Rich People and Their Job-Producing Capital Leaving Socialistic Countries
French tycoon's threat shakes Socialist tax plan
Sep 10, 2012
By THOMAS ADAMSON
PARIS (AP) - Bernard Arnault - the richest man in Europe - has ignited
an uproar in France over taxes, citizenship, patriotism and what
policies the government needs to promote growth.
It's a pretty impressive achievement for one little statement.
Arnault - the CEO of French fashion giant LVMH, owner of houses like
Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior - is the symbol of France's treasured
luxury fashion industry.
So when the face of "Made in France" confirmed Sunday that he had
applied for dual citizenship in Belgium it struck deep chord in
France's national pride.
Despite his protests, many thought it was an attempt to dodge the new
Socialist government's planned 75 percent tax on the country's
One French paper's front-page headline called him a "rich jerk" on
Monday and French President Francois Hollande questioned Arnault's
But beyond the name-calling, the debacle highlighted a very French
contradiction: A country that prides itself on producing
exorbitantly-priced luxury fashion has tax policies that target the
very people rich enough to buy French goods.
Arnault is the world's fourth-richest man, whose personal fortune Forbes magazine estimates at $41 billion.
His application to Belgium comes as Hollande prepares to implement a 75
percent tax on those that earn more than €1 million ($1.28 million) a
year - although it was hinted the plan could be watered down.
"If I was in his shoes I might also think that I don't have a choice
and would leave," said 34-year-old Jean-Baptiste Lete, a Paris resident
walking in the city Monday.
It wouldn't be the first time that Arnault dodged a Socialist named
Francois. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1981 when President Francois
Mitterrand swept to power - and returned when the country's tax
policies became more conservative.
As a Belgian, Arnault would pay a maximum of 50 percent on his income.
More appealingly, he could take advantage of the cherished tax-free
status that Belgians hold in Monaco - provided he renounced his French
nationality. French nationals living in Monaco are taxed in France.
Arnault vociferously denied that his decision had anything to do with
tax evasion and said he will continue paying French taxes, but his
comments convinced few.
"I can't believe it," businessman Bernard Tapie was quoted as saying in
the Le Parisien paper. "When you're the citizen of a country, you need
to know how to enjoy the good part but also accept the downsides.
Symbolically, this is a catastrophe."
The move was being called a public relations disaster that highlights
the French economy's lack of competitiveness. The French are still
reeling over British Prime Minister David Cameron's vow to "roll out
the red carpet" for French firms if Hollande followed through on his
plan to raise taxes for the wealthy.
Francois Fillon, France's former Conservative prime minister, directly blamed the Socialist government's tax policy.
"This will spread like wildfire. And all over the planet they'll say
that France is the country that doesn't like success," he said.
Others placed the blame firmly on Arnault himself. The Liberation
newspaper Monday featured a photo of a smug-looking and immaculately
suited Arnault holding a suitcase alongside the headline: "Get lost,
On Monday, LVMH issued a statement saying that Arnault will sue the newspaper for "public insult."
Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici was worried about France's global image.
"He is at the helm of luxury houses whose brands are French symbols,"
the minister told BFM TV. "He didn't realize how it would be perceived,
it was sort of irresponsible."
Some critics say the Socialists had it coming, reminding all that Hollande once famously said: "I dislike the rich."
On the other side of the border, the news was greeted with open arms.
"Welcome, Mr. Arnault" read Monday's editorial headline in the Belgian
daily La Libre - which claims the billionaire has been living in a
suburb of Brussels for several months already.
Singapore Set to Emerge as World’s Richest City
August 17, 2012, by Dan Jovic
Kevin Voigt, CNN, Reporting
HONG KONG (CNN) — Asia is set to have the world’s wealthiest residents, with city-state Singapore heading the rich list.
Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea will do well, too, according to by a
new survey that predicts which countries will be home to the wealthiest
citizens by 2050.
By one measure, they are already are. Singapore’s per capita income is
estimated by Knight Frank and Citi Private Wealth‘s 2012 Wealth Report
to be the highest in the world at $56,532 in 2010, measured by
purchasing power parity. Norway follows at $51,226, then the U.S.
($45,511), Hong Kong ($45,301) and Switzerland ($42,470). (The
International Monetary Fund listed Singapore 3rd in the world in
2010-11 by per capita GDP, behind Qatar and Luxembourg, which weren’t
included in the Knight Frank report).
By 2050, the Wealth Report estimates the world’s wealthy citizens will
be dominated by Asia: Singapore ($137,710), Hong Kong ($116,639),
Taiwan ($114,093) and South Korea ($107,752). The only western economy
projected to remain in the top five is the U.S., with an estimated per
capita income of $100,802.
Danny Quah of the London School of Economics predicts that by 2050, the
world’s economic center of gravity will be somewhere between India and
China, the report notes. In 1980, the global economic center lay in the
middle of the Atlantic.
Some of the world’s super-rich have
already crossed the Pacific. Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, a
native of Brazil, moved to Singapore in 2009 has since renounced his
U.S. citizenship. Jim Rogers, the co-founder of the Quantum Fund with
George Soros, also moved to the former British colony in 2007.
“I have moved — I have sold my house in New York. I have moved to Asia
and my girls speak Mandarin, speak perfect Mandarin … I’m preparing
them for the 21st century by knowing Asia and by speaking perfect
Mandarin,” Rogers told CNN recently.
“It’s easier to get rich in Asia than it is in America now. The wind is
in your face. (The U.S.) is the largest debtor nation in the history of
the world,” Rogers added.
“The largest creditor nations in the world are China, Japan, Korea,
Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore. The assets are in Asia. You know who the
debtors are and where they are. Look at Greece. Look at Spain. I mean,
I don’t like saying this. You know, I’m an American, too. But facts are
The report’s list of fastest growing economies between 2010 and 2050
also gives more credence that the world’s wealth is moving toward Asia.
Of the top 10 fastest rising economies — Nigeria, India, Iraq,
Bangladesh, Vietnam, the Philippines, Mongolia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka
and Egypt, respectively — all but three are in the region.
Old World economies will have the worst growth performance in the next
40 years, the report predicts: Spain, France, Sweden, Belgium,
Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands, Italy and Germany are at the
bottom of the list. But Japan and its aging population will have the
weakest projected growth of all economies, Knight Frank estimates.
However, just because the denizens of Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan
are projected to live in the world’s wealthiest regions doesn’t mean
all will share in the wealth.
In the report Tina Fordham, Senior Global Political Analyst at Citi,
warns that the dissatisfaction with income inequality shown in the
Occupy Wall Street demonstrations “will gain momentum, and that there
could be a long-term recalibration between governments, businesses and
society as a result.”
On Monday, a court ordered the protesters of Occupy Central in Hong
Kong, one of the last outposts of the global protests sparked by Occupy
Wall Street, to give up its encampment at HSBC’s headquarters in the
WORD FAITH INDEX
CATHOLIC CHURCH INDEX