WITH A NET WORTH OF $106 BILLION JEFF BEZOS IS NOW THE RICHEST MAN IN HISTORY…OR IS HE? 📈🤑💰💸
Just 10 days into the new year and Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and a sharp thorn in the side of Donald Trump, has seen his personal wealth soar by $6bn (R74, 6 billion). Giving him a total of $106 billion (R1, 3 TRILLION) which is enough to cover the entire budget deficit of Britain twice over and still have some change to ball hard.
The man at the helm of the online empire, which accounted for an unnbelievable 89% of online Christmas trading at big US retailers. Officially, he is the richest man on the planet – the latest in a list of super wealthy men stretching all the way back to Croesus, the king of Lydia in the 6th century BC who was so rich he had an expression name after him. Only once before has one man been worth twelve figures, when Bill Gates’s fortune hit its peak of $100bn at the height of the dotcom bubble in 1999. Bezos overtook Gates last year and the gap has widened almost daily.
Even so, the impact of inflation means Bezos is not the richest man who ever lived. He is not even the richest American who ever lived: that title would go to one of the titans of US industry from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Andrew Carnegie, John D Rockefeller and Henry Ford all amassed fortunes that would make the Amazon founder a relative pauper once rising prices were taken into account.
Even less is known about other historical figures who controlled vast fortunes. From the Egyptian pharaohs to the Roman emperor Augustus Caesar and the Mongol warlord Genghis Khan, wealth down the ages has often been concentrated in the hands of the few.
Nor is Bezos without question the richest man currently living. While it is relatively easy to work out the net worth of Bezos and Gates from the value of their share portfolios, nobody knows for sure how much members of the Saudi Arabian royal family are worth. Nor has anybody come up with a definitive figure for the net worth of Vladimir Putin, although rumour has it that the Russian president’s fortune is bigger than that of Bezos or Gates. Muammar Gaddafi, the former Libyan leader, is said to have salted away $200bn during his time in power. Only time will tell where his wealth will go from here.