The world’s 500 richest people added nearly USD 1.8 trillion to their combined wealth in 2020, bringing their total wealth to 7.6 trillion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
The 31% increase, which they achieved even amid the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, is the largest annual gain in the 8 – year history of the Bloomberg index, author Celine Castronovo said in a report published by the American newspaper “The Hill”.
This growth was mainly recorded by those who occupy the top of the ranking. With 5 people now owning more than 100 billion USD, while the wealth of another 20 individuals is at least 50 billion. Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos topped the Bloomberg index at 190 billion, as his company has benefited greatly from the crisis. Closures and health restrictions have forced more people to turn to online shopping.
Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk saw the biggest increase in wealth in 2020, with Bloomberg reporting that it is probably the fastest in history. With his fortune reaching 170 billion USD, surpassing for the first time Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates become the second richest person in the world last November.
Musk’s increase in wealth was largely driven by Tesla, which on January 1st had a market value of about 670 billion. About 3 quarters of Musk’s net worth is made up by Tesla shares.
The author noted that Gates now ranks third with a net wealth of about 132 billion USD, while LVMH-Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault is fourth with 114 billion USD.
In contrast, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg rank fifth in the ranking with a fortune of about 104 billion USD. According to the director of the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies, Chuck Collins, the growth of the world’s billionaires “touches on a painful aspect for the millions of people who have lost loved ones and suffered a deterioration in their health, wealth and livelihoods.”
“Worse still, this undermines any sense that we are in the midst of this crisis together,” Collins told Bloomberg. Solidarity is needed to overcome the difficult months ahead.” More than 84 million people worldwide have been infected with covid-19. With a death toll of more than 1.8 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.