A Tale of Two Worlds: Fortunes of Planet’s Wealthiest Swelled $1,800,000,000,000 in 2020 (That’s Trillion!)
The 500 richest people on planet Earth saw a meteoric rise in their collective wealth in 2020, accumulating an additional $1.8 trillion dollars in 2020, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
It was the largest jump in the eight-year history of Bloomberg’s tracking, the news outlet pointed out.
That figure would be plenty dizzying during normal times. But in a year defined by a global pandemic – which has decimated national economies and killed more than 1.8 million people – it is absolutely stupifying.
Unsurprisingly, seven of the top ten live in the United States, which despite being the richest country in the history of civilization has done the least to help its financially desperate and emotionally devastated population.
Tesla Chairman Elon Musk, the second-richest person in the world with a net worth of $170 billion, saw the biggest increase – $142 billion, thanks to the soaring value of Tesla, now estimated at $650 billion.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos the richest person on the planet with a net worth of $190 billion dollars, “earned” $75.4 billion in 2020. And that was after he and his ex-wife MacKenzie got divorced in 2019, splitting their assets.
MacKenzie, who reclaimed her maiden name Scott, gave away $6 billion in 2020, and her net worth sits at $58.5 billion, making her the third-richest woman in the world.
The Walton family of Walmart fame saw a collective gain of $33.47 billion – a nauseatingly high number considering how many of their employees are forced to accept government aid because their hourly wages are so insultingly low.
Bloomberg estimates the Waltons’ collective family fortune to be $233 billion.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates, the third-richest man on Earth, saw his net worth jump by $18.6 billion to $132 billion. He and his wife Melinda, however, have given away billions to philanthropic endeavors over the last three decades through their internationally renowned charity, the Gates Foundation.
Mark Zuckerberg, the founding father of Facebook, amassed $25.2 billion in 2020, landing him in the fifth slot on the list of the world’s richest people with a net worth of $104,000,000,000.
“The concentration of wealth at the very top “hits a painful nerve for the millions of people who have lost loved ones and experienced declines in their health, wealth and livelihoods,” Chuck Collins, the director of the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies, remarked in a statement to Bloomberg. “Worse,” Collins added, “it undermines any sense that we are ‘in this together'” and “the solidarity required to weather the difficult months ahead.”