Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Billionaires of 2007

Writing about poverty makes me think a lot of world's billionaires. So before I continue the article about poverty, let me share with you that there are 946 billionaires in the whole world.

Here's the list of top twenty from Forbes:
1. Bill Gates, US$56.0 billion, United States
2. Warren Buffett, US$52.0 billion, United States
3. Carlos Slim HelĂș, US$49.0 billion, Mexico
4. Ingvar Kamprad, US$33.0 billion, Sweden
5. Lakshmi Mittal, US$32.0 billion, India
6. Sheldon Adelson, US$26.5 billion, United States
7. Bernard Arnault, US$26.0 billion, France
8. Amancio Ortega, US$24.0 billion, Spain
9. Li Ka-shing, US$23.0 billion, Hong Kong
10. David Thomson, US$22.0 billion, Canada
11. Lawrence Ellison, US$21.5 billion, United States
12. Liliane Bettencourt, US$20.7 billion, France
13. Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud,
US$20.3 billion, Saudi Arabia
14. Mukesh Ambani, US$20.1 billion, India
15. Karl Albrecht, US$20.0 billion, Germany
16. Roman Abramovich, US$18.7 billion, Russia
17. Stefan Persson, US$18.4 billion, Sweden
18. Anil Ambani, US$18.2 billion, India
19. Paul Allen, US$18.0 billion, United States
20. Theo Albrecht, US$17.5 billion, Germany

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  1. Here are three stages to becoming a billionaire:

    Stage 1. Lobby and bribe officials for government contracts, tax exemptions, subsidies and protection from foreign competitors. This will make you a millionaire.

    Stage 2. Seize lucrative public assets far below their market value and earning capacity. Accumulate wealth from the sell-off of banks, minerals, energy resources, telecommunications, power plants and transport and have the state assume your private debt. This will bring you from millionaire to the billionaire status.

    Use blackmail, corruption, assassination and gang warfare, as required. You have no conscience, so this will not be difficult.

    Stage 3. Consolidate and expand your empire through mergers, acquisitions, further privatizations and overseas expansion. Create private monopolies of mobile phones, telecoms and other 'public' utilities. High commodity prices will add additional billions to your initial concentrations. Sell your recently acquired, lucrative privatized enterprises to foreign capital.

    Back political candidates of all parties and blackmail them to maintain your empire. Quickly eliminate any potential problems, such as journalists, judges, politicians, ex-wives, etc., but be sure to make it look like an "accident" or a "terrorist" attack.

    And finally, screw the poor people. After all, what did they do for you?

  2. ...and besides, they smell funny.

  3. Why is everyone here so negative about wealthy people? Many are very generous to poor people.

  4. If Bill Gates will donate one billion dollars to feed million of poor people he will still be the richest man. Share!!!

  5. Bill Gates gave $25.9 billion to charitable foundations to help poor people and pledged billions more to dozens of programs, such as minority scholarships, clean water initiatives, updated computer systems in libraries and the development of a variety of vaccines.

  6. Nina - I'm curious. Why does writing about poverty make you think a lot about the world's billionaires? What's your point?

  7. For Mildred and Mr. Mystery Man: I have nothing against rich people. I know many who were poor before but made their way to success because of hard work and sacrifice.

    There’s this Senator of the Philippines who used to be a fish vendor but now the richest in the House of Senate. He’s a hardworking guy. I also know another who used to walk 3 km from their house to school but now own multi- million- dollar companies. He remains a humble man and is currently helping a lot of people.

    When I wrote about poverty, my mind was also with the billionaires because there’s no denying that they have the resources to help those poor people. You see, I’m crazy with idealism.

    I have this wild dream that the rich would shed off some of their fortune to ease the sufferings of others. Then, voila! A perfect community of people with no problem where to get food to pacify grumbling stomach. Of course, I also know that things like this only happen in dreams…so allow me to keep on hallucinating in this blog. One should not be so serious in order to survive in a crazy world.

    Anyway, I’m also aware that many remain poor because it’s their choice. Like having lots of children when in fact they know that they can’t afford it. The rich has nothing to do with that. It’s plain and simple the choice of the poor.

    The rich can donate billions of dollars but if the poor won’t do their share nothing will happen. It’s a win-win situation if only each one of us would learn to do our share. But, the problem is already given. Poverty is rampant and we all need to do something to lessen it.


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