For the first time in history, two people control half a trillion dollars of personal wealth

Posted on

splits: 19

As for private wealth creation, we really live in unprecedented times.

Let’s go back in time three decades …

On September 9, 1991, Fortune Magazine published a list of the richest people in the world. At that time, Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, aka Sultan of Brunei, was the richest person in the world. Fortune estimates the 45-year-old sultan was worth $ 31 billion thanks to his country’s overflowing oil and natural gas reserves and a global real estate portfolio, including the Beverly Hills Hotel he bought in 1987.

Today, with a net worth of $ 31 billion, you would hardly crack the top 50 richest people in the world.

Adjusted for inflation, the Sultan’s $ 31 billion in 1991 equates to about $ 60 billion in today’s dollars. A little better, but still not enough to be among the 20 richest people in the world.

The second richest person in the world was Walmart founder Sam Walton in 1991. In 1991, Fortune estimated Walton’s net worth at $ 21 billion. In 2021, $ 21 billion would be just about enough to crack the 100 richest people in the world. When you reached the 8th, 9th, and 10th richest person in the world in 1991, your wealth dropped to $ 6 billion and $ 7 billion, respectively. It doesn’t take long to see people with net worth of $ 1 billion and $ 2 billion in the top 50.

If you add up the net worth of the 10 richest people in the world in 1991, their total wealth is …

$ 151 billion

That’s 10 people to get to $ 151 billion.

You might see where I’m going with this short history lesson …

As of this writing. From this moment. For the first time in human history…. the two richest people in the world have a combined net worth of half a trillion dollars.

Obviously these two people are …

Elon Musk, net worth = $ 302 billion

Jeff Bezos, net worth = $ 198 billion

Put them together and you will land comfortably on exactly …

$ 500 billion

Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk

Getty Images

The New Carnegie & Rockefeller

The only tycoons comparable to Elon and Jeff are Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller. Andrew Carnegie lived from 1835 to 1919. Rockefeller lived from 1839 to 1937.

John D. Rockefeller was the first modern man to control a fortune over $ 1 billion. It is widely believed that his maximum net worth was in the billions of dollars. A bit difficult to organize, because from 1917 he transferred his assets to family members and his charitable foundation. According to most historical records, Rockefeller’s net worth, adjusted for inflation and taking into account things like the relative purchasing power of money, is about $ 330 billion 100 years ago.

About 30 years before Rockefeller’s fortune peaked, Carnegie earned the world’s richest man crown after selling his steel company to JP Morgan (the real man, not the bank) for $ 480 million in cash. Carnegie spent the next two decades until his death giving away almost all of this fortune. According to most historical records, Carnegie’s peak net worth is around $ 310 billion.

So, as you can see, Carnegie & Rockefeller aren’t actually a good comparison to Musk & Bezos because the timeline doesn’t work out. When Rockefeller’s fortune peaked, Carnegie had been dead for about a decade.

We really live in crazy times.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *