In this article we will present the 20 richest people in the world. Click to skip ahead and see the 5 richest people in the world.
If you want any proof of whether life is fair or not, you only need to look at the fact that billionaires in the world have more money than over 4.5 billion people in the world. In a world where hundreds of millions don't know where their next meal is coming from, someone is wondering whether to gold plate his 5th private jet.
There are over 2,100 billionaires in the world, with billionaires actually doubling in just the last decade. If you're wondering where they reside, then you should consider taking a look at the 25 richest cities in the world with the most billionaires per capita. These facts are quite gloomy as they demonstrate the level of inequality in this world, and how it is simply growing. While I've always supported capitalism, as to me it was the logical choice, after learning these facts, even I am left to wonder whether there is some limit which should be applied or implemented to ensure a fairer distribution of the world's resources. The toughest question here is on how to do that. People say earnings should be capped, but then once a person reaches that level, his motivation will mostly stop. How do you determine where you should draw the line, and how should that line be drawn to benefit everyone, or cause the least possible issues?
These numbers seem even worse when you consider the pandemic. Tens of millions of people across the world have been left jobless, people who depend on their paycheck for basic necessities and who now don't know where their next meal will come from. The economy has been left devastated and many businesses have folded, causing further layoffs as well. Even for many people who did not get laid off, their salaries were reduced or they were sent on unpaid leaves, so the actual situation is even worse than what the numbers suggest. And now that the second wave has hit many countries across the world, including Europe, we have no idea when this will end.
However, it wasn't doom and gloom for everyone. Billionaires actually gained over $637 billion in wealth during this time. Imagine how crazy that statistic is. While tens of millions of people lost their jobs, billionaires gained over HALF A TRILLION DOLLARS in the exact same time. Welcome to capitalism, folks. Just 5 people gained over $214 billion in 2020, with Tesla's (NASDAQ:TSLA) Elon Musk alone gaining an amazing $79.1 billion in this time. His net worth has actually more than quadrupled in this time. Most of the top billionaires are men who are in the technology sector. Amazon.com's (NASDAQ:AMZN) Jeff Bezos has gained $60 billion in 2020, because more people are moving on to online shopping, avoiding the need to risk their health, and of course, it's incredibly comfortable. There's a reason why Amazon is once again adding over 100,000 employees, because demand has grown exponentially as well, the fourth such hiring spree in 2020 alone. Tesla shares have increased vastly as well, while Facebook hasn't done too badly either, which is why for a brief moment, Facebook Inc's (NASDAQ:FB) Mark Zuckerberg was a centabillionaire. Even now, there are three men who are centabillionaires.
The main factor for the rapid increase in the number of billionaires is technological innovation. Facebook's, Tesla's, Alphabet Inc's (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Alibaba's (NYSE:BABA) founders weren't even millionaires 25 years ago.
However, such valuations should always be taken with a grain of salt. After all, most of these valuations are based on the interest that person holds in a company and stocks are known to fluctuate wildly. For example, just earlier this month, tech stocks went down, costing tens of billions of dollars in the net worth of the top 10 tech billionaires. Jeff Bezos alone lost $9 billion. So these valuations don't really mean that they have exactly that amount of cash. In many cases, they're not even allowed to sell their shares until a specific date and not more than a specified number, to avoid a flooding of shares in the market, which can lead to a crash in the stock value.
The richest 20 people in the world had a combined net worth of $1.5 trillion. These 20 people have more money than the GDP of all but 12 countries in the world. They are some of the most powerful people in the world, and the choices they make affect hundreds of millions of people. 10 out of the 20 people in this list are from the technology sector, and this number will only keep on increasing in the future. 4 are from the retail sector, and I'm sure you can guess which retail company is responsible for the net worth of three of these individuals. Hint: they are among the 10 wealthiest families in the world. For our rankings we have taken the data from both Bloomberg and Forbes, and calculated the average of rankings from both sites, as they maintain real time information on the net worth of billionaires, to ensure our data is completely accurate. So without further ado, let's take a look at the 20 people who indirectly control the world, starting with number 20:
20. Zhong Shanshan
There is no commodity that is not worth investing in, if you go for the right approach. Shanshan is a bottled water tycoon, who founded China's largest bottled water company and just had an IPO this month, worth billions. Nearly all of his wealth has been amassed in just 2020, which means there has been a jump of $46.8 billion in 2020 alone, with his total net worth $53.7 billion.
19. Jack Ma
Everyone knows one of the richest men in China and owner of the globally popular AliBaba website, which is China's version of Amazon, and wildly successful to boot. Jack Ma's net worth has grown by $10 billion in 2020 alone, and is now at nearly $60 billion, apparently enough money to allow Ma to retire and pursue educational and philanthropic ventures. He is consistently cited as one of the most powerful and influential men in the world as well.
GongTo / Shutterstock.com
18. Ma Huateng
Ma Huateng, also famously known as Pony Ma, is the founder and current CEO of one of the biggest technology and Internet companies in the world, and Asia's most valuable company in Tencent. The company owns China's answer to Whatsapp in WeChat, which is China's biggest messaging app, in addition to various other ventures as well in internet services, smartphones and payment systems. In contast to Jack Ma, Huateng keeps a low profile and is the only person from China to have ever made Forbes top 10 richest people in the world list.
17. Mackenzie Scott
Many people have lambasted Mackenzie Scott for not deserving her riches, though they miss a crucial point. She was not a 'gold digger' who married Jeff Bezos for his money. She was there with him every step of the way when Amazon went from a company founded in a garage to the global conglomerate it is today. In my opinion, she deserves every cent she got from the divorce settlement, and as Amazon's stock has soared this year, so has her net worth at $56.8 billion, a jump of nearly $20 billion.
16. Rob Walton
The Walton family is of course, the owner of Walmart, which is the world's largest retailer. Had this money been going to just one heir, that person would possibly have been the richest person in the world. However, multiple heirs means that the numbers are split, though that has still allowed 3 people from the family to make the richest people in the world list, starting with Rob.
Niloo / Shutterstock.com
15. Alice Walton
The Walton siblings are right next to each other in our list, with Alice Walton slightly edging our her brother Rob. Each of the siblings have gained more than $6 billion in net worth in 2020 alone, as people have resorted to comfort shopping in the midst of the pandemic.
14. Jim Walton
The richest of the three Waltons according to our rankings is Jim Walton, who is the youngest son of Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart. Jim Walton's net worth keeps on increasing, and has now crossed $60.2 billion.
13. Francoise Bettencourt
Finally we are again able to talk about billionaires who are not from the US, starting with Francoise Bettencourt, who is the heiress to her family's fortune, which comes from owning L'Oreal, the biggest cosmetics company in the world. The company has over $30 billion in revenue annually, employes 86,000 people and has a presence in 150 countries around the world. She is currently comfortably the richest woman in the world, even though she was briefly usurped by Mackenzie Scott earlier in the year.
12. Sergey Brin
Sergey Brin along with Larry Page founded Google, and we all know what happened next. Google has changed our lives like nothing before, with the world's information just a touch away. Sergey Brin moved to the US from the Soviet Union, and is the biggest such successs stories, founding one of the biggest companies in the world, and still maintains a controlling shareholding, which is the basis for his massive wealth.
11. Amancio Ortega
One of the oldest billionaires on our list is Amancio Ortega, who is 84 years old and the founder of the Inditex fashion group. Never heard of it? Don't worry, I'm sure you all have heard of Zara, its most popular clothing and accessories chain, and one of the reasons why he is among the richest people in the world.
10. Larry Page
Larry Page did even better than Sergey Brin and is worth over $2 billion more than his co-founder, though both have enjoyed increases in their fortunes worth over $4 billion in 2020 alone.
9. Larry Ellison
If co-relation equaled causation, then most parents would be naming their children as Larry, gender be damned. Of course, it's much more important to have founded a company which attains wild success, such as Larry Ellison's Oracle, which sells database software among other services. He loves yachts (who doesn't) and competes in yacht racing as well. He is also a licensed pilot and is in possession of several aircraft to fulfil his desires.
8. Steve Ballmer
Steve Ballmer was the CEO of Microsoft for 14 years, where he amassed his incredible net worth and currently owns the Los Angeles Clippers. He has a current net worth of $73.2 billion.
7. Warren Buffett
We all remember the time when Warren Buffett and Bill Gates competed for the richest man in the world title, and while Buffett may have slid down the rankings, do not underestimate the 90 year old, the oldest billionaire in our list, whose mind still operates at a level most of us cannot even begin to imagine.
6. Mukesh Ambani
The only Indian to make this list, Mukesh Ambani is the largest shareholder of Reliance Industries, which has a foothold in all sorts of industries from petrol and natural gas to television and entertainment. He is also famous, of infamous, for building the most expensive house in the world worth $1 billion.