On October 7, on the CNN news site, there was a post about billionaires saying their assets reached a new record high in the middle of a pandemic when technology stocks recovered.
According to a report from Swiss bank UBS and PwC, the billionaires’ wealth rose to $ 10.2 trillion by the end of July, up from an earlier high of $ 8.9 trillion in 2017.
The total number of billionaires has increased from 31 to 2,189 people since 2017. However, some billionaires are getting rich much faster than others.
The report says the pandemic has fueled a growing split in wealth between innovators in technology, healthcare and industry, and entrepreneurs in sectors such as entertainment, financial services and real estate, the report said.
That contrasts for most of the past decade “as steady growth and rising asset prices have boosted the wealth of billionaires in all sectors,” the report added.
Now, billionaires who “go against” the trends of technology and society are becoming less wealthy.
This polarization between “creative billionaires” and the rest comes at the end of the decade when the number of billionaires has doubled and total assets nearly tripled.
“Over the past two years, people using technology to change their business models, products and services have taken the lead. The Covid-19 crisis only highlights the difference,” the report added.
In 2018, 2019, and the first seven months of 2020, tech billionaires’ total assets grew 43 percent to $1.8 trillion, while healthcare billionaires increased 50 percent to $ 659 billion.
Billionaires overall grew 19 percent on a year-on-year comparison, with financial services, entertainment, materials and real estate recording an increase of 10 percent or less.
Geographically, mainland China has seen the biggest increase in billionaire wealth in the past 10 years, up nine times compared to the doubling growth in billionaire wealth in the United States.
China’s shift to the digital economy has seen founders of Alibaba (BABA) Jack Ma and Pony Ma of Tencent (TCEHY) become incredibly wealthy, as production and construction tycoons fall behind in wealth.
The report comes amid growing concern that the pandemic will only increase economic inequality, in terms of income, education and health care.
A recent report by the Policy Research Institute, an advisory body, found that over the past two decades, the growth rate of US billionaires’ wealth has been 200 times greater than the average growth rate of wealth.
The 643 richest Americans, including entrepreneurs like Jeff Bezos of Amazon (AMZN) and Elon Musk of Tesla (TSLA), made $ 845 billion in combined assets between March and September, increasing their fortune by almost a third, the report said.
There are also concerns that the rankings of the world’s poorest will rise this year. The United Nations team has warned that global poverty rates could rise for the first time this year since 1990, reversing the decade-long process.
However, according to the UBS report, billionaires are giving away more of their wealth than ever before.
About 209 billionaires pledged $ 7.2 billion between March and June, including financial contributions and manufactured goods.
“Those were early days, but billionaires could be at a turning point, bringing renewables and raising wealth into solving the environmental and social problems that pandemic and natural disasters,” the report said.
The way billionaires structure their finances is currently under stricter scrutiny, as governments tighten laws that allow entrepreneurs and investors to pay less taxes and seek to regulate platforms like Amazon and Facebook (FB).
According to the Institute of Policy Studies, the tax liability of American billionaires as a percentage of their wealth fell 79% between 1980 and 2018.
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