25 Families Own $1.1 trillion between them as the Global Wealth Inequality Gap Chasms

Donate

Written by Rosa Tressell and Dr. Leon Tressell exclusively for SouthFront

Once a family-owned business Forbes is well known for producing their annual list of the world’s richest billionaires. Launched in 1982 the original list ranked the top 400 Americans by net worth. Only 13 billionaires were included in that list, and their combined worth was the equivalent of 2.8% of GDP. In an era where “Greed is Good”, the list became wildly popular, by 2000 the combined net worth of the top 400 equated to 12.2% of US GDP. So prestigious became the list that an ex-employee of Forbes has claimed that Donald J Trump inflated his personal wealth to be included.

This year more than 2,200 billionaires made the Forbes list with a combined value of $9.1 trillion, or half the GDP of the US. Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, topped the list this year as his fortune rose to £112 billion making him the first centi-billionaire. His wealth is now equal to that of 2.3 million Americans. This has allowed him to dethrone Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, worth just $90 billion.

Using data from their list Forbes has produced a list of the top 25 richest families in the world. Together they are worth over $1.1 trillion, or the entire GDP of Indonesia. The richest clan is the Walton family who own the ubiquitous Walmart chain in America. They have a total family wealth of £152 billion and several family members are on the list of billionaires as individuals. The Koch Brothers, of Koch Industries, are ranked second with £98.7 billion. The third spot, with $90 billion to their name, is taken by another American family, the Mars family, known for their various sweet treats.

In comparison to the billionaires list this list is a measure of families who have inherited and grown their wealth over generations. The billionaires list is dominated by Americans in certain fields; technology, finance, entertainment and sport. It lauds entrepreneurism and promotes the self-made man (and small handful of women). The family fortunes list on the other hand reveals a more historical route for making money. Whilst Jeff Bezos has shot to the top of the list based largely on the astonishingly over valued share price of Amazon stock, the family fortunes are centered on the production and purveyance of goods.

Many of the families on the list started making their fortunes in the late nineteenth century. These are: Cargill Industries (agricultural conglomerate); Boehringer Ingelhelm (pharmaceuticals); Cox Enterprises (communications); Hyatt Hotels (hotels); SC Johnson (household goods); Roche (pharmaceuticals); and the Hearst Corporation (media). Meanwhile the Van Damme/De Spoelberch/De Mevius family (ranked fourth with a fortune of $54.1 billion) have been brewing quality Belgian beer, like Stella Artois, dating back centuries.

The production and purveyance of quality high end goods as a means to fortune is evident as BMW (the Quandt family), Chanel (the Wertheimer family) and Hermes (the Dumas family) find these families all ranked in the top ten.

Reliance Industries is the fist non-Western entry. A Mumbai-based energy conglomerate, it was founded by Dhirubhai Ambani in 1957 and is now worth $43.4 billion. It was his ambition to be the world’s richest man. However, following his untimely death there was a very public and acrimonious dispute between his two sons revolving around the inheritance. The widow eventually brokered a settlement and the family fortune goes on, but it does show how easily a family fortune can be dissipated.

In addition to Walmart there are two other families that have made their fortunes in retail. The Albrecht Brothers who founded Aldi are ranked 11th with a $38.8 billion fortune followed at twelfth by the Mulliez family who founded Auchan, France’s equivalent of Walmart. At thirteenth spot, with a fortune of £34 billion, is the Kwok family. They started in business as a grocery wholesaler but they really made their money when they moved into Hong Kong real estate in the 1970s. Similarly the Lee family from South Korea began as grocery exporters but have made their fortune as the worlds largest producers of smart phones with their company Samsung.

There is some methodology to the list that requires explanation. Bloomberg’s categorisation of family wealth is based on reliable, sourced documentation. They add up family members assets, including stakes in public and private companies, real estate, art and cash, and takes into account debts. It excludes first-generation fortunes and those in the hands of a single heir. It also excludes those who have derived their fortune from the state. This explains why there are no Chinese families on the list and only three from the Asian region. As newly found wealth is handed down this looks set to change.

The Forbes list also excludes members of royal families and dictators who derive their fortunes entirely as a result of their position of power. Nor do they value those holding fortunes in trust for their nations. So, despite being worth untold billions, families like the royal family of Brunei or the British monarchs are absent. Quantifying this wealth is difficult. For example, Buckingham Palace alone would be valued in excess of $5 billion, however there would certainly be conflict with Parliament if the Queen wanted to sell it!

Many billionaires positively don’t want to be on the list. They don’t want the publicity for their families with the increased risk of kidnapping, being hit up for money, questions from the tax man or even from law enforcement. Kenichi Shinoda, current Kingpin of the Yakuza, is rumoured to be worth billions but is known to keep a low financial profile. There is also plenty of Western media speculation that the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, is actually the world’s richest man. The Bush family have amassed a vast fortune, and there are allegations that much of it has been amassed behind the political scenes in various CIA backed gun and drug running operations.

Calculations of wealth, for individuals or families, can be obfuscated by the numerous off shore arrangements that exist today. Historically, many of the world’s largest landowners are not officially registered as a result of having held title to the land for centuries. In addition trusts, foundations and “charities” allows for the ownership and management of assets in a more private manner. Wealthy families pay professionals a healthy wage to minimise their exposure to the taxman – especially avoidance of inheritance tax.

Absent from the list are the giant banking families, the Rockefellers, the Morgans and the Rothschilds; famed for being on every conspiracy theory list as powers behind the scene. The report says that their fortunes are too diffuse and diversified to correctly value. Other families suspected of wielding their riches for their own political and social agendas include the DuPonts, the Astors, the Bundys and the Freemans, to name a few. Families that like to keep their immense fortunes and their activities confidential.

To have such wealth is naturally to have much power. Certain families, like the Bushes and the Kennedys used their cash to enter politics. The Koch Brothers have already pledged $400 million to the Republicans for the 2018 mid-term elections and their support was seen as instrumental in securing Donald J Trump’s election victory. The Walmart Family Foundation is one of America’s largest political donors, and is described as a “heavy hitter” from the Centre of Responsive Politics. Economic advantage is translated into legislative favours via lobbying and campaign donations. For example, one Arkansas Congresswoman who supported the repeal of an estate tax received $83,650 from the Walton Family Foundation and  now works for them as a lobbyist. This exemplifies the corrupt relationship between economic and democratic inequality and is indicative of a system where the majority feel their voice is irrelevant.

Capitalism is built on an idea that a rising tide lifts all ships. We are supposed to look up to these rich families as examples of our betters. Underlying the lists that Forbes assembles is a worshiping of the rich. Underpinning the American dream is that its possible for anyone or any family to make it (onto the list). However, even Scrooge McDuck must be envious of the enormous fortunes of these families. As the wealth inequality gap grows within countries, especially the Western nations, there is the risk that the social fabric is coming apart at the seams. When 40% of Americans have less then $500 in savings the material basis for living the Dream is seriously compromised. Indeed, this could all turn just as easily into anger as people see that the six individual Walmart heirs alone have more wealth than the bottom 30% of the US population, and they ask themselves is this fair?

This report confirms accelerating trends towards further wealth disparity. Reports by Oxfam have shown a gaping chasm of global inequality. In 2017 3.7 billion people saw no increase in their wealth, whilst 82% of the wealth created went to the top 1%.

According to the World Inequality Report 2018:

If established trends in wealth inequality were to continue, the top 0.1% alone will own more wealth than the global middle class by 2050.

Donald Trump’s ambition to be included on the list displays his naked ambition for money, power and success. In his school of market economics, of dog eat dog, this trend is only the logic of the market. It is seen as aspirational by those at the top and by magazines like Forbes. However, even the 1% at Davos earlier this year had wealth inequality on the agenda. As the social fabric tears, political and social instability will increase. The Brexit vote, driven by the anger of the dispossessed English working class, for example, has turned the UK’s traditional stability on its head.  Anger is brewing below the surface everywhere and the probability of social and political uprisings throughout the globe are increasing.

Donate

SouthFront

Do you like this content? Consider helping us!

  • neil barron

    Well, well, well, another bunch that is headed to the scrap book of history. Commie in Commie out! In doing a search I found that you 2 are hiding behind ink and an empty brain, you did not know that leftist or worse have a mental disease are filed in with all the great men and women of that ilk. That’s where I found you two,not in the hall’s of greatness but the cesspool of that dystopian history.
    PUFF!!

  • Snowglobe
  • Freespirit

    Very strange that, the fact the House of Rothschild owns, in Cash , Assets, International TRUSTS,including BANKS, amounting to estimates of up to 500 TRILLION, is not mentioned ! Even the House of Windsor and Vatican each own more than that 1.1 trillion.

    Could it mean the Authors of this article didn’t do their homework orrrrrrrrr, are they “CONTROLLED OPPOSITION” with TITLES.

    The cynic I am, votes for the latter because it cannot seem “so bad” when 25 families are required to own only 1.1 Trillion as opposed to if only 1 Family has about 500 Trillion, so there must be a chance for we, peons, right?

    I wonder who pays the Authors of this article with family name “Tressel”.

    • Dear Freespirit, we have the same questions. But they should be addressed not to Mr Tressell, but to the author of Bloomberg’s article. Mr Tressell just commented the original article.
      Sincerely yours,
      SF Team

      • Freespirit

        The PRELUDE, “caveat” by SF,to the article, to wit: “Written by Rosa Tressell and Dr. Leon Tressell exclusively for SouthFront”, leads one to believe that, yes WRITERS, Leon and Rosa, may have used the original publication article, plus, I would hope, from other articles, as well, for certain data, as any RESPONSIBLE Journalist would. They, evidently, chose the figures they wrote about, from their “research” which they believed, most reliable, in their opinion, and to be the best

        Bloomberg or Forbes did not force them at gunpoint to write what they did, at least I assume, Bloomberg or Forbes did not use coercion.

        HOWEVER, that same “Prelude”, as I call it, definitely tells me the writers, Rosa and Leon agree with it and thus what they wrote, represents their conviction ,also. From “all” their sources, they chose certain Data, which most represents their research and conclusions

        So my question, to repeat, is, “Did they not do their homework or are they Controlled opposition”

        I Therefore I stand by that, but thanks for your feedback,S.F.

        • Luutzen

          Agreed: the Rothschilds, Rockevellers, Morgans have ruled the world, at least since 1800. Now Soros, Adelson seem tobe their most active pawns.

          Ofcourse, the Forbes list is intended for the public to worship the “hardworking, honest, kind and intelligent” Billionaires.

          Forbes = brainwashing sheeple into Billionaires worshipping (90%).

          Solutions:
          End private central banking: the FED, ECB, …BIS, IMF. Congress,parliaments issue new money debtfree only, for public projects.

          Assetstrip the Billinaires by Law: limit private equity 100 million and company size to market 5%

          • Freespirit

            Thanks and check my final reply to them, with links

        • Dear Freespirit, if you are ready to write your own article on this topic using expanded data from various sources, SF is ready to publish it. Please, contact us via info@southfront.org on this matter.
          We also ask you to avoid personal attacks against the authors.
          Sincerely yours,
          SF Team

          • Freespirit

            I may just take you up on that invitation , by simply giving you links to proper sources, as long as i can use my name “Freespirit”.

            By the way, telling the TRUTH about people is NEVER an attack, except in the minds of those who have something to hide, such as, but not limited to, those Ashkenazi Jews who imply or even say they are SEMITES, when they are not.

            Thanks for your feedback, once more

          • Freespirit

            My apologies for taking so long to get back to you with results, but I was busy, in researching for other comments, contacts and family matters plus I knew this was an easy task not worth rushing about:

            There are many sources but I chose 4 of the better ones, ESPECIALLY the one by. a virtually unknown, but very credible Dr.Lasha Darkmoon , whom I have followed for a couple of years about other political matters

            Mainstream Sources are totally unreliable, (to use soft-speak), as they are
            either Owned, Controlled or Managed by the House of Rothschild and/or their
            “Useful Idiots. The last thing they want is for you to know the disgusting
            UNEARNED WORTH they have stolen, when they could make EVERY starving and impoverished person on this planet live in comfort.

            Their TALMUD discourages helping,Gentiles or as they say”Goy” (Cattle)

            Here they are:

            https://www.darkmoon.me/2017/the-fabulous-wealth-of-the-rothschilds/

            https://www.darkmoon.me/2017/the-fabulous-wealth-of-the-rothschilds/

            http://richglare.com/rothschild-family-networth-money/

            http://www.getnetworth.com/tag/rothschilds-worth-500-trillion/

            A copy of this is being emailed to you,also.

    • Kell McBanned

      It was 500 trillion in the 1800s, id assume they may well have made more since then despite seemingly dissapearing off the map..

      • Freespirit

        I’d be interested in your Credible LINK SOURCE to the info that they had 500 Trillion in the 1800’s

  • leon mc pilibin

    Fake news,,Where are the zionist rothschild and the rest of the zionist scumbags that have robbed humanity for centuries?.The Synagogue of Satan.

  • Marko

    “…Bezos…topped the list this year as his fortune rose to £112 billion making him the first centi-billionaire. His wealth is now equal to that of 2.3 million Americans. ”

    Bezos’ wealth is equal to that of a LOT more Americans than 2.3 million.

    If you have a net worth of 10 cents , your wealth is greater than ~ 20% of Americans – combined – all of whom have zero or negative net worth.

  • Harvey Swinestein

    Conveniently omitting the real culprits: the ZioNazi money manipulators, who orchestrated major world wars, which gave them more control over the financial destinies of the West (as well as occupation of Palestine) and who orchestrated the 1929 Crash, which wiped out all Goyim financial power, placing it all in their hands . .

    • Sinbad2

      So is Bill Gates a Jew?
      Is Jamie Dimon a Jew?
      How about Jeff Bezos, or Warren Buffet?

      Sure there are a lot of filthy rich Jews, but their greed is not limited to their religion, a lot of Protestant Americans, and Muslims from all over the world are just as greedy as the rich Jews.

      It’s American culture that is the real criminal.

      • Luke Hemmming

        Actually the most richest is the Rothschild’s (a Zionist Jew family) family but as the article said it is too hard to diffuse their wealth, which at ballpark estimates would be in the hundreds of trillions when you add up all their assets, shares, money, real estate etc etc etc. But of course because they own large portions of the mainstream media don’t expect a full disclosure of their true wealth as a collective coming anytime soon. That my friend is privileged information… for the privileged that is, which is not us.

        • Sinbad2

          Hundreds of trillions?
          Mmm would that be in US dollars, or cookies?

          The reason I ask, is the US has about 14 trillion in total.
          Rothschilds is a very rich and powerful bank but no more so than Goldman-Sachs or JP Morgan.
          The Jews have been milking the world for thousands of years, but the violence and poverty afflicting the world, has risen dramatically with the USA.
          Did you know the US Navy shelled Korea in the 1800’s, to force Korea to trade with the USA?

          What you call the Jews, is really the USA, it’s the USA that is the problem, and that problem needs to be erased.

          • SHA

            Goldman sachs and jp morgan both belong to rothshild dude

            JP morgan was founded by rothshild slaves

          • Kell McBanned

            Lol, they are so rich they are off the map, they own the central banks of the planet that make money out of thin air then charge the goyim interest on it, PS their wealth was 500 trillion in the 1800s before they vanished (assets held then adjusted to todays value) I think that they may well have made a dollar or two since then.

          • Sinbad2

            True, it’s an amazing racket, but like all pyramid schemes, if you don’t keep new suckers coming in at the bottom of the pyramid, the flow stops.
            That’s why the American and European banks want more immigrants(slaves).

            But the end is nigh, the pyramid actually ran out of incoming money in the early 80’s, since then, they have been lending money to the slaves, to keep it going.
            But that is also reaching its limit.

            Marx goes into great detail about the capitalist economic system, and the unavoidable collapse. Until it collapses, it can’t reboot, and usually the collapsing stage involves killing all the rich bankers(French Revolution)

            The making money out of thin air, is debasing the currency, it’s not a new thing, Roman Emperors melted down pure gold coins, to add lead to make new coins.
            The banks created the paper gold market to hide the debasement of their currencies. More and more people and Governments are moving into metallic gold, at some point demand will exceed supply, and it will all be exposed by the high price of gold.

          • Kell McBanned

            Marx was a jew who played chess with Baron Rothschild, the Bolsheviks were funded by jewish Wall St banks, Communism and Capitalism are run by the same people and anything you read from them will point you into a rabbit hole – have you seen the Money Masters?

          • Sinbad2

            “Marx was a jew who played chess with Baron Rothschild”

            Karl Marx 1818- 1883 Baron Rothschild 1889-1915
            So Karl played chess with the 6 year old Baron?

          • Kell McBanned
          • Marko

            ” The reason I ask, is the US has about 14 trillion in total. ”

            No , total household net worth in the U.S. is on the order of $100 trillion , which figure corresponds nearly exactly with the concept of the “national wealth” of the U.S. You can find these figures , updated quarterly , in the Fed’s Z.1 National Accounts.

            Whether one trusts these figures is another matter , but all the major economies do a similar accounting.

          • Sinbad2

            Originally I was commenting about the wealth of the oligarchs.
            My point was, that although the banks are owed a staggering amount of money, they could never actually realize that wealth in cash, because there simply isn’t that much cash out there.

            Their wealth is based on the book value of their assets, and as we found out in 2008, those values are only real, when there are buyers.

            Sitting on a pile of gold, makes you a rich man.
            Sitting on a pile of mortgages, makes you a potentially rich man.

            And the system they rely on to keep them in luxury is about to implode, that’s why Governments/Banks are now buying shares, and selling gold futures at a loss.
            They are desperate to hold back the tide.

          • Marko

            ” Originally I was commenting about the wealth of the oligarchs.”

            Gotcha. My bad.

            For the record , I don’t have much confidence in these claims that the Rothschild’s are worth hundreds of trillions , even counting hidden funds , etc. Richer than anyone else? , yes , probably ; By a lot? , yes, probably. That’s about all I’d concede , absent some concrete evidence to the contrary.

          • Harvey Swinestein

            I don’t know where you got that figure 14 trillion from, but that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the real amount. The ultra-wealthy are experts at hiding the true wealth, but the 2nd and 3rd tier wealthy like Gates, Buffet and co. don’t have the ability to hide it from us proletariat . .

      • Harvey Swinestein

        I didn’t mention anything about the Jews bud, if you will reread what I wrote. I said the ZioNazis (Zionists). I am of Jewish ancestry myself, but I have a great disdain for Zionists, of whom the majority are those non-Jewish evangelical, protestant Americans you referred to. But on the other hand, Jews are disproportionately represented in the wealthy elite and there are a lot richer people than Gates, Dimon or Buffet, but you and I don’t have any idea who they are or how much they are sitting on . .

        • Sinbad2

          Zionism is the Jewish version of Nazism.
          You have to be a Jew to be a Zionist, if you are a Christian and believe that corporations and your country should rule the world, and that your country is the master race, you are a Nazi. I know Nazism was very popular in the USA prior to WWII, and now American Nazis prefer to be known as neo conservatives, but they can never be Zionists, because they are not Jewish.

          If you read up on Zionism, you will find the creator Herzl, tried to join the Nazis, but they rejected him because he was Jewish. So Herzl created the Jewish only Nazi party, and called it the Zionist party.

          • Harvey Swinestein

            You don’t have to a Jew to be a Zionist. There are many Zionists that are not Jews and they are every bit as fanatical as the Jewish Zionists, sometimes even more so. I have had multiple encounters with them during my almost 70 years of existence, and most of them seem to connect the return of the Jewish state with the “predictions” in the Bible(OT). Also, to frame all Neo-Conservatives as Nazis is simplistic. There are a wide range of complex conservative political views, ranging from patriotic Americans to racist xenophobes and you just can’t be so dogmatic in your categorizing. Your paintbrush strokes are too broad, my friend, showing your youth . .

          • Sinbad2

            Christians might support the Zionists, but they cannot be a Zionist, Jews would never accept the goyim into their select group. Many people including Jews and Muslims supported the Nazi party, but the Nazis would not accept a non Aryans, who are to true Nazis merely animals, just as non Jews are merely animals to Zionists.

            I do know of the cults in America who want to see the destruction of all mankind, because they will go to paradise whilst the rest of us burn. They are exactly the same as the Muslims who believe they will get to paradise whilst the rest of us burn.
            That’s why communists banned religion, they know that it spreads evil.

  • Joe Kerr

    So, banking families like the Rothschilds have assets “too diffuse to verify”? Or is digging deeper too troublesome?

  • Sinbad2

    Because Americans have never read Marx, they have no idea that he foretold of this time 150 years ago.
    According to Marx, the rich will continue to grow richer, whilst the poor will grow poorer.
    Eventually starvation will cause Americans to rise up reclaim their country, and the capitalist system will reset, and repeat itself.

    The reason the US Government spends so much money subsidizing food production, is because they know that the peasants will tolerate any deprivation, as long as they get food.
    Today, poor Americans defecate in the street, American women die in childbirth, and children die from diseases that 5 bucks could cure, and tolerate it, because they can afford a burger.

  • Kell McBanned
  • Sinbad2

    In reality nothing has changed, once upon a time we peasants lived on land owned by Barons and Earls.

    The lords allowed us to live on their land, as long as we gave them a cut of crop we grew.

    Today the Barons are called banks, and they allow us to live on their land, as long as we pay them money once a month(mortgage).

    For a short time the feudal system collapsed, when the Americas were discovered, and peasants could simply claim land as their own, without paying money to the Barons. But then of course the new Barons(banks) took over.

    Why does America, or my country Australia belong to a select group, and not the people?

    The Russian people overthrew the Barons, and created a system where the people owned Russia.

    It is because of the Russian belief that Russia is the property of the Russian people, and not the Barons(banks) that the western feudal countries have tried to destroy Russia, for 100 years.

    When people defend capitalism, they are actually defending the right of Rothschild, or Blankfein to rule over them as Barons, and accept that they are merely peasants.

    “Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital.

    Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”(Abraham Lincoln)