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Are billionaires good for the economy?

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Our answer:

Fewer individuals continue to amass an increasing share of society's wealth. As politicians advocate for new taxes on the super-rich and some even propose the abolition of billionaires altogether, the impact of capitalism's greatest beneficiaries on the rest of us remains uncertain. While wealth is not a zero-sum game, how billionaires earn their wealth and what they choose to do with it grows increasingly critical to the success of our economy.

How many billionaires are there?

A group of people not large enough to fill an average high school football stadium controls roughly 4% of the world's wealth; that's 1-in-25 dollars. There are 2,755 billionaires globally worth $12.2 trillion. The billionaire class has seen their wealth increase by $2.6 trillion since the start of the pandemic. Despite a slight dip in 2022, their fortunes are now rising again.

Of those, only 12% are women. Geographically, the United States leads with 724 billionaires, followed closely by China with 698. Industry-wise, technology reigns supreme, followed by finance and investments, fashion and retail, and real estate.

A small group of individuals consume a more significant share of the rewards of our global economy each year. Today's wealth inequality is stark, with just 728 billionaires owning more than 50% of American households.

The disparity is only getting worse. Since 1995, the top 1% have captured 19 times more of our global wealth growth than the entire bottom 50% of humanity. The wealthiest 1% have amassed almost two times the wealth of the rest of the world over the past two years. This growing disparity is a critical issue that challenges our conventional understanding of wealth creation and distribution.

How do they get so much money?

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