Worlds first trillionaire

Is it possible in the next 50 years for someone to become the worlds first trillionaire? Who might be some of the candidates and how could they possibly accumulate that much wealth?

A nice catastrophic economic crisis followed by massive inflation followed by a recovery could make it a reality pretty quickly.

Silvio Berlusconi was a trillionaire, until they abolished the lira…

According to The Wealthy 100: From Benjamin Franklin to Bill Gates–A Ranking of the Richest Americans, Past and Present, Klepper and Gunther said that Bill Gates’ net worth of $93 billion at was 1/425 of the US GNP (Forbes article). Gates is the world’s richest man today. To go to $1 trillion in today’s dollars, Gates would have to have more than 100 times his current wealth, or about 1/4 of the GNP. Rockefeller had the highest ratio of wealth to GNP at 1/44. It seems unlikely that anybody could amass wealth equivalent to 10 times that, one quarter of the GNP. Rampant inflation might change the picture, although I’m not sure economically who is in the best position to make that kind of money in a time of high inflation.

I think you made a mistake there Gas. 1 trillion = 1000 billion. Therefore, Mr. Gates is almost 10% of the way there already with $93 billion and would only need 10.75 his current amount to make it to $1 trillion.

Apart from the arithmetic mistake, which has been pointed out:

The quoted Forbes article is from 1999 - Gates’ fortune has since been shaved to fifty billion, give or take, depending largely on MSFT’s current share price. I saw a documentary once which stated that nobody’s fortune has represented a larger slice of the pie than Cornelius Vanderbilt’s. That article places him in third place. Of course, these comparisons are hard to make, and different sets of reasonable assumptions will probably lead to different answers.

Also, the US GNP projected to be around $9 trillion and change this year, so it’s only 1/9, not a 1/4, that someone would have to amass, but the point remains that a trillionaire is unlikely to happen until that figure is subtantially larger, one way or another, or something VERY radical happens that would allow a single individual to build up a truly enormous percentage of the country’s wealth. In the last century, the trend has been the other direction, no matter how mind-bogglingly rich Gates and Buffett are.

his initials are jgs and he will be a tillionaire before 2020

In what currency?


It’s GDP - Gross Domestic Product. It hasn’t been GNP - Gross National Product - for many years. And the current GDP is over $14 trillion.

You’re also forgetting the power of compounding. At a 7% increase a year*, the GDP would double every ten years. So in much less than 20 years a Rockefellerian 1/44 would be a trillion. In 50 years, the GDP would be over $400 trillion and a mere trillionaire would be looked down upon.

In addition, the richest man in the world is apparently Mexican industrialist Carlos Slim. Newsweek reported that his companies make up 42% of the basic Mexican stock index. He’ll have a far better chance to be a trillionaire than any American, who is limited in how many monopolies he can own.

*We wish.

Ooh, me! Me!

oh, thought you were taking volunteers…

Technically, the already is/was one, according to Forbes,

John D. Rockefeller- $1,400,000,000

I hope it is some computer nerd who invents the sex-bot in the 2030s.

As a pure WAG, I figure with inflation the timeline would be sometime in the 2080s. Gates had 100 billion back in the 90s during Microsoft’s heyday. Had he started the company totally by himself (w/o Allen and others) he may have had closer to 200 billion.

Huh? Do you mean if that was converted into 2010 dollars?

False. Carlos Slim is, and he passed Gates back in April. Where have you been?

Enjoy the smooth flavor of Carlos Slims.

Stuck in 2002, apparently. :smiley:

Look at the date of the post. The thread was dormant that long until tgs111 zombie-bumped it.

While someone like Rockefeller or Vanderbilt might have been (proportionately) the richest American ever, who was (proportionately) richest ever among all people?

I’ve no idea what the answer is, but will mention a few ancients supposed to be very wealthy:
[ul][li] Marcus Licinius Crassus (Triumvir, died 53 BC)[/li][li] Guillaume de Varennes (who faught under William the Conqueror at Hastings and became Earl of Surrey)[/li][li] Henry Cardinal Beaufort (son of John of Gaunt)[/li][li] Tiberius Claudius Hipparchus of Marathon[/li][li] Hipponicus II (Ammon) of Athens[/li][/ul]

I’ve omitted sovereigns from the above list. Otherwise some ridiculously wealthy persons would need mention: e.g. Kublai Khan (d. 1294) and Charles Hapsburg (d. 1558) who was King of Spain AND “the Romans” AND headed the Austrian Empire.

I have several genuine 100 trillion dollar bills from Zimbabwe. They are only worth a few cents real money as a curiosity.

Wow! I’d be delighted to buy some for several cents, for their curiosity value.

I once had an antique U.S. $500 bill. Did it have a numismatic value of $500.02, or something? (A drug dealer acquaintance said it was no big deal, he and his friends supposedly using $1000 bills in their deals. True?)