The world’s 500 wealthiest people got $1 trillion richer in 2017 The have and have not's is in full swing
The world’s richest people got a whopping $1 trillion richer in 2017, according to a new report from Bloomberg News. That’s about four times the gains they made last year.
That data comes courtesy of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which tracks and ranks the world’s 500 richest people. It attributes much of the economic growth to the stock market’s record-high year. (The MSCI World and Standard & Poor’s 500 indexes grew about 20 percent this year.) Jeffrey P. Bezos, founder of Amazon, clocked in as the world’s richest person, gaining $34.2 billion in wealth. (Bezos owns The Washington Post.) Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates came in at No. 2. Bezos is worth about $99.6 billion, according to Bloomberg. Gates is valued at $91.3 billion.
China’s 1 percent did particularly well. There are 38 Chinese billionaires on the Bloomberg index, and they gained a combined $177 billion this year. That 65 percent jump was the largest for any of the 49 countries represented. Hui Ka Yan, founder of China Evergrande Group, a property developer, saw his personal bank accounts swell by $25.9 billion, a 350 percent jump from last year. Russia’s 27 richest residents did well, too, adding $29 billion to grow to $275 billion, despite the international economic sanctions imposed after President Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea in 2014.
Global losers included Alwaleed bin Talal, the richest person in Saudi Arabia, whose fortune dropped $1.9 billion to $17.8 billion after he was arrested as part of a corruption crackdown by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Several other Saudi royals, government officials and business leaders were scooped up, as well.
The 2017 “World Inequality Report” (compiled by economists such as Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez) found that the 1 percent reaped 27 percent of the world’s income between 1980 and 2016. The bottom 50 percent, by contrast, got just 12 percent of the pie. In China, the 1 percent has accumulated 15 percent of all income growth since 1980. (About 13 percent flowed to the bottom 50 percent.) In the United States, the bottom half of Americans has captured just 3 percent of growth since 1980. In Russia, the economic assets of the bottom half of the country have shrunk since 1980. Even Europe saw its top 1 percent accumulate 18 percent of growth, while the bottom half gained 14 percent.