While the super-rich have only got richer during the Covid pandemic but no one had the kind of jump in wealth that Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk witnessed. According to the US-based think tank Institute for Policy Studies, Musk has been the biggest “pandemic profiteer” with his wealth growing by a whopping 197 per cent to $73 billion on August 13 from $24.6 billion on March 18 this year. The increase was $48.5 billion. Mark Zuckerberg saw the second-biggest jump of 75 per cent in his wealth among the top 12 US billionaires or “Oligarchic Twelve”. His wealth increased from $54.7 billion to $95.5 billion between March 18 and August 13. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos was third in line seeing a healthy 68 per cent increase in net worth from $113 billion to $189.49 billion during the said period.
“For the first time in U.S. history, the top twelve U.S. billionaires surpassed a combined wealth of $1 trillion,” the think tank noted adding that this shows “simply too much economic and political power in the hands of twelve people. From the point of view of a democratic self-governing society, this represents an Oligarchic Twelve or a Despotic Dozen.” Since March 18, the 12 billionaires’ combined wealth increased 39 per cent or by $282.5 billion from $732.6 billion to $1.01 trillion on August 13.
Others in the list were Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer (36 per cent jump to $71.5 billion), Google’s Sergey Brin (34 per cent increase to $65.6 billion), Larry Page (32 per cent increase to $67.4 billion), Warren Buffet (19 per cent jump to $80.5 billion), Bill Gates (16 per cent increase to $114.1 billion) and more on August 13.
However, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index, Bezos followed by Bill Gates, Zuckerberg, Musk, and Louis Vuitton’s Chairman Bernard Arnault were the five richest people on Earth. India’s Mukesh Ambani had peaked to fourth-rank before sliding to the seventh position with a net worth of $78.2 billion on Saturday. According to Forbes India Billionaires List 2020, Radkhakishan Damani, Shiv Nadar, Uday Kotak, and Gautam Adani were India’s five richest with Ambani on the top.