The 10 Richest People on the Planet: Where All that Stimulus Money Went

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11 March 2011.

11 March 2011.

As Michael Moore recently pointed out, America is not broke, it is just that the rich are getting richer. Everyone else faces stagnating or declining incomes – if they are lucky enough to have a job. Ten to twenty percent unemployment levels have come to feel normal in many advanced economies.

So, if you are wondering where all your bailout and stimulus tax dollars have gone, it is a fair bet to think that a good chunk of it has gone to the growing list of billionaires. Forbes, compilers (and cheerleaders) of the annual rich list, has announced that the number of billionaires has increased by 214 to a record 1,210.

The Top 10 alone are now worth US$406.1 Billion. Stunningly, their combined worth is more than the GDP of most of the countries in the world.

Only 26 countries are worth more, and on current growth rates the 10 richest people in the world will soon be big enough to join the G20. Think about that the next time Forbes complains about striking unions.

On to the list. The Top 10 richest people in the world are:

1.    Carlos Slim Helu & family, 71 (Mexico): $74 billion (telecom)

The Mexican business magnate of Lebanese ethnicity and philanthropist is the richest person in the world. He is the chairman and CEO of telecommunications companies Telmex and América Móvil and has extensive holdings in other Mexican companies through his conglomerate, Grupo Carso SAB.

2.    Bill Gates, 55 (US): $56 billion (Microsoft)

“We’ve really achieved the ideal of what I wanted Microsoft to become.”

3.    Warren Bufett, 80 (US): $50 billion (Berkshire Hathaway)

Widely regarded as one of the most successful investors in the world. He is the primary shareholder, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway – and is consistently ranked among the world’s wealthiest people.

4.    Bernard Arnault, 62 (France): $41 billion (LVMH)

Founder, chairman, and CEO of LVMH, a large luxury goods conglomerate consisting of over fifty luxury brands, including Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Fendi.

5.    Larry Ellison, 66 (US):
$39.5 billion (Oracle)

Oracle has acquired 75 companies over the years worth $40 billion, and figured out a way to turn a profit on its latest big buy, Sun Microsystems, in 2010. One of the highest-paid executives in the U.S., Ellison reaped $960 million in compensation in the past five fiscal years, mostly from exercising stock options; he recently cut his salary to $1.

6.    Lakshmi Mittal, 60 (India):
$31.3 billion (Steel)

In 2006, Financial Times named him “Person of the Year”. In 2007, Time magazine included him in their “100 most influential persons in the world”.

7.    Amancio Ortega, 74 (Spain):
$31 billion (Zara)

 The railway worker’s son started as a gofer in a shirt store. With then-wife Rosalia Mera, also now a billionaire, started making dressing gowns and lingerie in their living room.

8.    Eike Batista, 54 (Brazil): $30 billion (Mining, Oil)

Batista, one of seven children of a high-level government official, got into gold at an early age and eventually controlled mines from Chile to Russia. In addition, he has been involved in energy, water, and steel companies. Now Batista is betting that Brazil will be a major oil power.

9.    Mukesh Ambani, 53 (India):
$27 billion (Petrochemicals)

According to Forbes Magazine forecasts, he is expected to regain the title of the richest man in the world in 2014.

10.    Christy Walton & family, 56 (US): $ 26.5 billion (Walmart)

The world’s richest woman, she got an extra bump in her fortune because of her late husband’s early investment in First Solar; shares up nearly 500 percent since its 2006 initial public offering.

See the complete list on Forbes.

Also on EconomyWatch The 10 Richest Young People in the World

About Liz Zuliani PRO INVESTOR

Diverse background in digital media, with experience working across large networks, to boutique sites and start-up ventures.