Re: Billionaires (was re: Suresh Naidu's Arguments)

Ira Brodsky (
Sun, 20 Oct 1996 10:30:05 -0600

Mitchell Porter wrote:

>"The number of billionaires in the world has risen from 147 to 447 [between
>1960 and 1991, I think -MP], and for just last year, the number rose by
>25 per cent... _Forbes_ says there are 149 billionaires in the US, 51 in
>Germany and 40 in Japan. Others are Hong Kong, 17; Mexico, 15; France, 14;
>Brazil, 10; Thailand, 10; and the UK, 7. The US's leading billionaires
>are Bill Gates with $18bn; Warren Buffet, $15bn; Paul Sacher, $13bn;
>Lee Shau Kee, $12bn; and Tsai Wanlin, $12bn."
>_West Africa_ lists global GDP for 1993 as $23 trillion. $447 billion
>is just under 2% of that, so perhaps we can say that all those
>billionaires control at least 1% of the world's wealth.

More accurately, we can say that a few hundred billionaires have created
more than 1% of the world's wealth. What is rarely mentioned is that their
"wealth" consists of ownership of businesses with a track record for
creating excellent products and services and thousands of jobs. Bill Gates
does not have $18 bn stashed away in a closet or Swiss bank account. His
$18 bn is primarily derived from how the market values his company.

Having worked for some very wealthy individuals, I can verify the
observation first made by George Gilder that successful entrepreneurs are
far less "greedy" than the average person on welfare. The truly successful
entrepreneur plows his money back into the business, creating more jobs and
more good products. The welfare recipient, in contrast, wants access to
money earned by other people (and taken from them under threat of

Ira Brodsky
Datacomm Research Company
Wilmette, Illinois