Chalk one up for the Americans, so to speak, as the world's richest people rankings saw a bit of a shakeup recently. After four years of being off the top of the list, Bill Gates came back to take the top slot from Carlos Slim, who held the top ranking for fully four years prior to this event thanks to some big gains in Gates' net worth.
Last year, Gates had a reported net worth of $67 billion, but with a bit of a reversal this year, his new net worth was $76 billion, enough to beat out Slim's total holdings, which reportedly netted $72 billion at the end of 2013. Gates had previously held the top slot for 15 of the last 20 years, before losing it to Slim for the last four until this newest year's recovery.
But this is hardly a two-horse race. The list also boasts some major figures in technology, including familiar names like Amazon's Jeff Bezos, who took slot 18 on the list with $32 billion. Oracle's Larry Ellison got the fifth slot back, and the biggest names at Google—Larry Page and Sergey Brin—netted numbers 17 and 19 on the list, respectively. Even Mark Zuckerberg hit the list at number 21 after pulling the biggest increase of any billionaire on the list.
Breaking down the list into more general terms saw some noteworthy results: there were 172 women on the list, a marked increase from the previous year's 138. The combined net worth of said billionaires was $6.4 trillion, up a full trillion from last year's $5.4 trillion. While the United States has the most billionaires on the list at 492, there were still a healthy number from places like China with 152 and Russia with 111.
It's good to see that, even in an economy that might still best be described as frail, things are still improving for at least some people. While this is likely the coldest of comfort to those who lost jobs recently—or even for those who lost jobs not so recently and have had little success in finding new ones—it's still a bit of a comfort knowing that it's at least possible to gain. Granted, such gains are likely difficult for regular people--lacking both the capital and the connections of those on this list--to make in everyday life, but there is certainly still the possibility for gain. It's also surprising how many figures on this list have a connection to technology as opposed to raw materials; timber barons, silver miners...these don't show up near so often as “the guy who came up with this bit of software / this website / this platform.” Technology seems to be more the future of mankind than ever before, and those who can bring out the best technology have the best chance, ultimately, of success in a market the depends on it more than ever.
While the list of the world's billionaires may serve more as an irritant than an inspiration to many, there is still the hope that a new development, that could be in someone's garage or basement right now, could be the next big thing in terms of not only our everyday lives, but also in getting some new faces on the billionaire's list.
Contributing TechZone360 Writer
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