Now, more than ever, we are very much aware of the extreme economic inequality between the rich and the poor. The disparity has continuously increased, such that the rich have become richer and the poor are getting poorer.
A recent report stated that the top 100 billionaires in the world have added some $240 billion to their incomes just for the year 2012 alone. This amount can already end world hunger four times over.
In the United States, the wealth of the top 1% is more than the combined wealth of 90% of Americans. This kind of situation does not just happen in the United States. In China, the wealth of the top 10% richest people contributes 60% to the total income of the country. The same scenario is happening in countries in South America as well.
Here are the Top 10 billionaires who can actually significantly contribute to ending world poverty and hunger if they so wished.
10. Bernard Arnault and Family Net Worth: $29 billion
French businessman and known art collector Bernard Arnault is the current chairman and chief executive officer of LVMH Moët Hennessy • Louis Vuitton S.A. or LVMH, a merger of the Louis Vuitton and Moët and Chandon. Through the years, LVMH has made so many acquisitions, making it the top luxury powerhouse in the world today. Among these acquisitions are Celine, Berluti, Kenzo, Guerlain, Loewe, Marc Jacobs, Sephora, Emilio Pucci, DKNY and Fendi, among others.
Through his holding company, Europatweb, Arnault also has investments in Boo.com, Zebank and Libertysurf and Netflix. He acquired some 10% of Carrefour and went into the yacht business through Princess Yachts.
9. Liliane Bettencourt and Family Net Worth: $30 billion
The world’s richest woman is 90 years old and has her fortune invested in arguably the world’s largest cosmetics and beauty company, L’Oreal. The beauty and cosmetics powerhouse was inherited by Liliane Bettencourt in 1957 from her father, who founded it in 1907. The L’Oréal Group is based in Paris and is at the forefront of developing products concentrating on skin care, hair color, hair care, make-up, and perfumes. Her foundation, the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation, has an asset of $204 million and annual budget of $20.4 million.
8. Li Ka-shing Net Worth: $31 billion
Adding some $5.5 billion to his fortune last year alone,84 year old Li Ka-shing, is considered Asia’s richest person. He has major controls on holdings that include Cheung Kong, Hutchison Whampoa, and Husky Energy. He supplies gas to 25% of the United Kingdom with his recent acquisition, Wales & West Utilities. He oversees some 260,000 employees spread throughout 52 countries. He has investments in Facebook, Spotify, Stevie, Kaiima, Hola.org, and Everything.Me. Recently, Li Ka-shing has announced that his son Victor will succeed him and take over the management of his businesses.
7. David Koch Net Worth: $36 billion
American businessman, philanthropist, and chemical engineer David Koch heads Koch Industries, the country’s second largest private company. This conglomerate has been steadily growing through the years with annual revenues of $115 billion, increasing Koch’s net worth to $5 billion this year. Koch Industries is involved in manufacturing, distribution, and trading investments. Its newest acquisitions include Molex, Buckeye Technologies, and Guardian Technologies.
6. Charles Koch Net Worth: $36 billion
The Chairman and CEO of Koch Industries is Charles Koch, who works alongside his brother, David, in the country’s second largest private conglomerate. Both Charles and David own equal shares in the company. Charles has been occupying the top seat in the company since 1967. They inherited the company from their father, Fred Koch, who started the company in 1940 and ventured initially into the crude oil refinery industry.
5. Larry Ellison Net Worth: $41 billion
College dropout Larry Ellison is a self-made man who is the co-founder and CEO of Oracle Corp. This software executive is also a jet fighter pilot and sailing enthusiast, which means he collects yachts, airplanes, and properties. The 69-year-old billionaire is a stakeholder in Astex Pharmaceuticals, Salesforce.com, Quark Biotechnology Inc. and NetSuite.
4. Warren Buffett Net Worth: $58.5 billion
Another self-made billionaire is Warren Buffett, whose wealth is largely from Berkshire Hathaway. As the CEO of Bershire Hathaway, he manages and oversees Helzberg Diamonds, GEICO, Lubrizol, Dairy Queen, NetJets, BNSF, Fruit of the Loom, and NetJets. As one of the largest multinational conglomerates in the United States, Berkshire Hathaway also has investments in American Express, Heinz, The Coca-Cola Company, IBM, Mars Inc., and Wells Fargo. Buffett is noted for his philosophy on value investment and generosity, vowing to donate 99% of his fortune to philanthropic causes.
3. Amancio Ortega Net Worth: $57 billion
Amancio Ortega, Spain’s wealthiest man, earned the biggest increase gaining $19.5 billion for last year alone. Ortega is the founding chairman of the Inditex group, which has 6,000 outlets for Zara, Zara Home, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Pull and Bear, Oysho, Kiddy’s Class, Stradivarius, and Tempe. Ortega started Zara on 1975 in A Coruña, Galicia, Spain. Although he stepped down as chairman of Inditex in 2011, he still maintains 59.29% of the company’s shares. Ortega also owns various properties, majority of which he acquired during the financial crisis. He also owns the 43-story skyscraper in Madrid called, Torre Picasso, and other buildings in major cities of the world such as New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Madrid, and London.
2. Bill Gates Net Worth: $72 billion
A college dropout from Harvard, he co-founded the world’s largest software company, Microsoft. This has made Bill Gates the richest man or top billionaire for so many years. So great is his fortune that even if he gives away most of his fortune to fund the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, he still regularly makes it to the list of wealthiest men and women in the world. Gates is a staunch advocate of so many causes and has been able to generate some $300 million from other billionaires to fund efforts to eradicate polio. Gates, through his investment firm, Cascade, owns Femsa, Deere & Co., and the Canadian National Railway.
1. Carlos Slim Helu and Family Net Worth: $73 billion
With the stock prices of Grupo Financiero Inbursa and Grupo Carso steadily rising, Carlos Slim Helu continues to enjoy the top spot in the billionaires list for four years now. Helu does not hold any executive posts in any of the companies he controls, but serves as advisor to his sons who hold the top posts. His listed companies include America Movil, a Pan-Latin American mobile telecom company; KPN, Dutch telecom company; and Telekom Austria, an Austrian telecom company. His other companies are engaged in infrastructure, real estate, and mining.
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