World’s richest men added billions to their fortunes last year as others struggled

The pandemic has forced untold hardships onto many Americans, with tens of millions of families now reporting that they don’t have enough to eat and millions more out of work on account of layoffs and lockdowns. America’s wealthiest, on the other hand, had a very different kind of year: Billionaires as a class have added about $1 trillion to their total net worth since the pandemic began. And roughly one-fifth of that haul flowed into the pockets of just two men: Jeff Bezos, chief executive of Amazon (and owner of The Washington Post), and Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX fame. Musk has quintupled his net worth since January, according to estimates put together by Bloomberg, adding $132 billion to his wealth and vaulting him to the No. 2 spot among the world’s richest with a fortune of about $159 billion. Bezos’s wealth has grown by roughly $70 billion over the same period, putting his net worth estimate at roughly $186 billion as the year came to an end. Such a rapid accumulation of individual wealth hasn’t happened in the United States since the time of the Rockefellers and Carnegies a century ago, and we as a society are only just beginning to grapple with the ethical implications. What does it mean, for instance, that two men amassed enough wealth this year to end all hunger in America (with a price tag of $25 billion) eight times over? Or that the $200 billion accumulated by Bezos and Musk is greater than the amount of coronavirus relief allocated to state and local governments in the Cares Act?

Note: The new richest man in Asia reached his position partially through making vaccines for the coronavirus. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on income inequality from reliable major media sources.

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Author: {Want To Know}

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