Mar 19, 2012
Forbes magazine, in service to the world’s ultra-rich, has just published its annual list of billionaires. They are more numerous than ever: 1,226 billionaires or 16 more than last year.
The world’s richest man remains, for the third year in a row, Carlos Slim Helû of Mexico, owner of Telmex, the phone system, and the conglomerate Grupo Carso. This year he’s worth 69 billion dollars, but his fortune went down by five billion dollars from the prior year. Still, it’s hard to shed tears for him.
In the second spot is Bill Gates, creator of Microsoft, worth “only” 61 billion dollars. With his billions, Gates is doing his best to destroy public schools in order to create charter schools throughout the U.S. In third place is Warren Buffett, whose fortune is valued at 44 billion dollars compared to 50 billion the year before. He’s the one who said, “It's class warfare, my class is winning, but they shouldn't be.” At least he makes it clear which side he is on.
Half of the top twenty billionaires are from the U.S., and six belong to two families, the Waltons and the Kochs. The Waltons, owners of Wal-Mart, together are worth 100 billion dollars. The two Koch brothers have 50 billion dollars from chemicals and oil. Both families are well-known for the many right-wing causes they support, attacking public schooling and women’s rights to abortion.
Twenty five years ago, there were 140 billionaires. A thousand more billionaires in 25 years shows the growing inequality between the extremely rich and everyone else. The concentration of wealth in the hands of a few capitalists is enormous, leaving billions of people in misery and insecurity.