Oracle CEO Ellison's luxury yacht docks near homeless camp in Hawaii

Larry Ellison, billionaire and CEO of Oracle Corporation, bought 98% of the land on the Hawaiian island of Lānaʻi last year. In 2013, his 288-foot, four floor luxury superyacht "Musashi" and its attendant staff have spent most of their time at port in Honolulu (Oahu), because there are no suitable docks yet for the massive symbol of his massive wealth on the smaller island.

They're actually docked just steps from a homeless encampment, as luck would have it.

The port has fallen to tough economic times, and a number of structures nearby that once housed restaurants and other businesses are now abandoned, covered with graffiti and strewn with trash.

Just across the way another luxury vessel sits, this one with a helicopter on its upper deck—and it belongs to Google co-founder Larry Page.

Video here.

According to Hawaiian legend, man-eating spirits have occupied the island of Lānaʻi since ancient times. During the 20th century, it was controlled by the Hawaiian Pineapple Company (later Dole Food Company) for decades, and was the world's largest pineapple plantation for some years.

With Ellison's takeover, the island's return to a man-eating spirit would appear to be complete.

[Photo: KGMB and KHNL]


  1. It’s like they almost *want* the Hawaiians to revive the old local tradition of beating in the heads of arrogant white men in big boats.

    1.  Remember that the arrogant white men were trying to capture kings and chiefs before they got their heads bashed in.  It was provoked.

  2. What a shame. The ideas of Rand and Tech Utopia have created our worst nightmare.
    We live in world were each time we tweet  or search we become complicit in creating a larger inequality gap. The monetary value that most tech companies have extracted from the commons has filled the pockets of the gilded few and created a world of sad but predictable speculate  where gold plated obese yatchs dock next to and in plan sight of the tragedies that have been created and perpetuated by debunked and hollowed out neo liberalism. 

    It is time to return to the commons what has been take from the commons.
    It is not about “Redistribution”
    It is about “Return”

    1. That sounds nice on paper, but to what “commons” are you referring?  The Internet?  If so, which part?  The wires? The electricity? The software?  The hardware?  All of that was created under voluntary contracts, of which you are the beneficiary.  The only “commons” part is the spectrum that was auctioned off.

      Don’t get me wrong– I hate the economic inequality and I’m certainly no fan of Ellison.  But your core argument is sorely lacking, I fear. 

    2. If we “return to the commons”, on a global scale, nearly everyone posting to this thread today will be among the returners, not the receivers.

      Mind you that’s a point of view you are quite entitled to hold, as long as you are fully aware.

    3. Okay dude.  Go return all the shit Google and Oracle ‘stole’ from the common man back to them.  Let me know how that works out.  Oracle snagged a bunch of money from other businesses, and Google skimmed a few cents off the top of a fuck-ton of ad agencies.  Neither is exactly drenched in the blood of slaves.  Don’t get me wrong, Oracle is fucking evil, but they are more personal enemy and “I think you are a real asshole” evil rather that De Beers style “I use slave labor and topple governments so that I can roll around in blood stained money” evil.

      We have tried snatching industry and returning it to the commons by force a few dozens of times, all with results that range from “slightly less shitty than the last brutal bastard that ruled” to “OMG we created hell on earth”.  I have a feeling that the long term answer probably is a boring old Scandinavian economic model of redistribution via a welfare state and light state involvement in the means of production.  Boring, I know, but the revolution has been tried, and by all accounts it fucking sucked.  Time to move on.

      1.  The boring Scandinavian model would suit me fine. I’d also immediately put an end to all of Google’s scummy tax dodges in which they really to rob the common man, or more specifically: American and European tax paying citizens.

  3. We were in Maui waiting to take a scenic cruise, and there was a bunch of grizzled homeless drunks and they started trying to out-do each other’s  stories about misadventures taking a shit, since being being homeless (and drunk) can make this a real logistical problem. 

      1.  Indeed, why do you think they’re there?

        It’s amazing how the homeless population of my coastal California town shoots up (pun intended) when the weather is nice.

    1. We were in Maui waiting to take a scenic cruise, and there was a bunch of… misadventures taking a shit…

      Must have been a Carnival Cruise. Giving new meaning to the term “poop deck”.

  4. Yacht? Yacht?!?

    I move that that monstrosity be labeled a “personal cruise liner”.

    1. The meaning of the term yacht seems to have drifted somewhat. It comes from Dutch jacht (German Jagd) meaning hunt. It referred to a small light vessel used to pursue pirates.

      The pirates seem to have won and are taking the piss calling the ostentatious display of their ill-gotten? gains also a yacht.

    1. We’re not mad at a boat.  We’re mad at the men who own the giant boats, and the dickish asshole things they do.  We’re also mad at what the boat symbolizes: that capitalism is also a redistribution of wealth, where the wealth flows from the have-lesses to the have-mosts

          1. So you’re not nearly as mad about there being homeless people in Hawaii, as you are about Ellison having a big boat.

            Or am I misinterpreting you too??

      1. Don’t forget, we’re also mad at all the carpenters, painters, metalworkers, welders, electricians, glaziers, machinists and electronics installers who built the yacht and the cooks, navigators, janitors, and maids who staff it.  Those people giving their money to Larry is a downright tragedy.

        1. Oh I get it! Supply side economics! We should be thankful to toil on the luxury plantations of this tiny percentage of elite continue to extract ever increasing amounts of the world’s wealth.

        2. Besides, all of that skilled labor could have very easily been invested in something that would benefit more than just one person and his close associates.

        3. Larry could have spent the same money and had those workers build a thousand portable schools and medical clinics in 3rd world countries. But then Paul Allen might have a longer yacht, and that would make Ellison lose sleep.

  5. I’m not that appalled by someone owning a giant yacht.  If he uses it all the time and really enjoys it.  It’s the fifteen mall-sized houses within an eight hour drive, two yachts, two jets, god-knows-how-many luxury cars, etc. thing that’s the problem for me.  It’s not the luxury; it’s the waste of having billions of dollars worth of junk that you only look at once or twice per year.

    1. Not so much a waste to the people who built or maintain those items, it becomes their income.  All of those items can have massive supply chains with lots of hands involved.  I’m sure they are glad people have money to burn like this.

          1. No, he should buy a yacht one quarter the size, and spend use the savings to feed millions of hungry kids. 

      1.  There are supply chains, but they’re not as massive as you think they are.  A yacht of that size, if used as a cruise ship instead of a private possession, would require more paid staff, supplies, etc. and would generate more consumer trade at each stop, to say nothing of the attendant travel expenses (more air flights, perhaps buses or vans rented to shuttle passengers to various sites on land at each stop).  This is a capital sink, not a source of GNP.

      2. That would be the “millionaire as Job Creator” trope I keep hearing about. Nick Hanauer is a billionaire who pretty thoroughly debunks that myth:

  6. What do you say about a man who is driven to have a boat like that? F_ _ _ _ in’ A — can you imagine that anyone who has a personal relationship with a man such as this could be anything other than a supplicant, a toady, a whore, or a well paid jester (and the family dynamic must be a hoot). Next time this boat docks anywhere in the US, we ought to create a flash mob of Living Zombies a hundred strong and just walk towards the vessel with our mouths agap … and wait for his security to verify his megolmania.. what do you say?

    1. Oh, I can imagine acquiring all sorts of mega-crap in a fit of “holy shit look at all these TOYS!” glee.  But then, I’d have to keep someone on hire to sell that stuff off when I got bored of it.  

    1. When someone buys a boat like this, what they are really saying is: Look At My Big Dick.

      When someone buys a boat like this, what they are really saying is: Don’t Look At My Small Dick. FTFY.

      1. Glad I read down to your response before typing what would have been a virtually identical retort!

      2. Read paragraph one in the section “Early Life” in Ellison’s Wikipedia bio.

        Then watch “Citizen Kane”.

        QED – sometimes a dick is just a dick…

        1. I long ago concluded I lack the necessary rage, anxiety, and guilt to rise in the corporate world.  My parents did not drink, die, go insane, or touch me inappropriately, which means I don’t have a lot in common with most managers. 

          1.  I’ve always felt it had more to do with lack of compassion.  If you can screw your coworker out of his fair share, without remorse, you are wired for American business.  If the compassion gene is found to be real, I’d love to test our CEO’s.

  7. Let’s see… Musashi: died penniless in a cave searching for perfection. That seems like a great name for some asshole’s pleasure yacht.

    1. And isn’t the whole Buddhist / Samurai / Poet / Warrior thing just soooo 1463?

      Naming a boat Musashi is about about as pretentious as it gets.

    1. Really? You mean the highly competitive, free market practices of a company whose product is named after the CIA project that spawned it and whose first sale was to the Air Force?

      Or perhaps you mean a company whose business practices include routinely overcharging on U.S. government contracts:

      or simply embedding themselves so deeply in government that 70% of the software licenses the British government owns were sold to them by Oracle:

      “Capitalism” – you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

      1. To whom is the ‘you’ in your post directed?

        What I mean, is that this article’s subject matter is emblematic of everything that is wrong with capitalism.

      2. I don’t think you realize that you’re posting perfect examples of the way (loosely regulated) capitalism corrupts good governance.

  8. On the one hand, I think it’s reasonably well documented that Larry Ellison’s not a really nice person. On the other hand, go look at . If he carries through on that, it’s some pretty serious giving.

    But… homeless people near luxury yacht. That’s very different from homeless people far away from luxury yacht, you know.

    1. In a more just society this kind of vanity philanthropy wouldn’t be necessary. These oligarchs basically get to choose which pet projects they get to spend money on, instead of contributing to the common good at large. It’s just more wealth extraction. See Gate’s and the Walton’s “charity” work in education, which is really just pushing privatization, undermining labor, and generally working toward more concentration of wealth. It’s immoral.

  9. The island was owned by David Murdock, who will be keeping a home there.  I also recall that Bill Gates rented the entire island for his wedding back n the early 1990’s (we visited Lana’i in 1990).  The tiniest and most delicious pineapple I’ve ever eaten grew there.  Lana’i was mostly a pineapple plantation then.

  10. I’ve never understood how it’s possible to have that much wealth and still sleep, in a world where kids go hungry and lack basic medical care.  I guess the same lack of compassion that allows one to hoard the profits of your workmates, also allows one to sleep between sheets the cost of which would feed a pile of hungry kids for years. 

      1.  Absolutely.  What we see often on BB is a bunch of people who are in the top 3% of wealth worldwide bitching about the top 1%.

        1. Are you one of those BB commenters we so often see, who responds to every post in which the subject of class may be inserted, with the words:  ‘first world problems’?  – that comes across as dismissive and condescending?  Equivalent to ‘you just don’t get it!’?

          The BB community is well aware of what class(es) they belong to; they’re a very intellegent, diverse group of folks.  Do you think it may be possible that you are preaching to the choir… class_enemy?

          1. Well, if my posts are perceived as dismissive and condescending, no wonder they show up here in such high relief.

            But seriously, when I consider the amount of material wealth I have, I tend to compare myself with those who have far less rather than those who have far more. Perhaps this is a flaw on my part.

          2. I would wager that most every commenter here feels they are more akin to those who have less, rather than those who have more.  I’m not faulting your sympathies, just reminding you of the make-up of your audience. 

            The BBers are already sensitive to the presence of and consequences of ageism, sexism, racism, and class inequality. Say something ignorant, clumsy or tactless in any of those areas, and someone here will happily correct you, till we can all march in lockstep together once again. It’s practically our informal online policy.

            I’m still working on educating myself on the many cultural nuances of hatefulness toward those who’s sexual orientation is different than the majority.  For that purpose, BB has been quite an valuable education. 

        2. I’m in the top 1% worldwide, and I still have to stitch up the holes in my clothes rather than buy new ones. Those numbers aren’t particularly meaningful.

          1.  Well you know we’re all rich because we’re not bloated and covered with flies as we forage for food in an open sewer. So the whole point these guys are making is that we should just shut up about extreme global wealth inequality. Get it!?

      2. I agree. That’s why my personal plan is to retire to the 3rd world, spend my money there, and volunteer my time. If I can time it just right, I’ll run out of money on my deathbed, thereby recycling my 1st world wealth into a 3rd world economy.

      3. There are about 100 extremely wealthy people that extract enough wealth that they could end extreme poverty multiple times over. Wealth concentration is historical and just increasing with the 1% increasing their incomes by 60% in the last 20 years. The tired old “Our homeless are rich because it’s worse in hell hole x” fallacy is a diversion tactic that I thankfully don’t think anybody buys anymore…

  11. “They’re actually docked just steps from a homeless encampment, as luck would have it.”
    Yeah, so what? Just as obscene as everydays obscene juxtapositions in every country, isn’t it? 

    1. My favorite is India: the high-tech business parks of Hyderabad and Bangalore, which have cool shiny office buildings just like Silicon Valley filled with smart and happy hackers, while literally next door is a big empty lot with families living under plastic-tarp shanties.

      The sense of socio-economic spacing there is way different from, say, Beverly Hills or Cupertino.

      1. More to the point, many of the people living under those tarps helped build those shiny towers, but still have no homes.  

  12. Say what you want about the man (he’s not a nice person, exactly like pretty much any wealthy CEO out there, bar absolutely none), at least he spends or donates a good chunk of his income, making him much more useful to the world at large than a certain “fruit-shaped” corporation currently stuffing offshore accounts with billions of dollars. Money going in offshore tax-havens is drained out of the economy, and benefits exactly nobody except the owner.

    1.  I’d rather see that chunk used for tax revenue than donated to Stanford as part of an insider trading settlement…… 

  13. Assuming that at least some of the homeless are Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian), I find it extra ironic that these people camping in the shadows of Ellison’s yacht are descended from some of history’s greatest seafarers. Those ancestors discovered these islands in wooden voyaging canoes (wonderfully crafted and seaworthy, but tiny and frail in comparison with this yacht), navigating by stars and currents, and created an admirable and sustainable society that lasted for two thousand years. Then came the whalers, the navies of the great powers, and the missionaries…

    1. Then came the imported workers because the people who were born in paradise could not really grasp the idea of working the sugarcane fields in exchange for shiny bits of metal they could use to buy canned food at the company store. 

  14. Seriously folks? This guy has done more for charity than the majority of us will be able to do in a lifetime (hell, in 10 lifetimes). He can have a goddamned stupid boat. 

    “Many years ago, I put virtually all of my assets into a trust with the intent of giving away at least 95 percent of my wealth to charitable causes. I have already given hundreds of millions of dollars to medical research and education, and I will give billions more over time. Until now, I have done this giving quietly—because I have long believed that charitable giving is a personal and private matter.”
    – Larry Ellison

    1.  Seriously folks.  Give me as much money as Ellison has and see what I do for charity.  Or are you seriously calling me an asshole for not giving away billions of dollars I don’t have in the first place?

      1. Actual charities being less necessary if these very oligarchs weren’t extracting so much wealth from everybody else. Wow.

    2. > He can have a goddamned stupid boat. 

      Precisely. But this is BB, where wealth is a bad thing, unless it’s crowdfunded by 3d-printed unicorns and evenly, perfectly distributed.

  15. Like so many mega yachts it does not look particularly sea worthy in a way needed by a boat that sailed to Hawaii. . 

    A couple years ago a cruise ship with windows like that got hit by a rogue wave that blew in several of those windows into the bar area I believe, killing a passenger. 

    All that glass is not going to hold up very well when green water comes over the bow every 30 seconds.  Maybe every room with a window is backed by a waterproof door and bulkhead, maybe that whole superstructure is designed around a solid watertight core that will survive while all those windows blow out and the grand piano washes away.  

    I freaking doubt it.

    1. The windows get smaller the lower they are on the hull – maybe an engineer did the math and specified steel frame reinforced polycarbonate rather than glass.

      1. Doesn’t matter when the shit gets real.  Because the big hull windows are unsupported spans they had better be one of the strongest points on the entire ship.  And like I said, the ship needs to be designed to survive  most of the superstructure blown out, because it’s about as seaworthy as a wedding cake. 

        Of course,  the owner isn’t going anywhere in a typhoon, they’ll just order the captain to sail into it. 

  16. I just want to point out that Doug Humprey’s little boat, the Badzt Maru, could run this thing down and take it apart.

    The names make it funny.

  17. I think that is less of sea-going yacht and more of a grandiose ferry boat to sail the 5 miles or so to Maui so he can party with Oprah. 

  18. No idea about this particular guy but I can see going crazy if I found myself a billionaire all of a sudden.  Buying ridiculous crap, then feeling foolish later.

    It appears that people who become very wealthy somehow get past the feeling foolish and then carry on being angst filled like the rest of us.

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