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Billionaire Wealth Doubles

November 12, 2013 by  

Billionaire Wealth Doubles, Even as workers in the US and other countries have seen their incomes plummet, the combined net worth of the world’s billionaires has doubled since 2009, according to a report published Tuesday by UBS and Wealth-X, a consultancy that tracks super-rich individuals.

The collective wealth of the world’s billionaires hit $6.5 trillion, a figure that is nearly as large as the gross domestic product of China, the world’s second-largest economy. The number of billionaires has grown to 2,170 in 2013, up from 1,360 in 2009, according to the report.

The vast enrichment of this social layer has been driven by surging stock markets, fueled by the “easy money” and money-printing operations of the US Federal Reserve and other central banks. This process is intensifying. Last week the European Central Bank, responding to a deterioration of economic conditions in Europe, cut its benchmark interest rate in half, from 0.5 to 0.25 percent, sending a new wave of cash into financial markets.

The day after Wealth-X released its report, Twitter, the social networking service, held its initial public offering, creating 1,600 paper millionaires in a single day, as its stock doubled within hours, according to the financial analysis firm PrivCo. The site’s co-founder, Evan Williams, increased his wealth by $1 billion in the process, to $2.5 billion. Fellow co-founder Jack Dorsey made $500 million, bringing his wealth to $2 billion.

The wealth report reflects the parasitic growth of the financial sector throughout the world economy. Seventeen percent of billionaires got their wealth from the finance, banking, and investment sectors, more than any other, while only eight percent are associated with manufacturing.

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