Economics/Class Relations

The Richest People in the World in 2022

I’m always suspicious of some of these “world’s richest people” lists for precisely that reason. They tend to leave off some of these older royal, aristocratic, banking, and industrial dynasties that extend back for centuries. For instance, I suspect that some of the royal dynasties in Europe and the Middle East like the House of Saud are trillionaires. And the wealth of these dynastic families in the US or banking families in Europe tend to be spread over multiple individuals and institutions as well.

The true measure of wealth is not what one formally owns on paper but the resources at one command in terms of capital, labor, resources, and influence. For instance, a lot of these televangelist types might pay themselves a comparatively modest salary on a formal level, but all of their wealth is in the name of their church or some kind of tax-exempt non-profit. So they will have private jets they use whenever they want even if they don’t formally own them.

A lot of the wealth of the Rockefellers, Kennedys, Mellons, Carnegies, Fords, etc seems to be structured in that way. And it’s the same way with the House of Windsor, House of Saudi, the Kuwaiti royals, Rothschilds, Warburgs, etc. Also, institutional wealth, and having controlling interests in institutions also matter a great deal. Those who comprise the major shareholder blocks in Black Rock, Vanguard, State Street, etc have an economic and political (not to mention media) reach way beyond what might appear on paper. A lot of these tech entrepreneurs and hedge fund manager types that make it onto these lists are really more of an upper middle class as far as the global distribution of wealth goes, even if they are formally the world’s richest people.

The people from that level of the elite don’t typically present themselves in public the way the celebrity billionaires do. They’re infinitely more secretive and insulated. For instance, the Rockefellers include at least 150 people that collectively have access to virtually unlimited wealth, resources, and influence, but they’re never out in front the way Bezos and guys like that are.

By Dorothy Neufield, Visual Capitalist

The Richest People in the World in 2022

Today, the 10 richest people in the world control $1.3 trillion in wealth.

This scale of wealth is equal to approximately 1.4% of the world economy, Amazon’s entire market cap, or spending $1 million a day for 3,000 years. In fact, it’s double the amount seen just two years ago ($663 billion).

As billionaire wealth accumulates at a remarkable speed, we feature a snapshot of the world’s richest in 2022, based on data from the Forbes Real-Time Billionaires List.

Top 10 Richest People in the World

Elon Musk, with a fortune of $212 billion, is the richest person on the planet.

Tesla delivered nearly one million vehicles globally in 2021. Despite facing a computer chip shortage, Tesla deliveries rose 87% year-over-year. Musk, who is also CEO and chief engineer of SpaceX, plans to send the largest rocket ever built into orbit in 2022. It spans 119 meters tall.

Here are the richest people in the world, based on data as of March 14, 2022:

Rank Name Source Net Worth (Mar 2022) Net Worth (Mar 2021) Change 2021-22
1 Elon Musk Tesla, SpaceX $212B $151B $61B
2 Jeff Bezos Amazon $168B $177B -$9B
Bernard Arnault & family
LVMH $159B $150B $9B
4 Bill Gates Microsoft $130B $124B $6B
5 Warren Buffett
Berkshire Hathaway
$119B $96B $23B
6 Larry Page Google $108B $92B $16B
7 Larry Ellison Oracle $105B $93B $12B
8 Sergey Brin Google $105B $89B $16B
Mukesh Ambani
Diversified $91B $85B $6B
10 Steve Ballmer Microsoft $90B $69B $21B

With a net worth of $168 billion, Jeff Bezos falls in second place. Bezos is the only billionaire in the top 10 to see a decline in wealth (-$9 billion) over the year. Since last March, Amazon shares have risen just 3% in light of weaker earnings and lagging retail performance.


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