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The United Nations recently announced that the number of chronically hungry people on the planet has exceeded the billion mark for the first time. It is extremely unlikely that any of them will ever hold a Swiss 1,000 franc banknote (worth more than 900 dollars), but if they did, they would see the portrait of a man who perceived the essence of the explanation as to why extreme poverty and extreme plenty coexist so naturally on this planet, and of the grim fate of the permanently starving - Swiss historian Jacob Burckhardt (1818-1897).
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