to be copied over ever since, but a 6502 is an 8 bit CPU, not a UART. It was used in the Apple II and Atari 8 bit machines and in billions of microwave ovens, washing machines, TVs, you name it. Still is a player in high vol low price embedded apps.

  259. @Anonymous
    Win NT based OSes are all capable of being easily ported to most any modern architecture. NT4 ran on DEC Alpha , MIPS and if I recall, HP PA-RISC. Win 2000 was available for Alpha in its betas, and it was clear that CPU architecture flexibility was a core design feature, via a hardware abstraction layer.

    Getting application vendors to support any different architecture is another matter and why NT on Alpha and MIPS failed miserably. We had a company called Deskstation that sold MIPS based otherwise whitebox PCs in Lenexa, the machines ran fast, but the problem was what to run on them, only a few vertical apps ever were available for NT4 on MIPS. You were better off buying a SGI running Irix. The machines were dumped surplus and made a few hobbyists running some free Unix variant happy for a few years.

    NeXT ran on four architectures as well-68k, x86, SPARC and PA-RISC. I had it running on a Sparcstation 5 in '97 or so.

    The short instruction set CPUs ran out of steam around the year 2000 for workstation use. DEC won a lawsuit and Intel effectively bought them out and killed the architecture, as it competed with the doomed Itanium. Sun imploded and was bought by Oracle, and DEC was bought by Compaq which then was bought by HP, which committed itself to Itanic and its workstation business imploded too, killing off all DEC assets as well as its own HP3000 /MPE environment (which was very popular in electronics manufacturing environments running systems like MANMAN.) Carly Fiorina was spectacularly inept and the company lost most of its momentum and sidelined many "legacy" products that had loyal user bases.

    The Intel x86/64 architecture survives because it gets access to the most modern fab resources and because of the illusion of "backwards compatibility". Not because it is particularly elegant or efficient.

    Getting application vendors to support any different architecture is another matter

    Win 10 ARM is based on an emulation of the x86 (never the best way to go because emulations tend to run slower than native architectures). Theoretically at least, any app that runs on Windows 10 for x86 (NOT x64 at least until recently) should run on Win 10 for ARM. Not run fast, but at least run. In reality there are problems with kernel mode drivers, compatibility, etc. and it’s better to recompile the apps for ARM, which leads to the issues of vendor support you mention. Well behaved apps like Office are going to run (because Microsoft has itself recompiled them) and stuff like Chrome and Firefox will run in emulation mode but things like anti-virus and games that “cheat” and go around Windows in order to talk directly to the hardware aren’t going to run at all. And peripherals (printers, etc.) will also require driver rewrites.

    ARM CPUs until recently did not match Intels on speed but they are catching up and are now good enough to power a low end laptop but with much better battery life. So if you want a laptop that runs for 25 hours and mostly run Office and do web browsing only (this describes a lot of users) then such machines might be attractive. But this is a niche market and not a complete replacement for Intel.

    More here:

    https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/16/18098230/microsoft-windows-on-arm-64-bit-app-support-arm64

    and here:

    https://www.theverge.com/2017/12/5/16737288/microsoft-windows-10-qualcomm-arm-laptops-launch

  260. @Old Palo Altan
    Rupert Loewenstein was a gentleman before he was a prince. He loved a good party, but he loved learning and Catholic tradition and piety more.
    The Stones were a source of income to him; little more.
    He and I lunched (always at Wiltons in Jermyn Street, and he was always the host) on the very day when Josef Ratzinger was elected pope. I will never forget the triumphant smile with which he greeted me, and the gusto with which he announced that we would start our meal with a glass of vintage champagne.
    The name Loewenstein is not necessarily Jewish, but it does suggest Jewish blood, which in his case was true. Rupert was half Jewish on both sides, with descents from the Rothschilds, the Tedescos of Vienna and the de Worms of Germany. I did some research on his various lines, and discovered that he was first cousin (some generations removed of course) to Felix Mendelssohn. This was fitting, as classical (i e real) music was one of his passions.
    The press image (Rupie the Groupie and all that) was laughably wide of the mark.

    Many thanks! How interesting that you got to hang out with him. All accounts I read of Rupert Loewenstein kept his Jewish origins hidden. The Stones got massively ripped off until Jagger got a hold of Rupert to run their finances.

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
    I'm glad you found it interesting. He was a fascinating man, and a generous one too.
    I should perhaps clarify about the Jewish question: "Loewenstein" in his case was not Jewish, but high German nobility. The Loewenstein (his, junior, branch's full name is Loewenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg) family are male-line Wittelsbachs, but a non-noble marriage in 1440 resulted in a new family with a new name. They were counts to begin with. The elder and much more important branch were made princes of the Empire in the 18th century, while Rupert's branch had to wait until the early nineteenth century for their Bavarian princely title.
    No, he didn't talk about his Jewish side, at least not to me. But I am a researcher as well as a noticer, so I unearthed the whole story pretty quickly. Another close cousin was the Nobel Peace Prize winner Tobias Asser from the Netherlands. His direct Jewish lines were mostly families which had converted at some point along the path to great wealth and influence.
    Rupert's traditional Catholicism was the most serious part of his life and it rubbed off on his family - both of his sons are Catholic priests. The daughter married an Italian count (the wedding, which I attended, featured a cardinal flown in from Rome for the occasion) and produced a son and a daughter. One supposes that they will inherit his well-hidden (from the taxman at least) fortune.
  261. @Clyde
    Many thanks! How interesting that you got to hang out with him. All accounts I read of Rupert Loewenstein kept his Jewish origins hidden. The Stones got massively ripped off until Jagger got a hold of Rupert to run their finances.

    I’m glad you found it interesting. He was a fascinating man, and a generous one too.
    I should perhaps clarify about the Jewish question: “Loewenstein” in his case was not Jewish, but high German nobility. The Loewenstein (his, junior, branch’s full name is Loewenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg) family are male-line Wittelsbachs, but a non-noble marriage in 1440 resulted in a new family with a new name. They were counts to begin with. The elder and much more important branch were made princes of the Empire in the 18th century, while Rupert’s branch had to wait until the early nineteenth century for their Bavarian princely title.
    No, he didn’t talk about his Jewish side, at least not to me. But I am a researcher as well as a noticer, so I unearthed the whole story pretty quickly. Another close cousin was the Nobel Peace Prize winner Tobias Asser from the Netherlands. His direct Jewish lines were mostly families which had converted at some point along the path to great wealth and influence.
    Rupert’s traditional Catholicism was the most serious part of his life and it rubbed off on his family – both of his sons are Catholic priests. The daughter married an Italian count (the wedding, which I attended, featured a cardinal flown in from Rome for the occasion) and produced a son and a daughter. One supposes that they will inherit his well-hidden (from the taxman at least) fortune.

  262. @Vinteuil
    May 16, 17 or 18 next?

    This is embarrassing: he’s had a fight with the Six family over the very issues raised in the New York Times article, and is in no mood to be asking favours of them (nor are they, I suspect, in the mood to be granting them). Don’t be too hard on him – he’s over 80, and was never known for his sweet temper.

    I encourage you to book for 2020: it really is the most deeply layered cultural experience Amsterdam has to offer.

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