On Tuesday Elon Musk lost his status as the richest person on the planet when his $167 billion net worth was overtaken by Bernard Arnault’s $170 billion net worth. That would have been unfathomable a year earlier when Elon was not only worth more than $200 billion, he was worth more than $340 billion! And Elon’s loss of wealth is actually an example of a larger negative trend among the ranks of the richest people in the world.
A little more than a year ago, the world had one billionaire in the $300+ billion club and several billionaires in the $200 billion club.
Today there are no more $300 billionaires and no more $200 billionaires.
Roughly a year ago, controversial Tesla/Twitter CEO Elon Musk had a staggering net worth of $340 billion, while Amazon founder Jeff Bezos was worth $210 billion. That in itself, with two individuals having accumulated their own net worths north of $200 billion, was a noteworthy phenomenon. But now, despite both men still being among the wealthiest on the planet, both have seen their net worths slip under the $200 billion margin, with Musk currently at $167 billion and Bezos at $117 billion.
That’s not the only interesting way that the wealthiest of the wealthy have gotten a little less so over the last year. In the middle part of 2021, the rising tide of the global economy rose to the point of all ten of the top richest people having net worths north of $100 billion for the first time in history. After a little less than a year and a half, that milestone has collapsed, and now only the top six on that exclusive list have total fortunes in excess of $100 billion. Tied at number ten on the list sit LA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer and Google co-founder Sergey Brin, and both their net worths aren’t even in the $90 billion range, instead just under it at $88 billion.
These sometimes steep drops in the fortunes of the richest people in the world are caused by countless economic factors, but they can generally be traced to the same supply chain and inflation issues that are creating shockwaves throughout the rest of the economy. The downward slide has been experienced by everyone in the top ten richest people in the world with one exception: Industrial business leader Gautam Adani, who’s had a pretty good year in defiance of this trend and currently sits at the number three slot with a net worth of $126 billion – and increase of more than $50 billion since the beginning of the year.
All that is to say, even the absolute richest people in history aren’t quite as rich as they used to be — but they seem to all be doing pretty well for themselves anyway.