John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Your Sh?t?kan-Style Property Assessment Is No Match for My McDojo-Style Greed!

ellison_estate.jpgOracle’s Larry Ellison was given a bit of a respite from the financial beating he’s taken over the past few days by the empathic folks at the San Mateo (Calif.) County assessor’s office. The Oracle (ORCL) chairman, worth $25 billion according to Forbes, recently had the value of “Sanbashi,” his grandiose 23-acre Imperial Palace in Woodside, Calif., reassessed from $173 million to about $70 million.

Why the sudden decline in value? Well, like all 16th-century Shogun estates with authentic Japanese teahouses and strolling gardens it suffers from–in the words of Ellison’s appeal–“significant functional obsolescence.” And that obsolescence is so significant that it entitles the world’s 14th wealthiest man to a $3 million tax refund.

Sadly for San Mateo County, that refund will be paid from property taxes that otherwise would have gone to schools, among other things. And what will Ellison do with the money? Who knows. Perhaps he’ll spend it on another 30-ton “shower rock” like the one in Sanbashi, which he reportedly “auditioned” by pretending to shower in front of it.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work