2020 – it was the year the entire world turned upside down. The dawn of the new decade brought a stretching pause to virtually everything that made up our lives and made it… well, virtual. Gone were the days of enjoying your favorite bands at concerts and grabbing a drink with friends. Instead of students jotting notes down in classroom desk chairs, education was relegated to lectures through Zoom calls.
While many were able to acclimate to this new, quarantined reality, thousands were left straddling below the poverty line for the first time in their lives, struggling to make ends meet without feasible income. Though there’s on sect people, who are not only surviving through the pandemic but thriving – billionaires.
That’s right. The pandemic is one of the best things that could have happened to the lucky 1%. So much so, the totality of billionaires’ wealth across the world now sits at $4.8 trillion – showing a 62% increase since the pandemic began.
The Billion-Dollar Gains
During COVID-9 wealth of the world’s billionaires has skyrocketed to $1.8 trillion. But how exactly have the mega-rich society been able to continue their massive fortunes when millions of middle-class citizens have been left without employment since lockdowns were established?
Many politicians adequate these record-breaking gains to crack within America’s economic system, which allows for billionaires to get out of paying their taxes. Take Clipper owner and former Microsoft CEO, Steve Balmer for example. Months ago, Balmer’s net worth surpassed $100 billion. While you could certainly take his years at Microsoft into account in regards to his fortune, it can’t be overlooked that he only paid $78 million.
“Twenty million Americans lost their job in the pandemic. At the same time, roughly 650 billionaires in America saw their net worth increase by more than $1 trillion,” President Joe Biden remarked in his address to Congress back in April, “I think you should be able to become a billionaire and a millionaire, but pay your fair share.”
A third of the billionaires’ wealth since 1990 has been accumulated from the time period of the pandemic. With a new person being ushered into this tier of wealth everyday, billionaires’ gains are expected to continue increasing at staggering amounts.
A business mogul who saw one of the biggest gains in wealth since last year was none other than Elon Musk. According to Forbes, his 500% increase in fortune since 2020 was largely due to the world enenamorment for Tesla. As more and more people became interested in the concept of electric cars, Tesla saw major wins on Wall Street, with its stocks rising 700%. This and his endeavors into space travel have hoisted Musk to the spot of the richest person in the world with a whopping $195 billion fortune to his name.
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The Contrast Between The Classes
The Institute for Policy Studies estimated that 325 new billionaires had been recorded since last year, with at least one person earning their spot in the elusive class of wealth every day. The influx of new members to the billionaire club and the surge of wealth has made global equality advocates pester the government to put a one-time 99% tax on the massive gains on the rich. They intend for the money acclimated from the tax to be put towards getting banding vaccines to countries in need. It would also go towards a $20,000 cash grant to everyone who has been left without a job due to the pandemic.
While this proposal hopes to fight the wealth disparity amount Americans and heal the country from the effects of COVID, there’s a sect of people making billion of the pandemic. Stéphane Bancel, the owner of Moderna, gained a net worth of $4.6 billion from his company’s vaccines. Li Jianquan reached $3.6 billion as the chair of Winner Medical from selling masks and other COVID fighting products.
The Rise Of Crypto Moguls
The rise of cryptocurrency has seen the birth of new billionaires. Many of the people who’ve made a sizable fortune off cryptocurrency don’t have an extensive background in business or own multimillion-dollar companies. For instance, the founder of China-based crypto company FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, reached $8.6 billion from his endeavors with the company.
Like many billionaires who flocked to the crypto craze, Bankman-Fried is fairly young – only 30 years old. The young mogul doesn’t necessarily lead the lavish life of someone with his fortune as he lives with three roommates and sleeps on bean bags. In July, FTX’s valuation skyrocketed to $18 billion from a $900 million fundraising round.
The past year and a half has clearly boosted billionaires from around the globe to live even more affluent lifestyles and pursue more business ventures from the gains they saw from the pandemic. Though only fate will tell if this increase will continue when the world returns to normalcy.
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Sources: Forbes, Institute for Policy Studies, The Hill
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