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Thursday, 13 March 2014

Top richer persons than thier entere country economy

The Rich List: Five People Richer Than Entire Nations

While most of the news focused on Bill Gates regaining the top spot from Mexican Telecom giant Carlos Slim Helu, Forbes writer Abraham Brown praised the growing number of billionaires, writing: “Combined, the billionaires are worth $6.4 trillion, a greater sum than any other Forbes has previously calculated. Perhaps equally suggestive of the prosperous economic times is the fact that 268 folks are joining the billionaire’s club for the first time, the largest freshman class ever[.]”
But is the growth of the most affluent among us really a sign of “prosperous economic times?” What about those of us who aren’t billionaires?
Here are some facts to consider:

  • The top 10 billionaires own more than a half of a trillion dollars collectively.
  • According to Oxfam, the top 85 members of the billionaires club own as much or more wealth than the bottom 50 percent.
The World Economic Forum listed the widening gap between the rich and poor as the number one most likely issue to cause us problems down the road. And after Americans elected a candidate who promised to take on Wall Street, 90 percent of income gains has gone to the top one percent since his time in office.
But most of this has been talked about by economists, income inequality watchdogs and the like. I would rather help you visualize just how much money has been concentrated at the top of the economic food chain.
With that in mind, here are five billionaires whose net worth is higher than five countries’ total GDP.
Note: GDP does not represent the total wealth of a country, but rather its economic output for a given year. It is an estimate of all the money exchanged for goods or services in a given year. It doesn’t count savings or things that could be counted as valuable but not sold, like a family growing their own food. However, the GDP does give a good estimation of a country’s wealth, especially in countries whose citizens have limited savings. It is also easily accessible. Also, I’m lazy, which may be the most significant reason why I chose this barometer.

Person: Christy Walton

Source of Wealth: Wal-Mart | Total Wealth: $36.7 Billion | Forbes Ranking: 9th

Nation: Jordan

Total Population: 6.318 Million | Total GDP: $31.01 Billion | World Bank Ranking: #92
waltons richer than most countries

Christy Walton obtained her fortune by outliving her husband John T. Walton, son of Sam Walton, one of the creators of Wal-Mart.
She can be credited with continuing, or at least not preventing, Wal-Mart’s continued importation of cheap Asian goods, which is largely seen as a major factor in the destruction of the middle class in the United States.
Jordan has been an independent country since 1948. It is a major ally for the United States and United Kingdom in the Middle East and is one of only two Arab nations that have signed a peace treaty with Israel (the other being Egypt). Despite its close political ties to rich countries, 13 percent of Jordan’s population lives on less than $3 a day. Jordan is also one of the largest Phosphate exporters in the world.
Despite all this, one woman in America largely inherited a fortune greater than the GDP of the entire nation.

Person: The Koch Brothers

Source of Wealth: Deal with the Devil (Forbes lists “Diversified”) | Total Wealth: $40 Billion Each. | Forbes Ranking: Tied for 6th

Nation: Panama

Total Population: 3.8 Million | Total GDP: $36.25 Billion | World Bank Ranking: #89
koch brothers
The Koch Brothers are actually two people tied for 6th on Forbes’ billionaire list. Individually, each of their net worth is higher than the GDP of Panama. But they work so well together, with such unified focus and vision. If you combined their wealth they would easily beat Bill Gates as the richest person in the world.  If it weren’t for their shared last name we would be able to give them a cool celebrity couple name like Bennifer or Brangelina. As it is, we will compare their individual wealth to Panama, because it is just too scary to think of them as one fortune, even if that isn’t far from the truth.
The Koch brothers use their wealth to heavily influence, some would even say control, the American democratic process. Combined with their political organizations, the Koch brothers spend millions of dollars every year in the hopes of influencing campaigns.
Panama controls one of the world’s most important trading ports, the Panama Canal. While the canal was under the control of other powers for most of its existence, the canal was transferred to Panama’s control at the dawn of this century. In 2007, 313 million tons of cargo passed through the Panama canal.
That is a lot of money exchanging hands in Panama. Still, each of the Koch brothers own more wealth than the country’s total GDP.

Person: Warren Buffett

Source of Wealth: Berkshire Hathaway and “Self Made” Investments | Total Wealth: $58.2 Billion | Forbes Ranking: 4th

Nation: Uzbekistan

Total Population: 29.78 Million | Total GDP: $51.1 Billion | World Bank Ranking: #75
warren buffett rich
Warren Buffett is one of the few top ten billionaires that actually has a pretty good name amongst us “normal people.” He donates a ton to charity and does a lot of “fun” things with his money, like putting up a billion dollars for a perfect NCAA bracket this year. He has even promised to give away most of his fortune and donated over $3 billion in 2012.
But that humble attitude may exist in some part because Buffett has acquired his wealth without actually producing much of anything. Buffett is amazing at the stock market, and if you invested $10,000 into his Berkshire company in 1965 when he took control, you would be worth $51 million now. But investment isn’t the same as creation and Buffett has created very little during his financial career. He is, at the end of the day, just like the investment bankers and stock market brokers that caused the financial crisis. He is just very good at it, seems to have a conscious and is very charitable with his money.
The country of Uzbekistan, on the other hand, produces a lot of actual goods. Uzbekistan is the world’s second largest exporter of cotton, and it also exports significant amounts of natural gas and petroleum.
Yet one investment banker holds more wealth than the country does in a business in a year.

2. Carlos Slim Helu

Source of Wealth: Telecommunications | Total Wealth: $74 Billion | Forbes Ranking: #2

Nation: Cuba

Total Population 11.27 Million | Total GDP: $68.23 Billion | World Bank Ranking: #67
carlos slim
Carlos Slim Helu may have lost his world’s richest man spot to Bill Gates, but he is still doing alright. Helu gained his $74 Billion fortune by monopolizing the Mexican telecom industry, at the expense of Mexican citizens. As Oxfam puts it:
“The enormity of his wealth derives from establishing an almost complete monopoly over fixed line, mobile, and broadband communications services in Mexico. Slim is the CEO and Chairman of América Móvil, which controls nearly 80 percent of fixed line services and 70 percent of mobile services in the country. A recent OECD review [. . .] concluded that the monopoly over the sector has had a significant negative effect on the economy, and a sustained welfare cost to citizens who have had to pay inflated prices for telecommunications.”
Despite losing out on the top spot to Gates, Helu owns more wealth than the entire GDP of  11.27 million people living less than 300 miles from the eastern coast of Mexico.

1. Bill Gates

Source of Wealth: Microsoft | Total Wealth: $76 Billion | Forbes Ranking #1

Nation: Syrian Arab Republic

Total Population: 22.4 Million | Total GDP: $73.67 Billion | World Bank Ranking #65
bill gates is rich

Keep in mind, these numbers come from before the recent troubles in Syria.
If Bill Gates’ personal net wealth was converted into GDP, he would be the world’s 64th largest economy. That isn’t counting the totality of Microsoft, but only Gates’ stock and his other personal assets (Microsoft itself would sit at #57 if its value were converted to GDP).
Gates certainly deserves a large fortune. His foresight in seeing the PC revolution helped shape the world we live in now. But still. . .
Isn’t it just a bit ridiculous for one person to be worth $76 billion dollars? Meanwhile the totality of the citizens of Syria represents more than $2 billion less than that, before the country turned to civil war?
Furthermore, the World Bank tracks the 190 top countries’ GDP. Bill Gates’ net worth is larger than the combined GDP of the bottom 40 countries on that list.
Forbes might be celebrating the fact that the billionaires club now includes 1565 members, but I’m more concerned with the rest of us. When individual men tower above entire nations, it isn’t sustainable.


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