It may sound crazy, but there’s a good chance that we’ll all live to see the world’s first trillionaire. The richest man in the world, billionaire Bill Gates, currently has a relatively modest fortune of $85 billion. Still, given annual growth rates, compounding interest, and advancing economies around the world, he could eclipse the $1 trillion mark in the near future. True, he’s only 8.5% of the way there — but Gates and several others are within striking distance.
The richest person of all time, African monarch Mansa Musa, was worth roughly $400 billion in the early 1300s. Since then, we’ve seen several other billionaires stretch their fortunes into the twelve figures. Names like Carnegie, Rockefeller, and even Ford have amassed immense amounts of wealth throughout history. But nobody has been able to become a trillionaire — or even come close.
That is likely to change between now and 2050, or perhaps even sooner. A new report from Oxfam reveals a realistic path for many of the world’s richest individuals to reach the $1 trillion mark. As impressive as that is, it highlights an issue that has been gaining a lot of attention over the past several years: Drastic amounts of inequality.
“The 1,810 dollar billionaires on the 2016 Forbes list, 89% of whom are men, own $6.5 trillion — as much wealth as the bottom 70% of humanity,” Oxfam’s report states. For now, though, trillionaire status is still out of reach for those at or near the top of the Forbes list.