Tech billionaires dominate the upper reaches of the Forbes Rich list this year, which proves that while he’s good at many things, Bill Gates just ain’t cutting it at throwing away cash.
Gates came in top again, with a whopping $75bn fortune. The second spot is taken by Zara boss Amancio Ortega, with $67bn, while Warren Buffett takes third place with $60.8bn.
From there it’s back to geeks, with telecoms mogul Carlos Slim Helu’s $50bn stash giving him fourth place, while Jezz Bezos takes fifth with $45.2bn, and Mark Zuckerberg’s $44.6bn earns him sixth place. Larry Ellison snags seventh place with $43.6bn, while Michael Bloomberg on $40bn is number eight.
From there it’s dreary old diversified industrial types and makeup moguls, before we hit Larry Page and Sergey Brin on 12 and 13, while Steve Ballmer takes 26 with $23.5bn. Around the $20bn mark, Ali Baba’s Jack Ma takes 33 and Michael Dell takes 35.
It’s worth noting that Zuckerberg is the only under 40 in the top 10. There are other 30-somethings dotted around the list, but these are mainly in the bottom reaches of the under $5bn mark, though hey, they’re young so they’ve still got time to do something with their lives. It’s nice to see Twitter’s Jack Dorsey on the list with a $1bn pile - it looked recently like he’d suffered the indignity of falling off the bottom.
Gates has had a near monopoly on the top spot since the early 1990s. In fact we remember him being top dog when his dollar pile was in the mere single digits.
And whatever you think of his actions at Microsoft, Gates can be applauded for his humanitarian efforts since giving up the helm of the company.
In fact, he has been trying to give away his fortune for the best part of two decades now. The problem is, he seems to be more successful at hauling it in than hurling it away - even when he’s doing his best to offload it.
Of course, only the clearly economically illiterate would argue this pointed to some sort of imbalance in the world of business and finance. Though physicists might speculate that unless Gates gets it together, the combined weight of all that cash means we’re in danger eventually of all disappearing into some kind of wallet-shaped black hole on his bedside table.
And while we’re giving ourselves over to wild fantasy, you might be interested to see that Donald Trump comes in a measly 324 on the Forbes list, with a piffling $4.5bn fortune to his name. Gates' cash pile is almost 17 times Trump's - and much as it galls us to say it, Bill has better hair and a less annoying voice.
Trump seems to be proof that having a big pile of cash of one’s own gives one an advantage when running for political office. In which case, any one of Gates, Bezos et al could, should they put their mind to it, blow the Trumpster right off course when it comes to his White House run. The question is, would that actually be a good thing? ®