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. Extending a trend first clarified by Leo Lowenthal in 1944, these men are accorded the status of heroes – idols.
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.
 Tom Metcalf, “Bezos Tops Slim With a $6 Billion Gain on Amazon Results,” Bloomberg, April 29, 2016.
 Leo Lowenthal, “The Triumph of Mass Idols,” Literature, Popular Culture, and Society (New York: Prentice-Hall, 1961).
|Name||Net Worth (Billion)||Sector||Rank|
|Laurene Powell Jobs||$17.50||Media||43|
|Elon R Musk||$10.60||Technology||101|