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The World Will Have its First Trillionaire Within 25 Years

The World Will Have its First Trillionaire Within 25 Years

Written by Alan Pyke

Billionaires will finally have someone to envy by 2040. The world will mint its first trillionaire within 25 years as the wealthiest people’s investment gains push global inequality wider and wider, according to economic forecasters.

The frontrunner for world’s first trillionaire is Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who is currently worth $120 billion. “If the US national wealth carries on growing at its current rate and the richest few continue to increase their share of it in an increasingly polarised economy, Mr Gates will claim the title of world’s first trillionaire in his old age,” according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

If the prediction comes true, it will mean no real change in practical terms for everyone else. The wealth gap in the U.S. is already wider than it has been since the Gilded Age of the early 20th century. Inequality in annual income has earned a lot of attention in recent years, but the separate disparity in total wealth is similarly extreme and poses similar threats to the future stability of markets and society as a whole. At present, the richest 0.1 percent of Americans hold well over 20 percent of all American wealth.

At the same time that wealth has become so concentrated in the hands of the elite few, everyone else’s ability to rise through the economic ranks has been undermined. Economic mobility — the central premise of the American Dream that hard work will be rewarded with ever greater rewards for one’s family and descendants — has stagnated for 20 years. The odds that a child born into poverty will rise into the wealthiest fifth of the income distribution did not improve from the early 1970s to the early 1990s. Factors that determine a person’s chances of rising up the economic ladder include race and education level. Conversely, those born rich are still almost certain to die rich too.

This is in part because of the many ways in which the wealthiest Americans are able to entrench their success. They evade estate taxes through complex but legal accounting schemes that shield their children’s inheritances from the tax man. They find Congress far more responsive to their concerns than to those of poor and middle-income families. And they are better positioned to capture the gains from stock market booms and withstand the losses from downturns.

Meanwhile, the middle class — the key economic cohort for maintaining mobility both within a person’s lifetime and over generations — is disappearing.

This post originally appeared on ThinkProgress

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Photo Credit: US Treasury Department via Wikimedia Commons

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68 comments

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12:33PM PDT on Aug 23, 2014

Adopt me

8:01PM PDT on Jul 26, 2014

With all his billions, Gates has done NOTHING to help the earth's ongoing environmental catastrophe or to help wildlife. I wouldn't trust Gates as far as I could spit.

7:20PM PDT on May 27, 2014

I think we are like the bees. We have colony collapse disorder. Just think of what it will be like by their 2040 guestimate. I really hope I am not around to see it.

12:26PM PDT on May 10, 2014

Yes, the wealthier are becoming more so and middle class is being eroded and the number of poor increasing. We are heading eventually for a significant show down between the haves and have-nots. What the haves have on their side, however, are the governments, the military and even their own private "security" forces.

We need to make significant changes now -- but too many of the poor and middle class are brainwashed and continue to drink the Kool-Aid at faux and elsewhere.

4:42AM PDT on May 10, 2014

what could one person or one family possibly need or do with all that money? they'd be well advised to remember the French Revolution. when people are hungry, they may show up at your door with pitchforks

2:40AM PDT on May 10, 2014

Obscene! I'll never understand why any one feels the need for so much money - though I do realise it's all about power,rather than just cash.

11:51PM PDT on May 9, 2014

ty

8:20PM PDT on May 9, 2014

ummm the Rothschilds are worth over 250 trillion and have been for years!

7:17PM PDT on May 9, 2014

Thanks for sharing. If all millionaires would pledge to give away half of their money like Warren Buffet did, we would not see this happen. And poverty would not killing so many people every year. And still the republicans vote down a minimum wage raise. Really sad.

7:06PM PDT on May 9, 2014

STOP THIS INSANITY NOW!!

Millions go hungry while these billionaires buy elections! The bribes alone would pay to feed every hungry child in America. To balance that Minimum Wage we need to implement a MAXIMUM WAGE!

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