Analysts predict that the world’s first trillionaire will emerge on the planet — and it may be sooner than we think. This is someone who is worth at least this much: $1,000,000,000,000. The world may appear to be in chaos, but the wealthy charge on, “despite plunging oil prices and a weakened euro,” reports Forbes magazine, which has identified a record 1,826 billionaires. Combined, they have a net worth of $7.05 trillion, which would pay less than half of the current federal debt. But no matter. The list includes 290 newcomers, 71 of whom hail from China.
The young, restless and commercially canny are also among the ranks. A record 46 among the billionaire ranks are under age 40. With such a good head start, will they notch it up to trillionaire by the time they are, say, 60? Analysts are already forecasting that the first trillionaire will emerge in the next two decades. Some - like entrepreneur Peter Diamandis - claim it will be through enterprises in space, where natural resources abound. He has outlined his ideas in a new book titled “Bold.”
Meanwhile, it is what it is. Here are a few young billionaires - and what entrepreneurial enterprise got them there: Travis Kalanik ($5.3 billion, founder of Uber); Russ Weiner ($2.1 billion; developed Rockstar Energy drinks); Brian Chesky, ($2 billion founded Airbnb), Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy (worth $1.5 billion each; founded Snapchat); Markus “Notch’ Persson ($1.3 billion; developed Minecraft, a video game).
International investment bank Credit Suisse, predicted in an annual Global Wealth Report that there will be 11 trillionaires within two generations, noting, “Future extrapolation of current wealth growth rates yields almost a billion millionaires, equivalent to 20 per cent of the total adult population.”
But for now, a familiar face is the on top.
“Bill Gates is once again the richest person on the planet, a title he’s held for 16 of the past 21 years. His fortune grew $3.2 billion since last year to $79.2 billion,” Forbes notes. Incidentally, that looks like this: $79,200,000,000.
Meanwhile, the scientific community is prepared, should even greater numerical designations are needed. Though a waggish bumpersticker once noted, “Don’t tell Obama what comes after a trillion,” there’s plenty of numbers ready. A quadrillion comes after a trillion, followed by quintillion, sextillion, septillion, octillion and nonillion — this according to academic sources.
• Jennifer Harper can be reached at email@example.com.
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