Wednesday, 17 March 2010

filthy rich and happy...


In 2009, the unemployment rate rose throughout the world, millions lost jobs, and wages fell or were dramatically cut. Millions of families lost their homes and became dislocated joining the ever growing ranks of the dispossessed. But world productivity, the amount of output that is produced from each hour of work, rose by 7 percent.

But hay, every dark cloud has a silver lining and 2009 was not all bad - the world’s billionaires saw their wealth grow by a staggering 50 percent last year, and their ranks swell to 1,011, from 793, according to the latest Forbes list of billionaires.

The Wall Street Journal, commenting on the figures, wrote, “How did the world’s rich get so much richer? Stock markets…. In short, what the stock market had taketh, the stock market hath giveth back–-at least to the billionaires.”

The bad news is that America's super rich are getting poorer, poor things! For only the fifth time since 1982, the Forbes annual tally of the nation's richest people has declined, falling $300 billion in the past 12 months from $1.57 trillion to $1.27 trillion. Faltering capital markets and real estate prices, along with divorce and fraud, pushed the fortunes of 314 members down and drove 32 plutocrats off the rankings.

It’s a hard life being filthy rich…

A surprising number of heavy-hitters can be found in that part of our planet we used to refer to as “the third world.” “Third” being a polite, vague way of saying “poor.”
Not only is Asia trouncing the US in wealth creation, but for the first time ever the loaded title of World’s Richest Person belongs to someone from a developing country. Carlos “Slim” Helu, a Mexican of Lebanese descent, is worth a staggering $53.5 billion, $500 million more than Bill Gates and $6.5 billion more than Warren Buffett. Ninety-seven new billionaires cropped up in places like Pakistan and Indonesia, China is now second to only the US in number of ten-digit fortunes and the number of Indian billionaires doubled.
 
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