Marc Rich, father of modern oil trading and founder of the group that became Glencore Xstrata, has died at the age of 78, the head of his philanthropic foundation said on Wednesday.
Many of the biggest players in oil and metals trading trace their roots back to Rich, whose triumph in the 1960s and 70s was to create a spot market for oil, wresting business away from the world’s big oil companies.
Rich, however, was also a controversial figure. He was forced to flee the United States for Switzerland in 1983 after allegedly taking advantage of the 1980 U.S. embargo against Iran to make huge profits in illicit Iranian oil sale.
“Marc Rich passed away this morning at his home in Lucerne. He will be brought to Israel for burial,” Avner Azulay, managing director of Marc Rich Foundation, said by telephone. (more…)
Hoarder, moneylender, tax dodger — it’s not how we usually think of William Shakespeare.
But we should, according to a group of academics who say the playwright was a ruthless businessman who grew wealthy dealing in grain during a time of famine.
Researchers from Aberystwyth University in Wales argue that we can’t fully understand Shakespeare unless we study his often-overlooked business savvy.
“Shakespeare the grain-hoarder has been redacted from history so that Shakespeare the creative genius could be born,” the researchers say in a paper due to be delivered at the Hay literary festival in Wales in May.
Jayne Archer, a lecturer in medieval and Renaissance literature at Aberystwyth, said that oversight is the product of “a willful ignorance on behalf of critics and scholars who I think — perhaps through snobbery — cannot countenance the idea of a creative genius also being motivated by self-interest.” (more…)
Even the master of literature had to fund his passion somehow.
Researchers from Aberystwyth University in Wales are calling attention to Shakespeare’s lesser-known ventures, which they say have been scrubbed from history by snobby researchers unable to reconcile “creative genius” with “savvy businessman.”
When the bard wasn’t busy writing dramatic and clever plays, he was also purchasing and storing “grain, malt and barley for resale at inflated prices to his neighbors and local tradesmen,” according to a review of historical literature by the researchers. He “pursued those who could not (or would not) pay him in full for these staples and used the profits to further his own money-lending activities.” (more…)