Special People

The Occupy movement that started in 2011 focusing on world wealth inequality.

Photo: Bloomberg

The global elite currently control around 50 per cent of wealth world wide, but that is likely to keep going up, the Commons research, commissioned by Labour MP Liam Byrne, stated.

If trends seen since the 2008 financial crash were to continue, the report notes, the mentioned 1 per cent will control 64 per cent of global wealth in only 12 years time.

According to the Guardian, which first reported the statistics, the wealth of the richest 1 per cent “has been growing at an average of 6 per cent a year – much faster than the 3 per cent growth in wealth of the remaining 99 per cent of the world’s population,” since the world financial crisis.

If the trend continues, the 1 per cent will have a total net worth of $US305 trillion ($393 trillion), more than double the $US140 trillion they now control in 2018.

“If we don’t move quickly to rewrite the rules of how our economies work, then we condemn ourselves to a future that remains unequal for good,” Byrne, the report’s commissioner said.

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“That’s morally bad, and economically disastrous, risking a new burst in instability, corruption and poverty.”

Last year, Swiss lender Credit Suisse published a report which found that the world’s richest 1 per cent of families and individuals already hold over half of global wealth, and argued that inequality is still getting worse almost a decade after the worst global recession since the 1930s.

“The bottom half of adults collectively own less than 1 per cent of total wealth, the richest decile (top 10 per cent of adults) owns 88 per cent of global assets, and the top percentile alone accounts for half of total household wealth,” the Credit Suisse report said.

Put another way: “The top 1 per cent own 50.1 per cent of all household wealth in the world.”

This story first appeared in Business Insider. Read it here or follow BusinessInsider Australia on Facebook.

Henry Sapiecha

For billionaire Manoj Bhargava (like many other people), the world is a place full of problems. Between poverty, pollution, food growth, and access to water, the list seems to be ever growing. That’s why he’s recently pledged to spearhead a group aimed at giving away all their billions to turning things around for mankind.

Here’s how he plans to do it…

It seems like a promotional video, but the message behind it is so important.

Regardless of whether he’s naive or not, there’s no question his motives are pure. It’s certainly something society — and the world — needs. Stereotypes and politics aside, there are many wealthy people that truly help the needy…and we hope the number of those people increases.



Henry Sapiecha

Anzac spirit is everywhere

Lest we forget

Henry Sapiecha



Chinese Proverb

Published by Henry Sapiecha



Chinese Proverb

Published by Henry Sapiecha

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India’s richest man builds

world’s first billion-dollar home

Glenda Kwek October 15, 2010 – 1:43PM

An Indian businessman has built the world’s most expensive home – valued at $1 billion, with three helipads, its own air traffic control, a six-floor car park, a staff of 600, a four-storey hanging garden and a cinema.

The 173-metre tall mansion is called Antilia, after a mythical island in the Atlantic Ocean, and has just been completed after seven years of construction.

Owner Mukesh Ambani, his wife Nita and three children are set to move into the opulent 27-floor building after an housewarming party on October 28, which boosts a guest list of India’s elite that reportedly includes Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and star cricketer Sachin Tendulkar.

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Home sweet home ... Mukesh Ambani's new home.Home sweet home … Mukesh Ambani’s new home. Photo: Jay Hariani via WikiCommons

The building soars high above Mumbai, giving its future residents a panoramic view of the country’s financial capital, including its slums, and the Arabian Sea.

It was built to withstand military-grade explosions and an magnitude-8 earthquake, Indian media reported.

“I have seen several houses, including that of Lakshmi Mittal (an Indian steel tycoon and also one of the world’s richest men),” a businessman, who was not named, told The Times of India.

The home's ballroom.The home’s ballroom.

“But Antilia is marvellous. I remember the house having a Picasso painting, it was one of its kind.”

Mr Ambani, 53, is the world’s fourth richest man and has a personal wealth of about $27 billion, but is set to become the world’s richest in 2014, Forbes magazine estimated.

He is the chairman of Reliance Industries, India’s largest private sector company, which has interests in oil, gas, textiles, retail and telecommunications. He also owns the Indian Premier League Twenty20 cricket team, the Mumbai Indians.

While the home cost about $77 million to build, Mumbai’s growing property prices means Antilia is now estimated to be worth 15 times more – about $1 billion.

An Indian design magazine editor, Shiny Varghese, said Antilia was “so obscenely lavish” that she doubted many other wealthy folk would splash out in such a manner.

“But we are heading into the sort of culture where money is not a question when setting up a home,” Mr Varghese told The Guardian.

Mr Ambani is believed to have previously avoided overt displays of his wealth, although Indian media reported his purchase of a $60 million Airbus corporate jet for his wife as a 44th birthday present in 2007.

“Perhaps he has been stung by his portrayal in the media as an introvert,” Hamish McDonald, who has written a book about the family Mahabharata In Polyester, told the Guardian.

“Maybe he is making the point that he is a tycoon in his own right.”

Mr Ambani and his family are reportedly currently living in the more modest surrounds of a 14-storey apartment building.

The specs

Antilia, dubbed the “mansion in the sky” by the Times, was built in consultation with US architecture firms Perkins and Will & Hirsch Bedner Associates.

Its construction was reportedly influenced by Vaastu, an ancient Indian belief similarly to the Chinese’s Feng Shui.

Each level is twice as high as a normal floor.

No floors or rooms are the same, meaning the material used on one floor cannot be used in the construction of another level.

The first six floors are taken up by a car park that can hold up to 168 cars. The next floor is the lobby, with nine lifts servicing the building.

On the eight floor lies a 50-seat theatre. Another floor consists of a ballroom that has a ceiling mostly covered by crystal chandeliers.

Other floors contain a health spa with a gym and dance studio, swimming pools, lounges, a vehicle maintenance area and, of course, guest rooms.

The Ambani family will reside on the skyscraper’s top four floors, which takes up about 37,000 square metres.

The competition

Mr Ambani’s home is the world’s most expensive, but he is not the only person to have built himself a luxurious abode.

The Villa La Leopolda, on the French Riviera, was built in 1902 by King Leopold II of Belgium. It was last valued to be worth at least $US524 million and is reportedly owned by a Russian billionaire.

Dracula’s Castle, in Romania, was built in the 14th century and is now a tourist museum. It is perched on top of a 61-metre rock, overlooks the village of Bran and has about 60 rooms. It is valued at about $US135 million.

The Hearst mansion, also known as the Beverly House (not the Hearst Castle) in California, was valued at about $US165 million and has 29 bedrooms – but only three swimming pools. It is named after its former owner, newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst.

It is now on the market for $US95 million after its current landlord filed for bankruptcy.

The One Hyde Park penthouse, in London, has only six bedrooms but was sold for a cool £140 million ($226 million) in August. It has bulletproof windows, panic rooms and a numberplate-recognition security system for its car park.

Its owners will be guarded by security guards who were trained by the SAS and served by staff from its neighbour, the Mandarin Oriental hotel.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Meet The Fastest Growing Company


Andrew Mason figured out how to inject hysteria into the process of bargain hunting on the Web.

The result is an overnight success story called Groupon.

At least Mark Zuckerberg wrote a few lines of computer code at Harvard before he left to launch Facebook. Now Andrew Mason, a relaxed and lanky 29-year-old music major from Northwestern, has managed to build the fastest-growing company in Web history. Groupon represents what the dot-com boom was supposed to be all about: huge sales, easy profits and solid connection between bricks-and-mortar retailers and online consumers.

Groupon, a name that blends “group” and “coupon,” presents an online audience with deep discounts on a product or service. Act now, says the pitch: You have only so many hours before this offer expires. That’s a familiar come-on, but it’s coupled with a novel element: You get the deal only if a certain number of fellow citizens buy the same thing on the same day. It’s a cents-off coupon married to a Friday-after-Thanksgiving shopping frenzy.

What’s in it for the vendor–which might be a museum, a yoga studio or an ice cream shop? Exposure. Since the resulting revenue is not only discounted but shared (typically, 50/50) with Groupon, the vendor may scarcely break even on the incremental sales. But it now has customers who might never have thought of patronizing the business. Groupon gets its offers in front of eyeballs by buying ad space through Google ( GOOG news people ) and Facebook and via the word of mouth of its 13 million subscribers.

Video: Growing Groupon

Unlike so many dot-com rockets, Groupon is a real business. Occupying 85,000 square feet inside a rehabbed eight-story former Montgomery Ward warehouse in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, the company is on track to pass $500 million in revenue this year, according to a report Morgan Stanley ( MS news people ) put together to win some underwriting business. No technology stalwart–including Ebay, ( AMZN news people ), Yahoo ( YHOO news people ), AOL and Google–grew that big that fast. At just 17 months old this April Groupon boasted a $1.35 billion valuation when it raised $135 million, the biggest chunk of it from Digital Sky Technologies, the curious Moscow investment fund behind Facebook and Zynga. (Mason will not disclose his stake, which he says is less than 50%.) The only company to reach a $1 billion valuation faster was YouTube (now part of Google), founded in 2005 and still waiting to turn its first profit. Groupon broke into the black just seven months after inception.

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Mason’s model is transforming the way companies–especially smaller ones with limited marketing budgets–snag sales. In May Groupon sold 6,561 tickets to a King Tut exhibit in New York’s Times Square for $18 apiece, little more than half the list price. The campaign brought in $120,000 at virtually no marginal cost to the exhibit; Groupon pocketed about 50% for a day’s effort. The most popular item so far: a $25 ticket for a Chicago architectural boat tour sold for $12. In May Groupon moved 19,822 tickets in eight hours and split the $238,000 with the tour operator.

Groupon has charged into 88 U.S. cities and 22 countries, including Turkey and Chile. Hundreds of rivals, some with deep pockets, are springing up. With turf wars brewing from New York to Brazil, Mason has armed himself with 250 salespeople and 70 writers, many plucked from the Chicago improv scene, to concoct witty pitches for deals. “We want to do for local e-commerce what Amazon did for normal consumer goods,” he boasts.

Sourced & published  by Henry Sapiecha

Five Billionaires

Who Live Below Their Means

Katie Adams, 04.14.10, 01:10 PM EDT

These billionaires maintain a frugal lifestyle.

At least once in your life–maybe even once a week or once a day for that matter–you have fantasized about coming into a lot of money. What would you do if you were worth millions or even billions? Believe it or not there are millionaires and billionaires among us who masquerade as relatively normal, run-of-the-mill people. Take a peek at some of the most frugal wealthy people in the world.

Warren Buffett
Millions of people read Buffett’s books and follow his firm Berkshire Hathaway‘s ( BRK – news – people ) every move. But the real secret to Buffett’s personal fortune may be his penchant for frugality. Buffett, who is worth an estimated $47 billion, eschews opulent homes and luxury items. He still lives in a modest home in Omaha, Neb., which he purchased for just $31,500 more than 50 years ago. Although he’s dined in the best restaurants around the globe, given the choice he would opt for a good burger and fries accompanied by a cold cherry Coke. When asked why he doesn’t own a yacht, he responded “Most toys are just a pain in the neck.”

Carlos Slim
While most of the world is very familiar with Bill Gates, the name Carlos Slim rarely rings a bell. But it’s a name worth knowing. Slim, who is a native of Mexico, was just named the world’s richest billionaire–that’s right, richer than the überfamous founder. Slim is worth more than $53 billion, and while he could afford the world’s most extravagant luxuries, he rarely indulges. He, like Buffett, doesn’t own a yacht or plane, and he has lived in the same home for over 40 years.

Ingvar Kamprad
The founder of the Swedish furniture phenomenon Ikea struck success with affordable, assemble-it-yourself furniture. For Kamprad, figuring out how to save money isn’t just for his customers, it’s a high personal value. He’s been quoted as saying “Ikea people do not drive flashy cars or stay at luxury hotels.” That goes for the founder as well. He flies coach for business, and when he needs to get around town locally he either takes the bus or will head out in his 15-year-old Volvo 240 GL.

Chuck Feeney
Growing up in the wake of The Depression as an Irish-American probably has something to do with Feeney’s frugality. With a personal motto of “I set out to work hard, not get rich,” the co-founder of Duty Free Shoppers has quietly become a billionaire but even more secretively given almost all of it away through his foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies. In addition to giving more than $600 million to his alma mater Cornell University, he has given billions to schools, research departments and hospitals.

Loath to spend if he doesn’t have to, Feeney beats both Buffett and Kamprad in the donation category, giving out less grants than only Ford and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations. A frequent user of public transportation, Feeney flies economy class, buys clothes from retail stores, and does not waste money on an extensive shoes closet, stating “you can only wear one pair of shoes at a time”. He raised his children in the same way; making them work the same normal summer jobs as most teens.

Frederik Meijer
If you live in the Midwest chances are good that you shop at Meijer’s chain of grocery stores. Meijer is worth more than $5 billion and nearly half of that was amassed when everyone else was watching their net worth drop in 2009. Like Buffett he buys reasonably-priced cars and drives them until they die, and like Kamprad he chooses affordable motels when on travel for work. Also, like Chuck Feeney, rather than carelessly spending his wealth Mr. Meijer is focused on the good that it can provide to the community.

The Bottom Line
The dirty little secret of some of the world’s wealthiest people is that they rarely act like it. Instead of over-the-top spending, they’re busy figuring out how to save and invest to have that much more in the future. It’s a habit you might want to consider in order to build up your own little storehouse of cash.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 15th April 2010


Billionaires You’ve Never Heard Of

These ten-figure titans hold sway over whole sectors

of the global economy–but most people don’t know

their names.

James Leprino $2.5 billion Leprino Foods U.S.
Joined father’s dairy outfit at age 18; transformed it into the world’s largest mozzarella producer. Today Leprino Foods supplies cheese for Domino’s, Papa John’s, Pizza Hut pizzas, Hot Pockets, string cheese.

Hiroshi Yamauchi $4.2 billion Nintendo ( NTDOY.PK news people ) Japan
Largest individual shareholder of Nintendo. Firm started out selling playing cards; Yamauchi led push into videogame consoles. Introduced Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985, turned Mario, Zelda into household names.

Video: Billionaires You’ve Never Heard Of

David Murdock $2.5 billion Dole U.S.
Took charge of the struggling food company 1985. Today Dole is the world’s largest producer of fruits and vegetables. Company went public last year; Murdock serves as chairman.

Axel Oberwelland $1.7 billion Storck Germany
Became sole owner of the candy company Storck GmbH after his father’s death in 2005. Outfit makes popular Werther’s Original, Riesen caramels. Sales: $1.9 billion.

Jorge Paulo Lemann $11.5 billion Anheuser-Busch Inbev Brazil

With Marcel Telles and Carlos Alberto Sicupira, holds hefty stake in beverage giant Anheuser-Busch Inbev. First fortune: Flipped investment bank Banco Garantia for $675 million in 1998.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 23rd March 2010

House prices start to take off


SYDNEY house prices have shown growth in the three months to June since the global financial crisis struck in late 2007, figures show.

The value of the Sydney’s average  home rose 3.7 per cent after five quarters in a row of flat prices, Australian Property Monitors said in a report to be published today.

The result supports other signs that low interest rates, the lowest in 40 years, and a shortage of homes could help Australia avoid house price falls of up to 20 per cent seen overseas.

Property: hottest suburbs in Oz


BRW magazine’s national property survey is out on Thursday. Editor-in-Chief Sean Aylmer lists the most affordable areas to buy.

And in a possible sign that growth in the market was spreading beyond government-backed first-home buyers, the top half of the market grew nearly twice as fast as the more affordable half.

Meanwhile, separate private-sector figures added to fears of a housing bubble fuelled by a shortage of new homes and apartments coming on to the market.

The property figures come after comments on Tuesday by the Reserve Bank governor, Glenn Stevens, that surging housing demand must be ‘‘translated into more dwellings, not just higher prices’’, which some economists saw as a warning of the next housing bubble.

But an economist with Australian Property Monitors, Matthew Bell, said the strength of the top end of the market showed growth in house prices was a well-rounded recovery, rather than a first-home buyer-fuelled boom.

‘‘When you’ve got the top end participating like that, it’s a good indication that you’re getting back to the levels we saw before prices fell heavily in 2008,’’ Mr Bell said.

After being pulled down by its large financial sector, Sydney was the fourth-fastest growing capital city after Darwin, Hobart and Melbourne. ‘‘Sydney and Melbourne have come back very strongly and really are leading the country, in terms of price rises.’’

The mining state capitals, Perth and Brisbane, are the only cities where house prices were lower than they were in June 2008.


Housing Industry Association figures, published yesterday, also pointed to a recovery in the property market but hinted at a looming supply shortage.

Detached home sales rose by 18 per cent in the past six months, the report said, but apartment sales had fallen by 20 per cent because developers struggled to access sufficient credit.

The chief economist at CommSec, Craig James, said: ‘‘While more first-home buyers are building their dream homes, investors and developers are either not interested or not able to participate in building new apartments’’.

Sourced from Sydney Morning Herald.

Published by Henry Sapiecha 10th August 2009


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