Column: Centibillionaires highlight wealth gap in America

Destiny Blanchard

A new word has been created to describe the richest of all people and the word is centibillionaire. Centibillionaire describes a billionaire who has a personal fortune exceeding a hundred billion dollars.

Although the majority of people can recognize that they will never achieve enough wealth to become a billionaire, the amount of work required and the money needed to acquire billionaire status, let alone centibillionaire, is astronomical and unattainable to 99% of us. But for the one percent, that status is reserved for a few people.

There are only five centibillionaires in the world, four of which are Americans and all of which are men. The richest of these men is Jeff Bezos with a net worth of $182 billion. In fact, it’s likely that he will reach $200 billion and will then have the label of double centibillionaire.

Bezos is not only the richest man in the world today but is the richest human in the history of all mankind. He has more money than most countries and will continue to accumulate more. The other centibillionaires include Elon Musk, Bill Gates, French luxury good tycoon Bernard Arnold, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

The milestone of becoming a centibillionaire is somewhat disturbing and shows the increasingly widening disparities of wealth, specifically in the United States. In total, the United States has 650 billionaires with a combined net worth of almost $4 trillion.

Over the course of the pandemic, Americans have been worried about their health, their jobs, and the economy. At the same time, millions of Americans have lost their jobs, been at risk for homelessness, and continue to wait for economic assistance from our government. COVID-19 has led to the worst economic crisis since the 1930s and yet billionaire wealth has grown by a third this year alone.

The wealth of these billionaires is so substantial that they could easily fund a relief bill for COVID-19, buy PPE to restock overflowing hospitals and double the pay of the employees of their many companies and still remain massively wealthy.

At the moment all we can do is take in this information and discuss it amongst ourselves. We can hope that one day the discussion isn’t about how much money these billionaires have, but what the path is for the average person to feel like the road to financial stability isn’t a hard one.

 

Destiny Blanchard is a junior management major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]