Why will most Americans never become mega millionaires or billionaires?

There are about 536 billionaires in the US and probably more mega millionaires.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_the_number_of_US_dollar_billionaires#/search

Anyway why is this such a small number? Is it that most people don’t have the drive to become wealthy? Is it intelligence? Luck? Or just a mix of certain factors?

What do you think?

Serious answer: Same reason all of our kids can’t be above average. If products and services were priced in such a way as to make their providers millionaires, nobody could afford to buy them.

Republican answer: Taxes.

It is impossible. The Zero-Sum aspects of the system prevent it.

In the first place, wealth only has relative value – see hyperinflation, the Zimbabwe section in particular.* If the median US income was $50,000,000/year, then a loaf of bread would cost $2,888 (extrapolated from current median income of $51,939 and estimated bread cost of $3/loaf). So why do you want everyone to be multi-millionaires?

Question-begging aside, we can’t all be CEOs and investment bankers. Even if that were possible, it is not a desirable outcome. Office Space said it best: “Nobody would clean shit up if they had a million dollars.”

*Inflation by 16 July officially surged to 2,200,000% with some analysts estimating figures surpassing 9,000,000 percent. As of 22 July 2008 the value of the ZWN fell to approximately 688 billion per 1 USD, or 688 trillion pre-August 2006 Zimbabwean dollars.[URL=“https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperinflation#cite_note-53”]

Impossible. Scarcity. Just like how, when it comes to publicity, you can’t have 1 billion people all be “world-famous.”
And if everyone WERE millionaires, there’d be runaway inflation, making millionaire status meaningless.

Also you have to look at it in absolute terms: “Poor” people in the USA live in a paradise of plenty compared to the struggling impoverished of Africa.

Also, although the overall economy is not strictly “zero-sum” (wealth *can *be created or destroyed), it is finite at any given point. However many trillions of printed dollars there are around, there are only so many loaves of bread available today, only so many man-hours of useful labor.
Besides there’s people who would say the contrary of the OP question, that it is scandalous that there are that many billionaires, because, they’ll tell you, nobody really “earns” that much.

If everyone were millionaires then we’ve had hyperinflation which would be much worse for everyone than the situation now.

Respective to much of the third-world, we are essentially millionaires.

Lets say you wanna define rich. Let’s call rich as making 10 times the average person.

No matter how you slice it, you get rich by getting money from other people. Whether it is selling something or being the owner of a company or a bunch of other methods.

I could make collectible widgets all by myself. I suppose I could find some widget addicts that would give ALL their yearly income to me for the widgets. In which case I would only need to find 10 widget addicts to be “rich”. But that is unlikely. A bit more reasonable is 100 widget addicts that would spend 10 percent of their money for collectible widgets. Probably more reasonable is something like 200 to 1000 widget addicts that will spend between 5 percent and 1 percent of their income on widgets. And keep in mind that is for EVERY year. And that is for me being 10 times “richer” than the average person, not ungodly richy rich.

The ONLY practical way to be rich is for one person to make a decent amount off a fair number of people or a little bit of money off of a very large number of people.

But it should be obvious the fraction of rich people HAS to be a small fraction of the total population.

The economy is not a zero-sum game.

Yes. But you don’t just dig a buttload of money out the ground and all of sudden everybody is rich either.

The only way for everybody to be rich before we get magical robots one day is for the economy to be some sort of exact opposite of a zero sum game. Its not a zero sum game but it sure isn’t the opposite either.

If inflation ever hits Zimbabwean proportions–and at some point it will–we’ll all be billionaires.

The economy grows, but like growth in a forest it can only grow so fast, even under optimal conditions, and the conditions are not always optimal.

And if rapid growth does occur it can create a dangerous “bubble” that can burst, destroying a lot of wealth and jobs.

But as to the OP, there’s an old saying: “Anyone can get rich, but not everyone can”.

There’s a flaw in the OP. Yes, there are 536 billionaires and some ungodly number of millionaires…

But I’d bet my last donut that more than half of them inherited their money. The single strongest indicator of whether someone will be rich is if their parents are rich.

short answer: math

Chuancy Gardener…is that you?

According to Thomas J. Stanley’s book, “The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy,” only 20% of millionaires inherited their riches. The other 80% are what you’d call nouveau riche: first generation millionaires who earned their cash on their own. Many millionaires simply worked, saved and lived within their means to generate their wealth - think accountants and managers: regular people going to work every day. Most millionaires didn’t get their riches overnight when a rich relative died - they worked for the money.

US Per captia GDP in 2014 - 54,629.5

In 40 working years that would be 2.185 million. Just taxes take you below the multi-million mark in lifetime earnings. The there’s the issue of even minimum expenses to survive. Unless most Americans figure out a way to be vastly more productive, growing the economy significantly, there’s not enough top split up to make most multi-millionaires.

Then again, the United States, and/or the American national identity, can’t go on forever. So it’s just a question of which uncommon event comes first – national collapse or hyperinflation.

The more serious answer to the OP is that the United States already has a lot of mega millionaires and billionaires, relative to population, compared to other first world nations. This is a symptom of our high degree of income inequality. If, to our misfortune, Ted Cruz is that next President of the United States, and gets his policies passed by a GOP congress, there will be thousands more millionaires, but tens of millions fewer in the middle class.