Economics

Bill Gates Still World's Richest Man

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The new Forbes' billionaire list is out, and Bill Gates is still topping the list (as he has for 13 years), with $56 billion rattling around in his pockets. Warren Buffet is number two and there are more billionaires than ever on the planet:

The tally of billionaires around the globe reached a high of 946, their combined wealth growing 35 percent to $3.5 trillion, according to Forbes magazine's 2007 rankings of the world's richest people.

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From Forbes:

Ingenuity, not industry, is the common characteristic; these folks made money in everything from media and real estate to coffee, dumplings and ethanol. Two-thirds of last year's billionaires are richer. Only 17% are poorer, including 32 who fell below the billion-dollar mark. The billionaires' combined net worth climbed by $900 billion to $3.5 trillion. That equates to $3.6 billion apiece.

The average billionaire is 62 years old, two years younger than in 2005. This year's new billionaires are seven years younger than that. Of list members' fortunes, 60% made theirs from scratch.

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  1. these folks made money in everything from media and real estate to coffee, dumplings and ethanol.

    Talk about government welfare!

  2. oops, replace government with corporate up there

  3. The average billionaire is 62 years old,…

    That’s the real trouble with the world.

    Money is wasted on the old and youth is wasted on the young.

  4. Isaac Bartram,

    I think you have revived the Anna Nicole story.

  5. Of list members’ fortunes, 60% made theirs from scratch.

    Assuming that very few of the billionaires started life (or even adult life) with assets equaling zero, this is not literally true. I wonder how much money you can start with a still be a billionaire “from scratch”?

  6. Uh, guys? We seem to have a little problem here: Bill Gates is not happy.

  7. I’m amazed Mr. Buffett’s net worth went up, considering he gave away such a huge chunk last year. Wasn’t it something like five percent?

  8. Ingenuity, not industry, is the common characteristic

    The only ingenuity Bill Gates had was in figuring out how to use the government as muscle so he could steal other peoples ideas.

  9. It is hard to imagine where we would be without men like this.

  10. We need a list, adjusted for inflation, dating back to the Gilded Age.

  11. “I’m amazed Mr. Buffett’s net worth went up, considering he gave away such a huge chunk last year. Wasn’t it something like five percent?”

    he did it for a huger (sic) tax write off 😉

    Warren: The Gates is using the ‘Ment as Muscle. Whatcha gonna do about it, Warreny?

  12. We need a list, adjusted for inflation, dating back to the Gilded Age.

    I saw something like that recently (perhaps on Forbes?) where they took rich men from American history and measured their wealth as a percentage of the GNP of their time.

    Gates was up there, but John Rockefeller was still the richest with something like 1/60 of the entire GNP.

  13. “Only 17% are poorer, including 32 who fell below the billion-dollar mark.”

    That explains the story I heard on NPR this morning about the growing gap between rich billionaires and poor billionaires.

    In Gates’ defense though, he did manage to make the personal computer a household device every bit as indispensible as the refridgerator and married womens’ little freinds in the nightstand. His innovation was the business model, not the technology. True, he used unconscionable strongarm tactics against his competitors, but he also had to fend off the unconscionable strongarm tactics of the DOJ.

  14. Devaluation of the dollar makes everyone richer!

  15. In Gates’ defense though, he did manage to make the personal computer a household device every bit as indispensible . . .

    This would not have happened without Bill Gates, without Microsoft? Do you really believe that?

  16. How many libertarians, other than Charles and David, made the list? Any?

  17. the list seems disproportionate racially. Where are Al and Jesse and sistah Hillary to make it fair and balanced?

  18. Assuming that very few of the billionaires started life (or even adult life) with assets equaling zero, this is not literally true. I wonder how much money you can start with a still be a billionaire “from scratch”?

    Good point – Bill Gates was not born a billionaire but he was not born a pauper, either.

  19. Good point – Bill Gates was not born a billionaire but he was not born a pauper, either.

    Nor was the margin of wealth between, say, ten million and howevermany billion acquired “from scratch” either.

  20. How many of these billionaire assholes made their income without the aid of government? With the exception of arts and entertainment, I find most of these scumbags benefit from government.

  21. In high school we went around the class and everyone had to say what they wanted to do for a job. Everyone said the normal, doctor, lawyer, musician, and an athlete.

    One kid said he wanted to invent a piece of plastic everyone wanted which he could make for a $1 and sell for $10. We all laughed thinking it was funny.

    That is what made Bill Gates rich. Many people have made operating systems?but he put a operating system on a piece of plastic Mylar, albeit floppy and electrically charged, and made people want to purchase it.

    Now there are millions of computers out there and nothing says they have to run Microsoft products. I challenge all of those people bitching about Bill’s wealth to put a better product out there?not just run it on top of UNIX?but something new?from scratch?and better. Cannot do it? Neither can I?hence we are not billionaires.

    But?the world is open for the next $1 piece of plastic and in a free market you do not need millions to start it. Even though Michael Dell is not one of the richest?he isn’t doing bad?and that started out of a garage.

    Bitch about the rich?and say they got there this way or that way?but 1 thing is certain. Billionaires tend not to give billions away to individuals so to become even close to a billionaire means taking a small amount from millions of people over and over again. Look at most of the billionaires and that is what they did.

  22. I challenge all of those people bitching about Bill’s wealth to put a better product out there?not just run it on top of UNIX?but something new?from scratch?and better. Cannot do it?

    The computer industry is different from almost any other in that the customer arguably *benefits* from Microsoft’s quasi-monopoly more than he suffers, because all those computers require software and they have to talk to each other and share documents. That is why Bill has given mostly just lip-service to any kind of “standards” that would allow other operating systems to join in–and often actively seeks to sabotage existing de-facto standards.

    Anyway, there are plenty of better alternatives to Windows. However, Bill reached world-domination first and the nature of the business as described above makes it much more difficult to succeed than for other products.

  23. The only ingenuity Bill Gates had was in figuring out how to use the government as muscle so he could steal other peoples ideas.

    How did Gates use the government as muscle?

  24. In Gates’ defense though, he did manage to make the personal computer a household device every bit as indispensible . . .

    This would not have happened without Bill Gates, without Microsoft? Do you really believe that?

    True, it probably would have happened eventually. But in the late 70s/early 80s, it was Bill Gates and Bill Gates alone who had the vision of “A computer on every desk, in every office, in every school, and in every home”.

  25. Skip, you rock!

    Now, Mr. Gates did have a little help from his litigation lawyer father, suing his former customer out of business by changing the terms of the contract in court, and other cases.

    Later, he did buy an operating system for around 50k and sell it for zads of dollars.

    The real key here is, if Apple would have ported their OS to the Intel chip, in any recognizable manner, then we would know Microsoft as that “cutsie spreadsheet and database maker” with Apple being “the big guy.”

    No, I am not a political fan of either, Apple the least, but Woz is a really cool guy and I was proud to provide personal security to him at a HOPE con.

  26. Offcourse he is the smartest business man,If you want to know his net worth for last seven years you can go http://www.billgatesmicrosoft.com/networth.htm

  27. Bill Gates used government muscle by using patent and copyright laws, which are available to everyone. Who’d be top computer geek without such laws?

  28. Who’d be top computer geek without such laws?

    Of course, that would be Theo de Raadt. The controversy would be over those Linux freaks crying that Linus is really better and that Theo is in the pocket of big ammo.

  29. Nick! Oh Nick!

    This thread made The Chicago Sun-Times, but not quite intact. Actually, the quotes lack any original meaning at all.

    [Nick dons his black leather jacket, hops into the Hemi Super Bee and heads to the Billy Goat Tavern in Chicago to confront the wrongdoers]

    I still think the money quote was the one about Theo

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