For the first time in modern human history, a person controls a quarter trillion dollars of personal wealth without having to adjust to inflation. That person is Elon Musk. As I write this article, Elon Musk’s net worth is accurate …
$ 250 billion
At this level, Elon is just over 50 billion dollars richer than Jeff Bezos. In other words, Elon is a full Jack Ma (currently net worth $ 50 billion), richer than Jeff Bezos.
Elon is richer than Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin … COMBINED.
At $ 250 billion, Elon is $ 25 billion richer than the combined assets of the top five Walmart heirs.
Elon is $ 6 billion away from being wealthier than Nike’s total market cap. It is $ 20 billion richer than Coca Cola’s total market capitalization. It’s $ 110 billion richer than American Express’s total market cap.
Is Elon Musk the richest person in history?
Yes and no.
After considering inflation and the relative purchasing power of historical tycoons over 100 years ago, technically Elon is still not quite the richest person in modern history. That honor, most historians would agree, still goes to John D. Rockefeller. In $ 2021, Rockefeller’s top fortune is the modern equivalent of …
$ 340 billion
Andrew Carnegie ranks second with prime inflation-adjusted assets of $ 310 billion.
On the other hand, calculating Rockefeller’s and Carnegie’s modern equivalents is much closer to an art than a science. Andrew Carnegie never controlled more than $ 500 million in personal wealth. The vast majority of Carnegie’s fortune came from a single transaction in 1901 when he sold Carnegie Steel to a group of investors led by JP Morgan for $ 480 million. The transaction entitled Carnegie to gold bonds worth $ 230 million and an annual coupon of 5%. The bonds were in a New Jersey bank Carnegie never went to.
Rockefeller was the first modern man to control a billion dollars. In 1902, an internal audit set up the personal assets of the 62-year-old Rockefeller. fixed $ 200 million. That’s about $ 6 billion in today’s dollars. Over the next 12 years, his fortune grew very quickly. At the beginning of World War I, around 1914, Rockefeller’s personal fortune was being re-examined $ 900 million. His fortune consisted of holdings in banks, mining, railways and of course oil. The war drove the demand for oil soaring. When World War I was over, around 1918, Rockefeller’s personal fortune exceeded one billion dollars. His fortune would eventually grow to billions of dollars. At the time of his death in 1937, John D. Rockefeller left personal trusts valued at approximately $ 1.5 billion. That number doesn’t include the hundreds of millions of dollars already donated to various charities.
But was it worth $ 1.5 billion more than Elon’s current $ 250 billion 100 years ago?
The gross domestic product of the United States in 1935 was $ 74 billion. Rockefeller was worth $ 1.5 billion at the time. So his wealth was equivalent to 2% of total GDP.
The US GDP in 2020 was $ 21 trillion. So Elon’s $ 250 billion is equivalent to 1.1% of GDP.
Frankly, the best way to end this debate is for Elon to just add another $ 100 billion to his net worth. And amazingly, he could just go ahead and do that.
Elon started 2020 with net worth of $ 28 billion. That’s not a typo. $ 28 billion in net worth, a little more than two years ago.
In 2021 alone, Elon increased its net worth by $ 80 billion.
Earlier this week, a Morgan Stanley analyst predicted that Elon would eventually become a trillionaire thanks to his space exploration firm SpaceX (and obviously Tesla is helping a little too).
Where do you think Elon Musk’s fortune will be in a year or two?