2017 was a major year for billionaires. In addition to the passage of a massive tax plan in the United States that favored them, billionaires worldwide made more money than in any other year in recorded history.
These mega-rich increased their wealth by a $1.4 trillion which is more than the entire GDP of Spain or Australia.
The new report, released by Swiss bank UBS, that details this massive growth also stated that the rate at which the super-wealthy’s fortunes are rising is far greater than the turn of the 20th century, during the time of families such as the Rothschilds, Rockefellers, and Vanderbilts. John D Rockefeller became the world’s first billionaire in 1916.
“The past 30 years have seen far greater wealth creation than the Gilded Age” the UBS Billionaires 2018 report states. “That period bred generations of families in the US and Europe who went on to influence business, banking, politics, philanthropy and the arts for more than 100 years. With wealth set to pass from entrepreneurs to their heirs in the coming years, the 21st century multi-generational families are being created.”
This increase in wealth is a whopping 20 percent, bringing the total combined fortune of the world’s billionaires to $8.9 trillion.
UBS also notes that the world now has a total of 2,158 billionaires. 179 new billionaires were created last year. 585 of these billionaires are in the United States, which houses the most of any one country in the world.
Meanwhile, 18.5 million Americans live in extreme poverty and “5.3 million live in Third World conditions of absolute poverty.”
UBS notes that 40 of the 179 new billionaires created last year inherited their wealth, an overwhelming number of which are men. This trend is expected to continue over the next 20 years.
The UBS report concludes, “A major wealth transition has begun. Over the past five years, the sum passed by deceased billionaires to beneficiaries has grown by an average of 17 percent each year. Over the next two decades we expect a wealth transition of $3.4 trillion worldwide—almost 40 percent of current total billionaire wealth.”
“The calculation is simple. There are 701 billionaires over the age of 70, whose wealth will transition to heirs and philanthropy over the next 20 years, given the statistical probability of average life expectancy.”