Billionaires who owe their wealth to information

Bloomberg has recently released a list of the world’s 200 wealthiest people based on their net worth. From Boomberg’s list, IO collated the billionaires who have accumulated their wealth from information and communication – “Telecommunications, Media and Technology,” or “TMT,” as this sector is called in the world of finance of which it’s such a big part. The TMT industries supply a hefty proportion of billionaires.

In the listing, individuals whose wealth stems from companies based in TMT accounted for no less than 46 of the top 200 – including numbers 1, 4, 5, 8, 10, 11, 12 and 15 on the list.  The one percent is top-heavy with TMT, as we might expect in our era of rampaging digital capitalism.

Technology outstrips both Media and Telecommunications. Not only are 31 of the 46 members of this elite ranking from Tech; but Tech also accounts for a greater share of overall TMT wealth: some $600 billion out of an estimated total of around $765 billion.  We know some of these men – there are only three women on the list – by the fawning publicity that they are routinely accorded: Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page. In an afternoon, they may lose or gain hundreds of millions of dollars in net worth, exceptionally even more.[1]  Extending a trend first clarified by Leo Lowenthal in 1944, these men are accorded the status of heroes – idols.[2]

It’s also significant that nearly three-quarters of the reigning titans of information and communications are domiciled in two countries.  More than half – 25 of the 46 (if we count both Elon Musk and Rupert Murdoch as Americans) – are US inhabitants.  Another nine are from China.  After this, a limited diversity presents itself: Three are from Japan; two from India; two from France; and one each from Mexico, the Republic of Korea, Germany, Canada, and Italy.

Wherever they may live, these are the capitalists who occupy the citadels of power.  For this reason, it’s worth knowing their names.  After all, we know the names of the eighteen countries whose Gross Domestic Product exceeds the $765 billion possessed by these 46 billionaires.[3]

[1] Tom Metcalf, “Bezos Tops Slim With a $6 Billion Gain on Amazon Results,” Bloomberg, April 29, 2016.

[2] Leo Lowenthal, “The Triumph of Mass Idols,” Literature, Popular Culture, and Society (New York: Prentice-Hall, 1961).

[3] List of countries by GDP (nominal)

Name Net Worth (Billion) Sector Rank
Bill Gates $84.20 Technology 1
Jeff Bezos $58.10 Technology 4
Carlos Slim $55.50 Telecom 5
Mark Zuckerberg $50.80 Technology 8
Larry Ellison $42.70 Technology 10
Larry Page $36.90 Technology 11
Seregey Brin $36.20 Technology 12
Jack Ma $33.10 Technology 15
Steve Ballmer $22.00 Technology 30
Pony Ma $19.80 Technology 35
Michael Dell $17.60 Technology 41
Paul Allen $17.60 Technology 42
Laurene Powell Jobs $17.50 Media 43
Charlie Ergen $15.10 Media 54
Azim Premji $14.60 Technology 57
Robin LI $14.10 Technology 63
Rupert Murdoch $12.00 Media 76
KunHee Lee $12.00 Technology 78
Dustin Moskovitz $11.50 Technology 86
Shiv Nadar $10.80 Technology 97
Masayoshi Son $10.70 Telecom 99
Elon R Musk $10.60 Technology 101
Phil Anschutz $10.50 Telecom 103
Si Newhouse $10.50 Media 105
Hasso Plattne $9.90 Technology 114
Eric Schmidt $9.90 Technology 115
Takemitsu Takizak $9.80 Technology 116
Donald Newhouse $9.50 Media 119
Jan Kou $9.30 Technology 123
Yeung Kin-Man $8.80 Technology 130
Jim Goodnight $8.80 Technology 131
William Ding $8.40 Technology 140
John Malone $8.10 Media 145
Blair Parry-Okeden $8.10 Media 146
Jim Kennedy $8.10 Media 147
Patrick Drahi $8.00 Telecom 149
Xavier Niel $7.60 Technology 161
Silvio Berlusconi $7.50 Media 167
Richard Liu $7.40 Technology 168
Lei Jun $7.20 Technology 174
Pierre Omidyar $7.10 Technology 177
Zhang Zhidong $7.10 Technology 181
Sherry Brydson $7.00 Telecom 182
Hiroshi Mikitani $6.60 Technology 192
Zhou Qunfei $6.60 Technology 195
David Geffen $6.50 Media 198

Source: Bloomberg

 

 

 

 

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