I have written several articles on postings related to Big Tech, Social Media and Corporations. A list of links have been provided at bottom of this article for your convenience. This article will, however address different aspects on these Industries.
How did so many Billionaires increase their wealth in the year of the pandemic? So before I start on this article , lets do a fact check to make sure that all these rumors of increased wealth are true. The ruling by the Fact Checking at USA Today shows that the claims made by the Institute for Policy Studies obtained from Forbes for its Billionaire Bonanza report, which The Mind Unleashed referenced in its April article, adds up. The wealth of U.S. billionaires increased $282 billion in just 23 days. So now that the claim has been validated, it is time to investigate how this happened.
From March to June 2020, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos saw his wealth rise by an estimated $48 billion. The founder of the video-conferencing platform Zoom grew his nest egg by over $2.5 billion, and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s net worth increased by $15.7 billion.
These kinds of examples might lead you to think that when billionaires profit during a crisis, it’s just a matter of right place, right time. Well, that’s not false, but it’s not entirely true either. Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson saw his wealth increase by $5 billion, while Elon Musk saw an increase of $17.2 billion. When you add up the numbers, billionaires in the United States have increased their total net worth $637 billion during the COVID-19 pandemic so far.
At the same time, more than 40 million Americans filed for unemployment. With tens of millions of Americans out of a paycheck and the stock market plummeting by 37% in March, how is it that the rich have continued getting richer?
This isn’t the first time billionaires have seen gains while a large portion of Americans were feeling losses. When the housing bubble burst in 2007, home prices fell 21% and roughly 3.1 million homes were foreclosed on in the United States. The stock market plummeted by over 50%. And by the end of 2009, 8.8 million Americans had lost their jobs. And the effects lingered. From 2009 to 2012, the incomes of the bottom 99% grew by only 0.4%, but the income of the top 1% grew by a staggering 31.4% in the same time span. And it all ties back to two things.
First, the government disproportionately gave more aid to banks and corporations. In 2008, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act was signed into law, creating a $700 billion program to purchase devalued assets from banks. This was called the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. Later, President Obama would direct $75 billion in funds from TARP to help reduce interest payments for homeowners. That means homeowners received around 10% of the direct relief that banks and corporations did.
And this leads to reason No. 2. When the stock market bounced back, the unequal bailouts meant that the wealthy still had money on hand to invest and thus profit, while the middle and lower classes did not. In 2008, the Federal Reserve lowered short-term interest rates to near zero. They would remain that low for nearly a decade. This paved the way for a historic bull market on Wall Street that began in 2009 and lasted until March 2020, when the pandemic hit.
In that time, the S&P 500 gained 462%. That means that a $1,000 investment in the S&P 500 at the low point of the financial crisis could have returned roughly $4,620, while someone who could afford a $1 million investment could have pulled in over $4.6 million.
By 2009, the world’s high-net-worth individuals had grown their share of global wealth by 19% to $39 trillion, recouping nearly all of their losses in a single year. That quick recovery and larger share of the world’s wealth enabled them to continue to make money at an exponential rate. In fact, the top 1% captured 95% of the income gains made from 2009 to 2012. And by 2020, the combined wealth of the billionaire class in the United States had increased by over 80%.
Which brings us back to the moment when the coronavirus pandemic rocked the economy. In 2019, the Fed reported that four in 10 Americans didn’t have enough cash in their bank accounts to cover a $400 unexpected expense. And in the first few months of 2020, 40 million Americans found themselves unemployed due to COVID-19. Many small businesses had to close due to lockdowns and social distancing, while others were forced to try to operate with entirely remote staff.
The Small Business Administration made $349 billion available to small businesses with the Paycheck Protection Program. But like in 2008, $243 million of that was snapped up by large, publicly traded corporations, some of which were valued at over $100 million. Even hedge funds submitted claims to try to tap into what they saw as free money. The banks that processed the $349 billion loan program made out very well, booking over $10 billion in fees, according to NPR. The banks charged up to 5% in fees, although there was little or no risk to them, as the loans are guaranteed by the Small Business Administration.
While Americans are scraping over buying toilet paper and necessities, homeschooling their children, caring for sick family members or just trying to make it through the day, the uber-wealthy have taken to their yachts and private jets.
On March 16, 2020, just five days after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, the Dow suffered the worst single-day points drop in its history. But by June 4, seven of the world’s richest people had seen their fortunes increase by over 50%. Part of what made this possible was a stock-market rebound fueled both by the Paycheck Protection Program and actions by the Fed. Again, the Fed lowered short-term interest rates for banks to near 0%, and as before, they have promised to hold those rates low until the economy is on track.
This is a cycle that has happened time and time again. During the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, only 2.5% of the $195 million of relief funds went to Haitian companies. Much of the rest was awarded to DC-based construction companies. And when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005, real-estate developer Joseph Canizaro said the clearing out caused by Katrina represented some “very big opportunities.” Canizaro was selected as part of a panel to develop the Bring New Orleans Back plan, part of which put a stop on reconstruction of low-income neighborhoods until the residents returned. Of course, residents couldn’t return to their destroyed homes, and many were foreclosed on, paving the way for others to buy those properties and develop them.
When the time did come to rebuild New Orleans, the engineering and construction company KBR received no-bid contracts from the federal government for tens of millions of dollars. KBR received $31 billion in contracts from the government between 2001 and 2010. Vice President Dick Cheney served as CEO of KBR’s parent company, Halliburton, for the five years leading up to his two terms in office.
Combined with their immense investing and purchasing power, billionaires have had government resources in addition to their own resources to profit from during economic upheavals. And wealth-friendly tax laws and loopholes then keep those billionaires at the top. Legal structures such as limited liability companies protect personal assets from being repossessed to pay the debts from business downturns. As it’s set up today, IRS rules allowed Amazon to pay $0 in taxes two years in a row. When its bill finally came due in 2019, it paid just $162 million, a measly 1.2% of the company’s income that year.
And it’s not just Amazon. Taxes paid by billionaires have decreased 79% since 1980. And those are just the legal avenues that the wealthy take to avoid paying taxes. In 2017, researchers estimated that about 10% of the world’s GDP was stashed in offshore tax havens. A study in 2012 found that as much as $32 trillion was being held offshore by the world’s wealthiest people.
Some suspect that billionaires must engage in unethical practices to have attained that much wealth and believe it is morally wrong for anyone to possess that much money. Many claim that their wealth should be redistributed. There’s another school of thought that billionaires, such as Bezos, should be closely scrutinized. There have been calls for Congress to set up a “Pandemic Profiteering Oversight Committee”—similar to the one established by then U.S. Senator (before he became president) Harry Truman. He created the “Senate Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program,” which was established during World War II to investigate corruption and profiteering.
Bezos is a tremendous business person and possibly one of the greatest entrepreneurs in modern history. However, when almost all physical retail stores (Amazon’s competitors) are ordered to close and people are told to stay at home and the Washington Post (owned by Bezos) reports dire daily warnings about the virus outbreak and how Americans should continue the lockdown, regulators should—at the very least—take a look at what’s happening.
The same is true of other companies, such as Apple, Google and Microsoft, that are starting to resemble near-monopolies. Their raw power, warchests of money and political clout make them almost invincible. Though, we have a history of breaking up companies, like AT&T, that have acquired too much power and control.
In our capitalist system—which has ironically turned socialist in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on the economy—becoming a billionaire is fine. Most of them have worked hard and built companies that offer innovative, useful and important products and services. Instead of attacking the persons, we should look at whether or not the billionaires run companies that are anti-competitive, ruthlessly thwarting rivals and stopping new startups from thriving. These are bigger problems for America compared to someone who just has an awful lot of money.
So, after reviewing all this, what can be done to help level the playing field? A recent report by the Institute for Policy Studies lays out several action items. It suggests forming a pandemic profiteering oversight committee that would go beyond the oversight of federal stimulus money. It also supports the Corporate Transparency Act, which would create stronger regulations to prevent US billionaires from using shell corporations to hide their income. After the House passed the bill in 2019, it was introduced in the Senate but has not been brought to a vote.
Other suggestions include an emergency 10% millionaire income surtax, a stimulus package aimed at funding charities, instituting a wealth tax, and reducing the amount allowed by the gift and estate tax. Last, and perhaps most importantly, the report underscores the need to shut down the global hidden-wealth economy. The US alone is estimated to lose nearly $200 billion in tax revenues to offshore havens each year. That’s roughly three times the amount of all the money budgeted for the Department of Education in 2021.
Changes like the ideas above are global in scale and require political cooperation to become reality. If the relationship between wealth and income inequality are ever going to change, it’s going to require all of us.’
wealthygorilla.com/top-20-richest-people-world, “The 25 Richest People in the World 2020,” By Dan Western; http://www.moneytaskforce.com/money/richest-people-in-the-world, “The Top 13 Richest People in the World of all Time,” By Scott Langdon; businessinsider.com, “How billionaires saw their net worth increase by half a trillion dollars during the pandemic,” By Hiatt Woods; forbes.com, “Billionaires Are Getting Richer During The COVID-19 Pandemic While Most Americans Suffer,” By Jack Kelly; usatoday.com, “Fact check: The super rich did indeed get richer in early weeks of coronavirus pandemic,” By Molly Stellino;
Today’s rich people’s list may include entrepreneurs, politicians, celebrities, and royals. However, don’t be surprised that the richest people in the world of all time are unfamiliar faces.
In this post, we looked at the wealthiest people who lived, from themedieval world to modern history. Their occupations, sources of wealth, wealth, and nationality were all considered. Continue reading to learn more!
1. Musa 1
Occupation: King of Timbuktu-
Lived: c. 1280 – c.1337
Peak Net Worth: Over $400 billion
Source of wealth: Huge gold and salt deposits
Mansa Musa or Musa 1, the king of Timbuktu, is the richest person who ever lived. He was born into a family blessed with rulers. Mansa Abu-Bakr, his brother, ruled the Malian Empire until 1312. But it was under King Mansa Musa’s reign that the kingdom witnessed massive growth. Besides Timbuktu, Mansa successfully annexed approximately 24 cities.
Mansa’s control over a vast landmass gave him access to wealth so huge that historians struggled to estimate how rich the monarch was. According to a historical account by the British Museum, Mansa’s Malian Empire supplied half the gold consumed by the Old World.
Talk gold and salt, Mansa Musa had them in abundance. He was a devoted Muslim and visits Mecca with an entourage comprising of royal entertainers, camel drivers, slaves, and animals meant for food. In total, his entourage included approximately 60,000 men. Mansa Musa’s death marked the end of the Malian empire.
Today, many historians believe Mansa Musa’s richest cannot be accurately evaluated because he was so rich.
2. Akbar the Great
Occupation: Mughal Emperor
Lived: 1542 to 1605
Peak Net Worth: $21 trillion
Source of wealth: Captured diverse economically viable territories and led an empire with 25% of global GDP
The Emperor, Akbar the great, also known as Akbar 1, was the wealthiest and greatest Mughal Emperor of all time. He’s also in the wealthiest people of all-time list for obvious reasons.
Besides his lavish lifestyle, Emperor Akbar had a great passion for art. He patronized stunning artworks and was one of the richest monarchs of the medieval era. Akbar never showed mercy to individuals who failed to recognize his supremacy. He consolidated the Mughal domain in Indian and conquered numerous economically viable territories, running into thousands of square miles.
One of the territories conquered is Gujarat, an area with various ports and one that dominated India’s trade with the Asian continent. During his reign, Akbar controlled approximately one-fourth of global GDP, which is roughly $21 trillion in today’s money.
According to a historical report by the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, India’s GDP per capita under Akbar’s reign was more than Germany, America, France, and Japan.
3. Joseph Stalin
Occupation: Soviet politician
Lived: 1878 – 1953
Peak Net Worth: $7.5 trillion
Source of wealth: Controlled 9.6% of global GDP while in power
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin, nicknamed “Koba,” was a dreadful Soviet Union dictator and a victorious wartime leader. Stalin controlled one of the biggest global economies in his time. From 1941 to 1953, Joseph Stalin was the Soviet Union State’s premier. He dictatorially ruled and transformed the Soviet Union into a world power.
Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union, in the 1950s, was responsible for approximately 9.5 percent of global economic output, which in 2014 equates to $7.5 trillion. It was also impossible to differentiate Stalin’s wealth from that of the USSR.
A University of Alabama professor, George O. Liber, pointed out that the USSR’s money belonged to the country and not Joseph Stalin. Nevertheless, Stalin’s position and power gave him free access to the country’s fortune. He can do whatever he wants with it.
4. Augustus Caesar (Gaius Octavius)
Occupation: Roman Emperor
Lived: 63BC – 14AD
Peak Net Worth: $4.63 trillion
Source of wealth: Controlled 25 to 30 percent of global GDP in his time.
Augustus Caesar, Julius Caesar’s adopted son, was the first Roman emperor. Augustus was the most successful emperor in the history of the Roman Empire. He ruled over the vast empire from 27 BC until his demise in 14 AD
Augustus was so rich and powerful that at some point, he owned Egypt. Thanks to his unlimited efficiency and skill, the Greco-Roman world experienced durable prosperity and peace.
Augustus’ Roman Empire accounted for approximately 25 to 30 percent of global economic output, a massive fortune in today’s money. Ian Morris, a notable Stanford University history professor, stated that Augustus’s wealth was one-fifth of the Roman Empire’s total economic output, which in today’s money is over $4.7 trillion.
The Pax Romana, which refers to the peace Emperor Augustus created and maintained under his rulership, made the Roman Empire’s economy flourish.
5. King Solomon
Occupation: King of Israel
Lived: c.990 – c.931
Peak Net Worth: $2.2 trillion
Source of wealth: Taxes, trade, gifts and tributes from other countries
The United Kingdom of Israel’s third and last ruler, King Solomon, is revered in Christianity for his wisdom. According to the Bible, Solomon’s wisdom came from God. He offered sacrifices to God, who appeared in his dream and asked him to request for anything. The Bible recorded that Solomon didn’t request for riches from God but wisdom to lead His people.
King Solomon ruled over Israel for 40 years and pocketed 25 tons of gold as taxes annually, which is a huge amount in today’s money. The biblical ruler amassed great wealth from taxes, trade, gifts, and tributes. According to Hebrew Scriptures, “King Solomon made gold and silver as common as stones in Jerusalem.”
6. John D. Rockefeller, Sr.
Country: United States of America
Occupation: American Business Magnate
Lived: 1839 – 1937
Peak Net Worth: $367 billion
Source of wealth: Oil business, founder of Standard Oil.
John Davison Rockefeller Sr. was an American businessman that doesn’t need much introduction. He’s regarded as the richest man in the history of the country. John D. Rockefeller Sr. established Standard Oil, a company that got incorporated in 1870. History recounts that he was a diligent and careful businessman, who never took unnecessary business risks.
John D. Rockefeller sensed a huge opportunity in the US oil business in the 1860s and took advantage of it. The industrialist built his first oil refinery in 1863, near Cleveland.
John Davison Rockefeller’s Standard Oil business flourished, thanks to a favorable industry and economic condition. He bought over competitors and controlled 90 percent of the United States oil business back then. According to an economist, Peter Bernstein, John D Rockefeller’s fortune in today’s money is worth $367 billion.
7. Andrew Carnegie
Country: United States
Occupation: Business magnate
Lived: 1835 – 1919
Peak Net Worth: $337 billion
Source of wealth: Invested in the steel industry, and owns Carnegie Steel Company
Andrew Carnegie was another mega-rich American businessman. He was born in Scotland in 1835. In 1848, Carnegie’s family migrated to the United States of America in search of greener pastures.
Andrew Carnegie went from rags to riches. That was his story. While in the US, he worked with the railroad and invested money in oil and iron businesses. Andrew Carnegie started reaping the fruit of his labor and investments in his early 30s.
Andrew Carnegie ventured into the steel business, where fortune smiled on him. He led the American steel industry expansion in the late 19th century. In 1901, he sold the Carnegie Steel Company to JP Morgan for $480 million, and 90 percent of his fortune went to charities. In today’s money, Carnegie is worth $337 billion.
8. Tsar Nicholas II of Russia
Lived: 1868 – 1918
Peak Net Worth: $300 billion
Source of wealth: An emperor who had access to his kingdom’s fortune.
Crowned in 1894, Tsar Nicholas II was Russia’s last emperor. He was the country’s last Tsar, under the Romanov reign. The emperor ruled Russia from 1894 to 1917 and was later executed by his subjects. Tsar Nicholas II made several bad decisions that plunged citizens, including Russian soldiers, into severe hardship.
Tsar Nicholas II had complete access to his kingdom’s coffers and does whatever he pleases with the fortune. His access to Russia’s fortune made him one of the richest Emperors at the time. A 1916 evaluation of Tsar Nicholas II’s fortune revealed how rich the emperor was back then. And in today’s money, Tsar Nicholas II is worth $300 billion.
9. Jakob Fugger
Occupation: German Merchant
Lived: 1459 – 1525
Peak Net Worth: $277 billion
Source of wealth: Merchant, banker and mining pioneer
Dubbed “Fugger the rich,” Jakob Fugger was the wealthiest and most influential person in Renaissance Europe. Even after Fugger’s death, his influence in royal affairs continued to shape the continent’s history for years.
Jakob Fugger was a banker and mining pioneer, who signed mouthwatering financial contracts with the then Holy Roman Empire. Thanks to these lucrative contracts, he received land holdings and profitable concessions in trade and mining. In today’s money, Jakob Fugger is worth $277 billion.
10. William the Conqueror
Occupation: King of England
Lived: 1028 – 1087
Peak Net Worth: $228 billion
Source of wealth: Lands and treasures seized from territories conquered
Crowned in December 1066, William the conqueror, England’s first Norman ruler, was a no-nonsense monarch. He imposed his will on the people and deals with anyone who dares to stand in his way.
William invaded England in 1066 and greatly influenced the course of the country’s history. His childhood days were marred with challenges, but that didn’t derail William’s aspirations. Today, he’s the most influential monarch in British history.
William seized many economically viable lands and treasures from Sussex to Yorkshire. Through these means, he amassed a considerable fortune that worth $228 billion in today’s money.
11. Muammar Gaddafi
Occupation: Libyan politician and former Prime Minister of Libya
Lived: 1942 – 2011
Peak Net Worth: $200 billion
Source of wealth: involved in several shady investments and looted Libya’s treasury.
Muammar Gaddafi became Libya’s prime minister, following a bloody coup organized against King Idris I in 1969. He led a revolutionary group comprising of young military officers and successfully ousted the then Western-backed monarch, Idris.
Gaddafi ruled Libya as an authoritarian dictator for over 40 years before being deposed by dissidents supported by NATO troops. Gaddafi got killed in Sirte, his hometown, on October 20, 2011.
Following Gaddafi’s death in 2011, officials in the country discovered that he stashed over $200 billion in diverse bank accounts. The Libyan dictator got involved in several shady real estate and investment deals.
While in power, Gaddafi looted billions of dollars from Libya’s colossal oil revenue. He ruled like medieval monarchs who treated their kingdoms’ treasures as theirs.
12. Henry Ford
Country: United States of America
Occupation: American industrialist and business magnate
Lived: 1863 – 1947
Peak Net Worth: $200 billion
Source of wealth: Founder of Ford Motor Company
Henry Ford is the founder and CEO of Ford Motor Company. He didn’t invent automobiles but built better cars. Henry Ford transformed the automobile industry. In 1908, he created the Model T and developed the assembly line system of automobile production, which changed the automobile industry for good.
Henry Ford developed and sold millions of vehicles, thanks to his assembly line system of vehicle production. Over a million cars were sold in 1920 by the world-famous businessman. Ford Motor Company was hugely profitable, and in today’s money, Henry Ford should worth $200 billion.
13. Bill Gates
Country: United States of America
Occupation: American computer programmer and entrepreneur
Lived: 1955 – present
Peak Net Worth: $144 billion
Source of wealth:
William Henry Gates III, also known as Bill Gates Sr., was the richest man in modern history for several years. He’s a computer programmer and co-founder of Microsoft.
Bill Gates and Paul Allen, his childhood friend, founded Microsoft in 1975. In 1994, Bill Gates was crowned the richest man in the United States of America. He was 38 years and worth $9.35 billion then.
Today, the Microsoft Co-founder is worth over $144 billion.
25. Charles Koch
Net Worth: $44.9 Billion
Charles Koch is an American businessman and philanthropist.
Koch is the co-owner and CEO of Koch industries. Koch Industries now includes process and pollution control equipment and technologies; polymers and fibers; minerals; fertilizers; commodity trading and services; forest and consumer products; and ranching.
Koch made this year’s list of the richest people, and with an impressive net worth of $44.9 billion!
24. Phil Knight
Net Worth: $45.5 Billion
Phil Knight is an American business magnate and philanthropist. Knight co-founded Nike Inc, and currently serves as chairman of the company. We’re all aware of who Nike are, even when we’re only shown the logo.
As of 2020, Phil Knight’s net worth is estimated to be $45.5 billion, making him the 24th richest person in the world.
23. Daniel Gilbert
Net Worth: $47.6 Billion
Daniel Gilbert is an American businessman, investor, and philanthropist. Gilbert is the cofounder of Quicken Loans and also founder of Rock Ventures. He also owns the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers team.
As of 2020, Daniel Gilbert’s net worth is estimated to be $47.6 billion.
22. Jack Ma
Net Worth: $50.3 Billion
Jack Ma is the founder of Alibaba, and although he’s been one of the richest people in Asia for several years, he’s only just made it onto the list of the richest people in the world this year.
Jack was rejected from multiple jobs, including KFC when it was first introduced to China. Today, Jack Ma’s net worth is estimated to be $50.3 billion, which put him 4 spots lower on the list this year, at 22nd.
“A leader should have higher grit and tenacity, and be able to endure what the employees can’t.” – Jack Ma
21. Carlos Slim Helu
Net Worth: $52.1 Billion
Carlos Slim Helu is a Mexican businessman and investor; owner of the conglomerate ‘Grupo Carso’. The conglomerate’s portfolio consists of brands in many different industries, such as health care, media, energy, real estate and retail.
Carlos is 21st on this list of the richest people in the world, with a net worth of $51.2 billion. His net worth has taken a huge hit recently, by about $13 billion, dropping him nine places on the list.
20. Zhong Shanshan
Net Worth: $52.8 Billion
Zhong Shanshan is the chairman of the Chinese water-beverage company, Nongfu Spring. The recent jump int he company’s stock price has launched Shanshan onto this list.
As of 2020, Zhong Shanshan’s net worth is estimated to be $52.8 billion.
19. Michael Bloomberg
Net Worth: $54.9 Billion
Michael Bloomberg is an American entrepreneur and politician. Bloomberg is the founder and CEO of Bloomberg L.P, the financial data and media company. Bloomberg is now 74 years old and one of the richest people in the world. Michael Bloomberg added another $14 billion to his net worth earlier this year, which caused him to move up to 11th on this list. However, he’s one of the only individuals on this list who’s net worth hasn’t increased in Q2 and Q3 of 2020; which has pushed him down to 19th.
As of 2020, Michael Bloomberg’s net worth is now estimated at $54.9 billion.
18. Ma Huateng
Net Worth: $57.3 Billion
Ma Huateng is a Chinese business magnate, investor, philanthropist, engineer, internet and technology entrepreneur. He’s also the founder of Tencent, which is the most valuable company in Asia.
Huateng is another of the richest in Asia, who made it on this list for the first time last year, and now appears 18th with an estimated net worth of $57.3 billion in 2020.
17. MacKenzie Bezos
Net Worth: $59 Billion
MacKenzie Bezos is an American novelist and philanthropist. She was the wife of Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon. After their divorce, MacKenzie received a 4% stake in Amazon, which was worth about $35 billion at the time.
As of 2020, MacKenzie Bezos’ net worth is estimated to be $59 billion.
16. S. Robson Walton
Net Worth: $63.9 Billion
Rob Walton is the eldest son of Sam Walton, and served as the chairman for Walmart, after his father’s death, up until 2015.
Further more, he briefly surpassed his brother Jim recently on this list of the richest people in the world. However, he’s now fallen back to his original
15. Jim Walton
Net Worth: $64.2 Billion
Jim Walton is the son of Sam Walton, who was the founder of the world’s largest retail chain, ‘Walmart’. He is on the Walmart board of directors, and CEO of his own company, Arvest Bank.
14. Alice Walton
Net Worth: $64.5 Billion
Alice Walton is the daughter of Sam Walton, and heiress to the Walmart fortune. She founded the Llama Company in 1988, but it has since closed down.
Today, Alice Walton’s net worth is estimated to be $64.5 billion, making her the 14th richest person in the world, and the 2nd richest woman in the world.
“I know the price of lettuce. You need to understand price and value. You buy the best lettuce you can at the best price you can.” – Alice Walton
13. Amancio Ortega
Net Worth: $65.9 Billion
Amancio Ortega is a Spanish entrepreneur and founder of the Inditex fashion group. Inditex owns Zara, and Zara is one of the most popular clothing chains worldwide. Ortega was once the 5th richest man in the world, however he’s recently lost almost $20 billion of it, or 25%, which is one of the biggest losses in 2020 thus far.
As of 2020, Amancio Ortega’s net worth is estimated to be $65.9 billion.
12. Sergey Brin
Net Worth: $66 Billion
Sergey Brin and Larry Page co-founded Google back in 1998, in just a small simple garage. The duo have taken Google to the top, putting Sergey Brin a couple of spots behind Page in this list of the richest people worldwide.
As of 2020, Sergey Brin’s net worth is roughly $66 billion.
11. Francoise Bettencourt Meyers
Net Worth: $66.3 Billion
Francoise Bettencourt Meyers became the reigning L’Oreal heiress when her mother, Liliane Bettencourt, passed away in 2017. She now runs the holding company as chairwoman, with her family owning 33% of L’Oreal.
As of 2020, Francoise Bettencourt Meyers’ net worth is estimated to be $66.3 billion, which makes her the richest woman in the world.
10. Larry Page
Net Worth: $67.9 Billion
Google, no doubt, has become the most successful search engine in the world, and the company has gone on to make various acquisitions such as YouTube. Google’s success has made Larry Page one of the richest people in the world.
9. Steve Ballmer
Net Worth: $70.1 Billion
Steve Ballmer is the current owner of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, and he is also the former CEO of Microsoft. As of 2020, Steve Ballmer’s net worth is estimated at $70.1 billion, making him the 9th richest person in the world.
8. Larry Ellison
Net Worth: $74.9 Billion
Larry Ellison is the co-founder of the Oracle Corporation, and he was also the company’s CEO until September 2014. Over the years, Oracle has become an incredibly successful tech company, now being 39 years old and employing over 136,000 people.
Larry Ellison is 8th on this list of the richest people in the world, with a net worth of $74.9 billion.
7. Elon Musk
Net Worth: $79.4 Billion
Elon Reeve Musk FRS is a South-African born, Canadian/American engineer, industrial designer and tech entrepreneur. If you’re excited about the future of the world, you’ll probably have seen Musk everywhere. Musk founded PayPal, and is also the founder of Tesla, Space-X, The Boring Company, and Neuralink.
As of 2020, Elon Musk’s net worth is estimated to be $79.4 billion, which means his net worth has more than doubled this year, after a ridiculous jump in Tesla stock prices between April and August.
Musk began the year as the 24th richest person worldwide, and he’s now 7th.
6. Warren Buffett
Net Worth: $82.3 Billion
Warren Buffett is an American entrepreneur and investor, and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. Buffett is the most successful investor worldwide, and millions of other traders look up to him because of his success.
Warren Buffett is the 6th richest man in the world, with an incredible net worth of $82.3 billion. However, despite this fact, Buffett still lives in the home he purchased back when he didn’t even know what a billion dollars looked like.
What a humble guy!
“I will tell you how to become rich. Close the doors. Be fearful when others are greedy. Be greedy when others are fearful.” – Warren Buffett
5. Mukesh Ambani
Net Worth: $88.9 Billion
Mukesh Ambani is an Indian business magnate, currently chairman, managing director and largest shareholder of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL). Ambani has been the richest man in Asia for a while now, and this year, he’s moving up on the list of the richest worldwide!
As of 2020, Mukesh Ambani’s net worth is $88.9 billion.
“Today I see a billion people as a billion potential consumers, an opportunity to generate value for them and to make a return for myself” – Mukesh Ambani
4. Mark Zuckerberg
Net Worth: $98 Billion
We all know Mark Zuckerberg as the founder of Facebook. Facebook has become the most popular and most valuable social media company in the world. And it all started in Mark’s dorm room at Harvard University.
Mark Zuckerberg has regained the major net worth loss he suffered after the Cambridge Analytica data scandal and various other issues causing the Facebook stock prices to fall
Mark Zuckerberg is now the 4th richest man in the world, with an estimated net worth of $98 billion.
“When you give everyone a voice and give people power, the system usually ends up in a really good place. So, what we view our role as, is giving people that power.” – Mark Zuckerberg
3. Bill Gates
Net Worth: $115 Billion
Bill Gates is the founder of Microsoft, and was the richest man in the world for several years running.
Gates founded Microsoft in 1975 with Paul Allen, and has since become the largest PC software company worldwide.
Gates’ net worth has been pretty stagnant since he reached the $100 billion mark. He’s now dropped another place to be the 3rd richest man in the world.
As of 2020, Bill Gates’ net worth is estimated to be $115 billion.
“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” – Bill Gates
2. Bernard Arnault
Net Worth: $119.4 Billion
Bernard Arnault is the CEO of LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey).
Ultimately, the company was formed from merging the two businesses together. Louis Vuitton is the very successful luxury fashion brand, and Moet Hennessey is the merged champagne and cognac manufacturers.
Bernard has been making serious movements up this list in the past year. In fact, at the beginning of 2017, he was at 14th. Now, almost 4 years later, he’s placed at 2nd on the list of the 25 richest people on earth in 2020.
1. Jeff Bezos
Net Worth: $183.8 Billion
Jeff Bezos is the founder of Amazon, one of the biggest and most popular companies on the web. Amazon started as a simple online bookstore in Jeff’s bedroom, and the initial sales were slow.
In 2020, Jeff Bezos has become the richest man in the world, after adding a whopping $40 billion to his net worth last couple of years! Amazon is making major moves, after recently acquiring Wholefoods, launching drone shipping and a bunch of other strong ideas. Bezos recently divorced his wife MacKenzie; after which she received 4% of Amazon, which is worth billions, and yet it still hasn’t knocked him off the top spot.
Jeff Bezos is the first man ever to reach not just the $100 billion mark, but briefly the $200 billion mark, which is just insane. Many believe he’ll become the world’s first trillionaire.
Here is another list of the richest people of all time.
The Richest People Of All Time, And Their Obnoxious Fortunes
When payday rolls around at the end of a long, hard month of work, we might feel pretty rich — even if it’s just momentarily. But for most of us, the reality is we’re not actually that well off — especially when you compare it to what these 21 men managed to earn in their lifetime. Let’s just say you’d probably forget about that monthly paycheck with billions or trillions in the bank.
21. Richard FitzAlan, 10th Earl of Arundel
Richard FitzAlan held many different titles. As a nobleman, he was the 10th Earl of Arundel and the 8th Earl of Surrey. In 1345, and in the midst of his storied medieval military career, he became the Admiral of the Western Fleet. FitzAlan was also married twice and a father to at least seven children. Thankfully, he had more than enough money to support them all!
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FitzAlan died in January 1376 after spending his lifetime accruing a £60,000 all-cash fortune — an impressive sum for the 14th century. In fact, it was enough of an inheritance for his sons, the future Earls of Arundel, to also become some of the world’s wealthiest men ever! Today, FitzAlan’s savings would be worth about $108 billion.
20. Bill Gates
Bill Gates got into Harvard, but he didn’t stay long. Instead, he decided to drop out and start his own business. That business would be Microsoft, which is now the biggest PC software enterprise in the world. Gates served as Microsoft’s CEO until January of 2000 — although he still provides advice to those running the company now.
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Between 1995 and 2017, Gates held the number one spot on Forbes’ list of the world’s richest people in all but four of those years. At the time of writing, August 2022, he’s got an impressive $114.2 billion to his name. And amazingly, he has already donated a staggering $35.8 billion in his Microsoft stock to the eponymous charitable foundation he founded with his ex-wife.
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19. Warren Buffett
As a kid, Warren Buffett was into an unusual subject for someone of his age: investing. At 19, he graduated from the University of Nebraska before studying at Columbia Business School and then enrolling at the New York Institute of Finance. Since 1970 he has made a mountain of cash through investments as the CEO and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway.
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Buffett stands as the fifth-richest man in the world, just behind Gates on the 2022 Forbes list. He has saved up an impressive $118 billion — but he’s also well known for living frugally in spite of his extra-cushy bank account. He has also promised to give away 99 percent of his fortune, funneling funds to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Heshen quickly rose through the ranks as an official of the Qing dynasty that ruled over China, as the Qianlong Emperor took a shine to him. He jumped from vice-president of the Ministry of Revenue to Grand Councillor, before then being made minister of the Imperial Household Department. He even received the right to ride around the imperial palace grounds — known as the Forbidden City — on a horse. This was an honor only typically bestowed on Imperial China’s most high-ranking elderly officials.
It turned out that from his various imperial posts, Heshen had been able to siphon tax revenues into his personal accounts. By 1799 and the time of his death, it came to light just how corrupt Heshen had become. It seems he had managed to squirrel away a personal fortune that would be worth some $132 billion nowadays.
17. Jeff Bezos
Princeton graduate Jeff Bezos decided in 1993 that he wanted to start an online bookstore. So, while on a trip from New York City to Seattle, he drew up a business plan. He warned investors — including his parents, who reportedly gave him $300,000 — that his business had a 70 percent chance of going bankrupt or otherwise failing.
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That business was Amazon, and Bezos didn’t go bankrupt — he became one of the world’s richest living men. According to Forbes, Bezos has around $168 billion in his pocket. And for four years he sat at the top of the magazine’s billionaire list before another well-known business tycoon pipped him to the post.
16. John Jacob Astor
Born in Germany, John Jacob Astor moved to America after the Revolutionary War and became the country’s first multimillionaire. Astor’s fortune came from his monopoly in the fur trade, but by 1830 interest in fur had waned. So he changed course and started investing in real estate in New York City.
John Wesley Jarvis/Wikimedia Commons
Astor had racked up $20 million by the time he died — a figure equivalent to around $168 billion today. But he couldn’t have gotten that far without his wife Sarah Cox Todd, who initially only brought a mere $300 to their union. What she lacked in wealth she made up for in great business judgment, according to her husband. He even claimed that she helped with his company because she had better sense than the majority of merchants.
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15. Cornelius Vanderbilt
Cornelius Vanderbilt didn’t have all that much while growing up, and he never got a great education. But he still worked his way up the corporate ladder to hold leadership roles within the inland water trade. He then parlayed his earnings into the railroad industry, eventually becoming the owner of the New York Central Railroad.
Mathew Brady/Wikimedia Commons
Vanderbilt remains not only one of the wealthiest Americans ever, but one of the richest men to have ever lived. Adjusted with today’s inflation rates, he grew his net worth to approximately $185 billion before he died in 1877. He and his family used their money and influence for some good — he provided the funding to found Nashville’s Vanderbilt University, for one.
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14. Henry Ford
It’s a common misconception that Henry Ford invented the automobile or the assembly line. Really, he just utilized the assembly line to make cars more affordable for numerous Americans. The Model T changed the face of transportation in America, of course. But Ford also revolutionized the business world, churning out an affordable product while still paying his workers a good wage.
In recent years, the Ford Motor Company has had its fair share of ups and downs, thanks in part to an ever-changing car market. But during the founding Ford’s tenure, the business was wildly successful. It’s no surprise Ford himself raked in a personal fortune valued at around $200 billion today!
13. William the Conqueror
William the Conqueror became Duke of Normandy in 1035, but he wanted to make a land grab for England. To do so, he first had to wait until his control of Normandy was safe, before finally going for England. In 1066 he became the first-ever Norman to act as King of England — the last foreign invader to take the English crown.
The rest of William the Conqueror’s reign was spent trying to maintain control of the throne he had nabbed. But he did also find the time to build some castles, reconfigure the English clergy, and bring Norman nobility to England. And even with all this on his plate, he still managed to amass a fortune valued at $209 billion today. Men can multitask, after all!
12th century/Wikimedia Commons
12. Muammar Gaddafi
As a member of the Libyan military, Muammar Gaddafi defected and formed his own cell, overthrowing the country’s monarch in 1969. With that, he became the figurehead of Libyan politics for the next four decades. Some lauded him for his anti-imperialist beliefs and the improvements he brought to his people’s day-to-day lives. Others condemned him as a dictator who violated human rights and funded terrorism around the world. Whatever people thought, there was no denying that what he did made him extremely wealthy.
While in power Gaddafi nationalized Libya’s oil reserves, which boosted state revenues. And as it turned out, he had also skimmed some of this money from the top. In 2011 — the year that Gaddafi died — officials revealed that the former leader had funneled Libyan funds into secret accounts, real estate deals, and sketchy investments. Altogether, it equaled a hidden fortune of about $212 billion.
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11. Elon Musk
PayPal. Tesla. SpaceX. These are just a few of the companies founded by Elon Musk. And there are plenty more that you probably won’t have even heard of. So it’s hardly surprising that in 2022, Musk finally made it to the top spot on the Forbes list of the wealthiest people in the world, kicking Bezos down to second place!
The business tycoon’s wealth has grown exponentially over the last few years. Amazingly, it was only a few years ago that Musk was all the way down at position 31 on Forbes‘ list. The approximately $219 billion in his bank account has seen him slide up 30 places. And no one can deny that it’s pretty impressive!
10. Osman Ali Khan
His Exalted Highness Osman Ali Khan, the Nizam of Hyderabad, ruled over his princely state from 1911 until India annexed it in 1948. During that time, he made lots of additions to the state’s capital city. These include a university, a hospital, and government buildings that are still in use today.
While Osman Ali Khan served as the absolute leader of Hyderabad, some believed that he was also the world’s richest man. And even after the Indian government annexed his state and seized the majority of his belongings, he still had $1 billion to his name. At his peak, though, His Exalted Highness was likely worth a staggering $230 billion, as adjusted for inflation.
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9. Jakob Fugger
Jakob Fugger didn’t become Europe’s richest man in the early 1500s by investing his time and energy into a single industry. While he and his family made the majority of their wealth from the textile trade, his brothers did dabble in a bit of banking. And their company also branched out into the mining trade, pulling silver, copper, quicksilver, and cinnabar from the earth.
Eventually, Fugger earned the nickname “Jakob the Rich,” and deservedly so — his family’s business helped him to build a personal net worth of approximately $277 billion in today’s money. Fugger used his affluence to influence continental politics. He even bankrolled the campaigns of both Maximilian I and Spanish King Charles V, both of whom became Holy Roman Emperor.
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8. Tsar Nicholas II of Russia
History doesn’t remember Tsar Nicholas II of Russia in a good light. He earned nicknames such as Bloody Nicholas and Vile Nicholas because of the often violent acts he carried out in power. His reign ended in a similar fashion after the Russian people revolted in 1917. Nicholas and his family were executed in 1918.
Much political unrest in Russia came from Tsar Nicholas II’s policies. The working class, for one, suffered from terrible conditions for work and poor treatment from the upper classes. And the Tsar seemingly made no effort to redistribute his wealth to help his subjects. Meanwhile, his personal fortune tallied up to some $300 billion.
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7. Andrew Carnegie
As the saying goes, “Strike while the iron’s hot.” Andrew Carnegie must’ve heard that somewhere because he invested in the American steel industry just as it started to boom. But he didn’t just live out his life as a steel-industry magnate; he was a passionate philanthropist who encouraged other rich people to give back, too.
Of course, Carnegie didn’t just implore others to give — he showed them how. In just under two decades, he donated an astounding $350 million of his fortune to universities, charities, and other do-good foundations. That figure represented about 90 percent of Carnegie’s money, which would have been valued at about $309 billion today.
6. John D. Rockefeller
Many teenagers get part-time jobs, perhaps to save for college or pay for their first car. But John D. Rockefeller — who became an assistant bookkeeper at just 16 — managed to kick-start his future career in business. By age 20 he was involved in a number of business ventures, eventually narrowing his focus to oil refining and establishing the Standard Oil Company in 1870.
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Between $300 and $400 billion
Rockefeller struck gold by starting his company when he did. Kerosene and gas became vital elements in the American lifestyle, whether they were being used to light lamps or fuel cars. By September 29, 1916, Rockefeller was credited as the first-ever individual to rack up a net worth of $1 billion. And by the time he died in 1937, he was worth somewhere between $300 and $400 billion, a figure adjusted with modern inflation rates.
5. Mansa Musa I of Mali
The word “mansa” means “sultan,” “emperor,” or “conqueror” in English. Musa I of Mali was the tenth person to hold the title from the years 1312 to 1337. He reigned over the Mali Empire’s expansive territory, which today would have encompassed Mali and a southern stretch of Mauritania.
The BBC once described Mansa Musa I of Mali as “the richest man of all time.” The land over which he ruled just so happened to contain half of the world’s entire supply of gold. He traded it with merchants as far away as Egypt and Italy, racking up a fortune estimated to be about $415 billion in today’s dollars.
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4. King Solomon of Israel
The Hebrew Bible, Quran, Old Testament, and Hadiths all contain stories of King Solomon of Israel, who took the throne after his father King David. Solomon’s reign is thought to have lasted from 970 to 931 B.C. And according to all of the holy books, he ruled over Israel with great wisdom.
King Solomon racked up unbelievable wealth as Israel’s monarch. For starters, legend has it that he earned 25 tons of gold per year of his nearly four-decade reign. This alone would be worth billions today, but he added to his fortune through taxes and trade money. And that’s why some estimate that he would have been worth $2.2 trillion in the present day!
The Providence Lithograph/Wikimedia Commons Company.
Augustus served as the first emperor of the Roman Empire, leading his people from 27 B.C. until he died in 14 A.D. During that time, he cemented his place in history as an effective yet peaceful leader. Many actually refer to his time in charge as Pax Romana, which is Latin for “Roman Peace.” This is because of the relative calm he brought to his empire.
While he reigned over Rome, Augustus drew his fortune directly from the empire’s economy — about 20 percent of that money went into the emperor’s pocket. He also had a sprawling territory, even ruling over all of Egypt at one point. Therefore, at his peak, it’s estimated Augustus would’ve been worth about an eye-watering $4.63 trillion in today’s money.
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2. Emperor Shenzong of Song
From 1067 to 1085, Emperor Shenzong of Song ruled over China as the sixth leader of the Song dynasty. He employed statesman and economist Wang Anshi as his chancellor, a pivotal choice during his reign. Wang’s policies helped Chinese peasants and those out of work. In fact, some even consider Song’s China to be the predecessor of the modern welfare state.
As the Emperor of China, Shenzong of Song controlled 30 percent of the world’s gross domestic product during his reign. So essentially he had a net worth of more than $30 trillion while he ruled over his empire. And although he did collect taxes from his people, he also helped them. In fact, his period in charge is often called the Peaceful Prosperity era because of this.
Qing dynasty royal painters/Wikimedia Commons
1. Genghis Khan
As the first ruler of the Mongol Empire, Genghis Khan laid the foundation for what would become the largest contiguous land empire ever. He did this by bringing together nomadic tribes dotting Northeast Asia. Together, they conquered most of Eurasia in Genghis Khan’s punishing way. Many consider him a genocidal leader because of his brutality.
The vast expanse of territory conquered by Genghis Khan would have given him a tremendous amount of wealth today. During his reign, he acquired a staggering 12 million square miles — no ruler in history has ever led such a successful land grab. And in this day and age, all that space would be worth hundreds of trillions of dollars. Khan’s approximate net worth was a whopping $120 trillion!
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