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The Almighty Buck Businesses

Tech Rich Get Richer 830

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the corporate-masters-doing-well dept.
theodp writes "The economy is improving, at least for the super rich. After two years of declines, the aggregate net worth of the U.S.'s wealthiest 400 citizens leapt 10% in the past year to $995 billion, according to Forbes' annual ranking. The gains are part of a continuing shift in wealth from the East coast to the tech-centric West. Bill Gates capped off a decade in the top spot after his fortune increased by $3B to $46B. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen held onto 3rd place, his net worth rising $1B to $22B. Amazon's Jeff Bezos, who saw his fortune expand by more than $3B to $5.1B, was the top gainer on the list. And with a measly $1.4B, Jerry Yang of Yahoo! found himself in a 16-way tie for 162nd place."
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Tech Rich Get Richer

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  • Yay (Score:5, Funny)

    by sque (699232) on Friday September 19, 2003 @08:03AM (#7002540)
    And all i have is baked beans and spam.
  • by Dancin_Santa (265275) <DancinSanta@gmail.com> on Friday September 19, 2003 @08:04AM (#7002545) Journal
    I remember when the IPO went off and I was a millionaire for about 3 hours.

    Then the stock price made a nice slow decent to 50 cents.

    It's a little better now, but I still have to be careful how many lattes I drink.
  • Oh well.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SilentSheep (705509) on Friday September 19, 2003 @08:05AM (#7002552)
    The rich get richer, The poor get poorer.

    I just hope when i finish my degree i'll be one of the richer!!

    • I failed to see any reference to the poor getting poorer. Perhaps you could post a link? The last I heard, the median for income earners in America was $27,000 per year... doesn't sound so poor to me.
      • Well, it's not necessarily the poor getting poorer, but if you look at this [economagic.com] chart of the umemployment rate, surely you can agree that someone is getting poorer.
      • Re:Oh well.... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Marc2k (221814) on Friday September 19, 2003 @08:48AM (#7002792) Homepage Journal
        "The last I heard, the median for income earners in America was $27,000 per year... doesn't sound so poor to me."

        True enough, until you account for the cost of living in America.
        • by Tackhead (54550) on Friday September 19, 2003 @11:01AM (#7004020)
          >
          > > "The last I heard, the median for income earners in America was $27,000 per year... doesn't sound so poor to me."
          >
          > True enough, until you account for the cost of living in America.

          This all started when someone posted that Marxian meme that "The rich get richer, the poor get poorer".

          BULLSHIT.

          Then people started talking about median and/or average incomes in dollars. Nice, but you're missing the point. You're thinking about dollars, but dollars are useless without wealth.

          If you want to know how "the poor" are doing, you've gotta be talking "wealth".

          My grandparents were working class. Their idea of a "fridge" was a block of ice. Their idea of "luxury" was cranking ice cream by hand in a steel container surrounded by rock salt and ice chunks. And it took days to cross the Atlantic, a trip that was only for the Filthy Rich.

          My parents were working class. Their idea of "comfort" was when they got air conditioning. Their idea of "luxury" was when they went from black and white to a color TV. And took hours to cross the Atlantic, and that was only for the Pretty Well Off.

          I'm working class. When I was a kid, my idea of "cool" was the 3D graphics in "Tron", and my idea of "luxury" was a Cray Supercomputer I could call my own. And from my 2.0 GHz laptop with 3D card with T&L capabilities, I can alt-Tab out of Max Payne, and with a few mouse clicks, cross the Atlantic (alas, it still takes a few hours) for half the price of the laptop.

          And I can show my grandparents that laptop.

          I don't mind if Bill Gates has enough money to fly to the moon for his vacation. Because if someone builds commercial space tourism for the Bill Gateses of the world, I can rest easy knowing that by the time I'm in my hip-fracture years, I'll be living them in 1/6 gravity.

          The rich are getting richer, but only linearly. One can eat only so much caviar per hour. Wherever capitalism has flourished, however, the poor, on the other hand, have done fantastic.

          • by EvilTwinSkippy (112490) <yoda AT etoyoc DOT com> on Friday September 19, 2003 @11:19AM (#7004274) Homepage Journal
            That brought a tear to my eye. Especially when you consider the contents of my fridge right now contains an assortment of food that would make a King from earlier times weep. The contents of my spice cabinet would be under armed guard.

            My wife and I are having a baby. There is no doubt both she and the baby are actually going to survive the birthing process, and it's a pretty solid bet the kid is going to live to adulthood. That cannot be said of many places in the world, or even here before modern medicine. (And gripe what you will about the cost, but we HAVE it.)

    • Re:Oh well.... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by sasquatch21 (184936)
      Isn't there a Ferengi Rule for acquisition that says 'The goal is not to stop the exploitation but to become the exploiter.'
  • by Perdition (208487) on Friday September 19, 2003 @08:05AM (#7002555)
    You can tell this is true simply by going to www.rollsgreypoupon.com and checking their sales numbers of Rolls that actually have Grey Poupon dispensers installed... scary.
  • Salary decline (Score:5, Insightful)

    by I8TheWorm (645702) on Friday September 19, 2003 @08:05AM (#7002559) Journal
    I'd be willing to bet, though, that the slow decline in IT salaries (developers in particular, where I have experience) won't be affected at all by this news.
    • No, there will be a change. The rate of decline will increase.


    • In George Bush's most recent speech, a new solution was put forward to help create jobs and spur growth, SALARY CAPS! Thats right, just like what we have in sports, a cap on your salary will allow companies to hire more workers with the same money. Add to the fact that we can get rid of overtime pay and make them work harder and longer for free, maybe we can even cut their salary and reduce to exactly $1 above their cost of living and set the cap right there.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    is... (drumroll please)...

    A tax cut for the rich! That's a swell plan for redressing society's woes!

  • 55 Billion (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 19, 2003 @08:07AM (#7002572)
    55,000,000,000
    50 Years 1,100,000,000
    12 months 91,666,667
    4 weeks 22,916,667
    7 days 3,273,810
    24 hours 136,409

    He could spend 136 Grand an hour for the next 50 years & still have money over, even without interest.

    That's a HellOfALotOf Gin & Tonics.

    D
  • News for Nerds? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Pave Low (566880) on Friday September 19, 2003 @08:08AM (#7002574) Journal
    Newsflash: the rich have been getting richer, but so has everybody else. Even the poorest Americans today are living far better than years before.

    Why is this news that the top dogs are getting even richer?
    • Why is this news that the top dogs are getting even richer?

      'cause this news can double as a hit-list ladder.
    • Re:News for Nerds? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by digitalunity (19107)
      Because in the past, it was Media tycoons, publishers, industrialists, bankers who got rich. It often took them their entire lives, their childrens lives. It was 'old money'. Now, it seems many on this list managed to go from zero to super rich in a matter of a few years. Look at Bill Gates. He hasn't always been rich, now he has more money than anybody. It seems the seperation between rich and poor is getting far wider. Most people scrape by, day by day, week at a time. The super rich have more money than
      • Re:News for Nerds? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AKnightCowboy (608632) on Friday September 19, 2003 @08:33AM (#7002698)
        Look at Bill Gates. He hasn't always been rich, now he has more money than anybody.

        Well, actually yes, he was always rich. His parents were lawyers. Do you think he just got an academic scholarship to Harvard and decided to flunk out? Now, he probably wasn't super-rich like he is now, but most of us would kill someone for $1 million. With the right investing you could live nicely on that for the rest of your life without working.

        • Re:News for Nerds? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by ILikeRed (141848) on Friday September 19, 2003 @09:47AM (#7003225) Journal
          It never ceases to amaze me that people somehow assume that Bill Gates started life in squalor someplace and pulled himself up by his bootstraps. It is simply not true. His daddy gave him millions to start his little software company. Dell is the same way. Yes he started in a dorm room and his parents garage, but how many college students get enough of an allowance from daddy that they can buy chips from Intel directly, by the semi-load. Most people starting a small business do not get to do so with millions of dollars in gifts sitting in the checking account. I am not saying they did nothing, but it was not rocket science... these kind of gifts makes it a lot easier to get started.
      • Re:News for Nerds? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by salesgeek (263995)
        . Look at Bill Gates. He hasn't always been rich, now he has more money than anybody. It seems the seperation between rich and poor is getting far wider. Most people scrape by, day by day, week at a time. The super rich have more money than they could spend in a lifetime, 10 lifetimes. This isn't the bad part, the world has always been like this. The bad part, it seems the middle class seems to be getting smaller.

        Mod the parent up. Very perceptive. Rich people get richer because they buy income produci
        • Re:News for Nerds? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Bull999999 (652264)
          "This prevents the middle class from being able to buy income producing assets."

          Can you tell me why people in middle class can by nice home entertainment systems and computers but not be able to buy income producing assets? One wealthy person I know of drives a rusty old Toyota truck. He can easily buy a nice new mega sized truck, but instead, he invests his free money.

          Take a look at the gaming articles on slashdot. There are plenty of slashdotters who spend $$$$ on high end gaming machines, yet bitch
      • Re:News for Nerds? (Score:3, Informative)

        by workindev (607574)
        Really? Are you sure? The socioeconomic seperation that existed in the 60's and 70's wasn't nearly as pronounced as it is today. Have you seen the unemployment rate recently? Millions of jobless people. Declining benefits, declining salaries, shaky job security, citizen's apathy for the declining political system.

        You are full of crap.

        US Unemployment Rate since 1948 [bls.gov]

        US Inflation Rate History [eh.net]

        US Per Capita Income History Since 1950 [infoplease.com]

    • yeah that guy's shopping cart on the street corner has power steering now.

      Disclaimer: This is not meant to be funny

    • Why is this news that the top dogs are getting even richer?


      Are you kidding? Has there ever been more fertile soil for the trademarked Slashdot socialist MS-bashing then this story?

      It practically screams, "Hold Page One!"
    • Re:News for Nerds? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by t482 (193197)
      Take wealth rather than income, and America's disparity is even more startling. The wealthiest 1% of all households controls 38% of national wealth, while the bottom 80% of households holds only 17%, according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). Around 85% of stockmarket wealth is held by a lucky 20%.

      That's capitalism at work. World wide statistics are show the top 1% holding even higher % of wealth. Not that there is anything wrong with it. US is the most unequal of the OECD, followed by Switzerland a
    • Re:News for Nerds? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Marc2k (221814) on Friday September 19, 2003 @08:56AM (#7002837) Homepage Journal
      Read much? [amazon.com]

      There are many, many Americans who would disagree with you. Granted, the lot of us aren't losing fingers to meat grinders, which are subsequently fed back to us in hotdogs anymore, but there *was* a recent article on Slashdot (I believe? maybe I read it somewhere else) that this generation is the first in a long, long time to have less than their forebears.

    • Re:News for Nerds? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by gobbo (567674) <wrewrite@gmail.cSTRAWom minus berry> on Friday September 19, 2003 @09:02AM (#7002877) Journal
      Why is the parent moderated insightful without any citation or reference? Try this newsflash:

      The onrush of technology largely explains the gradual development of a "two-tier labor market" in which those at the bottom lack the education and the professional/technical skills of those at the top and, more and more, fail to get comparable pay raises, health insurance coverage, and other benefits. Since 1975, practically all the gains in household income have gone to the top 20% of households. -- CIA World Factbook [cia.gov]
      So, the old saw remains: the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. I will argue alongside many others that 'poor' in North America is rich to, say, someone from Chad or Afghanistan, but the issue in this discussion is disparity. Disparity, including disparity in power, is a key issue in the social determinants of health [amazon.com].

      Yes, the USA as a whole is richer in capital, and poorer for it (Canada too). That's news.

  • Or is it really slashdotted that fast?
    I wanted to find out where larry ellisson was. He was No2 at some point of time , but I think the DotCom bust took care of that.
    Anyway is'nt it funny that US Tech industry is going downhill for the workers whil the Industry is making money for the "bosses" (and the investors) ?
    If they keep making money like this and the middleclass keeps getting smaller (less manufacturing, less IT , design is doing well though) at this rate is USA headed for a crisis? Since the ric
  • 16-way tie? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Diphthong (461653) on Friday September 19, 2003 @08:12AM (#7002593)
    "Jerry Yang of Yahoo! found himself in a 16-way tie for 162nd place."


    C'mon, Jerry! Go mow a few lawns or something. Break that tie!
    • by mccalli (323026) on Friday September 19, 2003 @08:38AM (#7002726) Homepage
      C'mon, Jerry! Go mow a few lawns or something. Break that tie!

      Reminds of a sketch on an old UK comedy series, The Two Ronnies. They had a regular sketch where a couple of tramps would muse about the world in general. Probably the best remember is:

      First tramp: "If I were Rockefeller, I'd be richer than Rockefeller"
      Second tramp: "How's that then? How do you reckon that?"
      First tramp: "Well, I'd do a spot of window cleaning on the side..."

      Cheers,
      Ian

  • Class warfare (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Surak (18578) * <surak@ma i l b l ocks.com> on Friday September 19, 2003 @08:14AM (#7002597) Homepage Journal
    Those EVIL rich people! How dare they be rich! It's not like they worked for their money or anything. No! They had it handed to them on a silver platter!

    It disgusts me! We're all poor because they're a bunch of greedy, good-for-nothing bastards who horde all the money for themselves! They stuff it in their mattresses and roll naked in it! No, no, they don't spend it, they horde it just keep us poor!

    Evil I tell you, EEEEEEVVVVVIIIIIIILLL!
    • Did you know that something like the richest %2 of Americans have %98 of America's wealth?
      • They also pay something like 50% of the taxes, so tell me again how unfair this is?
      • Did you know that if you have money in the bank, money in your pocket, and some change in a jar somewhere, you are among 12% of the world's richest people?

        That's right. Most Americans are RICH compared to the rest of the world.

        See? You're EEEEVILL! You're hordeing all the world's money aren't you, you dirty rich bastard!
    • Re:Class warfare (Score:5, Insightful)

      by weave (48069) on Friday September 19, 2003 @08:24AM (#7002648) Journal
      Selfish me, you're right. Bill Gates really has worked a million times harder than most of us. Thanks for the enlightening post.

      Seriously, while I have no problem with capitalism rewarding those who take the risks (and often screwing other risk takers), the scale *is* a bit off.

      It's just a bit disgusting when these guys will get a few million dollar bonus for keeping the salaries of the people who helped made them rich down for example. Or get millions of bucks even if they run a company into the ground, bankrupt it, and screw all of the stockholders and employees.

      • You're so right.

        I happen to write HR code now, so am privy to the salaries and other compensation of all employees at my company. I've seen a few things happen recently, as our profit margin is in the red...

        Layoffs everywhere in the company
        Mandatory pay cuts for employees in the middle ranges of salary
        Cuts in incentive bonuses, or complete elimination
        An increase in salary and bonuses to the top 10% of salary grades here

        Yeah, those guys really earned their wealth, and certainly not at the expense o
  • by achurch (201270) on Friday September 19, 2003 @08:15AM (#7002601) Homepage

    What do people do with all this money? This isn't a rhetorical question; I'd really like to know what these people intend to do with such fortunes. I assume part of it is really stocks, and so it's company worth rather than personal worth, but still, I can't see ever needing more than, say, $2-3 million over the course of my entire life.

    • "What do people do with all this money? This isn't a rhetorical question; I'd really like to know what these people intend to do with such fortunes."

      Really mees up thier children's world view.
    • by CausticPuppy (82139) on Friday September 19, 2003 @08:19AM (#7002620) Homepage
      Two chicks at the same time.

    • Alot is giving away.

      But other places to spend:

      1. House
      2. People to take care of house(inside and out)
      3. People to take care of money
      4. Lawyers
      5. People to take care of kids
      6. Material things(jets, boats, cars)
      7. Food(200-300 a day could be easily spent on one person)
      8. List goes on.

      But I think Gates really does give alot away, granted he has alot to give away. Sorry no link.

      • Interestingly enough Bill G. has more than twice what Paul Allen has in his piggy bank, but Paul Allen seems to be in the newspaper around here(Pacific Northwest) a lot more than Bill. Usually, it's either because he owns the Portland Trailblazers, or it's because he gave a bunch of money to some random charity. He seems like a really good guy.
    • What do people do with all this money?

      The more money you have, the more you can imagine spending money on. You and I never think about buying our own private luxury yacht, complete with crew, helicopter, etc., because it's so beyond what we can afford. When, however, you look at your bank balance and realise that you can, but you just need to double your estate to make it worthwhile...

    • by ojQj (657924) on Friday September 19, 2003 @08:29AM (#7002672)
      I'm sure anyone could think of ways to spend more than that... I mean think about it. Would you like a house on South Beach? Another one in Greece? Maids for both? A Delorian? A yacht? A yacht for your maids? A small fleet of luxury airplanes? A large reputable university? A President? A cure for AIDS? A solution to world hunger?

      Any one can give out any amount of money. Because in fact money is not really paper bills, but rather power to do as you please.

    • What do people do with all this money?

      Spend it, frivously.

      Think $100 hamburgers and $150 martinis.

      Think walking away from a blackjack table after losing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

      Think paying someone hundreds of dollars an hour to do your hair.

      Think dozens of cars.

      Etc.

    • What do people do with all this money? This isn't a rhetorical question; I'd really like to know what these people intend to do with such fortunes.

      Mostly, wealthy people give their money away. Heard of Carnegie Hall?

    • by finkployd (12902) on Friday September 19, 2003 @11:20AM (#7004290) Homepage
      Technically you can live very comfortably on $25k/year. It all depends on how you want to live. Are you happy making dinner every night, renting a house (or buying a small house), and driving a Honda Civic. Or do you need to eat at fancy restaurants, have a couple of sports cars (and an SUV of course) and need a large house in an upscale neighborhood?

      What we WANT drives what we consider comfortable, and some people will never be happy because there is always more stuff to buy. Unfortunatly many people find they are not happy in life and think if they could just buy a better car, or a bigger house, or a few more computer parts then they would be happy. Of course that never works. It really is no different with the middle class or the super rich.

      Finkployd
  • by billtom (126004) on Friday September 19, 2003 @08:15AM (#7002602)
    I don't think that the article really supports the headline (yeah, I know, this is /., I shouldn't be surprised about that).

    First, choosing an unrepresentative sample of 400 people out of about 300 million can't possibly tell you anything useful about the broad trends of a society ("...Rich Get Richer").

    Second, of the 400 richest people in the US, only a small fraction of them have their wealth based on a technical source (even broadly defined). So the "Tech" part of the headline is suspect as well.

    But hey, I'm all for the mob, let's eat the rich!
  • But George Bush said his "economic plan" helped everyone and didn't just make the rich richer! He wouldn't lie [blogspot.com] to me, would he?

    ---rhad

  • by Newer Guy (520108) on Friday September 19, 2003 @08:18AM (#7002619)
    I've sent out 1001 resumes and received but one job offer...in Indiana (UGH!)! Most positions were pulled or filled in house-mostly by people (still) expected to do their old job too. Some simply haven't hired anyone yet. The rich are getting richer by laying off employees in droves and expecting the ones left to pick up the slack. THEY call it: "improved productivity". What it really should be called is exploitation. What's that Bruce Cockburn song: "If I had a Rocket Launcher".........
  • by signe (64498) on Friday September 19, 2003 @08:22AM (#7002636) Homepage
    Let's see. 10% is the "average" return that most people work with when dealing with things like mutual funds and most basic medium-risk investments. Yeah, I know you can't count on it, and the economy's been sucking lately. But you can still find decent investments. This doesn't really count real estate or anything like that. Additionally, people with a bit of money have access to investments that the rest of us who aren't millionaires don't. Such as hedge funds.

    So you're telling me that in the last year, these billionaires only managed to get a 10% return? I mean, even if we're talking about someone owning a lot of real estate, that still appreciates in value over time (generally). Let's say that only half their value is actually invested in things that would appreciate (stock/fund/real estate/other investments, for example), which is really conservative. That's still only a 20% return. Sounds pretty poor to me.

    -Todd
    • I would wager that a majority of thier wealth is in stock -- especially for Gates, Allen, Bezos and the like. With the rebound in the stock market, they've seen significant increases. Particularly Bezos -- Amazon's stock has been soaring and his net worth is up more than 100%.

      Plus, that 10% average return figure is bogus -- or at least has been for a few years now. Just being non-negative has been a goal for a lot of mutual funds of late. Also consider, if you have $5000 to invest, it's a lot easier to get
  • That's the saying... I took a lot of history classes. It dazzles me how Paul Allen's net worth went up 1 billion dollars. Does anyone know what he does, besides own Microsoft stock, that would increase his value that much?
  • by Mr_Silver (213637) on Friday September 19, 2003 @08:30AM (#7002676)
    Just head on over to here [globalrichlist.com] and enter how much you earn.

    It can be quite sobering to find out that you are in the top 0.9% richest people in the world. Thats a hell of a lot of people poorer than you.

    I'm sure people will rip this apart because it's based on global data, doesn't take into account cost variations in countries and 101 other things - but give it a go anyway.

    • Strange. If you enter a zero (unemployed) you still are not the poorest person in the world. Does that mean there are people who pay to show up at work?
    • by chrisbw (609350) on Friday September 19, 2003 @09:13AM (#7002966) Homepage
      This, of course is operating under the "your salary is your worth" model of richness, which I would argue isn't incredibly accurate. Wealth is typically recognized through one's net worth. Once you reach a high enough net worth to be of note, your annual income becomes somewhat trivial to your total net worth.

      Somewhat related is how amusing it is to hear people talking about "tax cuts for the (rich | poor | etc)," when they're actually talking about "tax cuts for the (high income | low income | etc)," which is more accurate. Just because someone has a high salary or a low salary does not mean they have a high net worth or low net worth.
      • Somewhat related is how amusing it is to hear people talking about "tax cuts for the (rich | poor | etc)," when they're actually talking about "tax cuts for the (high income | low income | etc)," which is more accurate. Just because someone has a high salary or a low salary does not mean they have a high net worth or low net worth.

        Exactly right. Politicians are busy trying to buy the votes of the elderly and convince the rest of the voters to let them get away with it by saying the elderly are on "low inc
  • What bothers me (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ShooterNeo (555040) on Friday September 19, 2003 @08:30AM (#7002682)
    What bothers me is there is no conceivable way these individuals could have performed over a billion dollars worth of labor, ever. I'm not advocating communism or socialism, I'm just pointing out a basic truth. None of these people could have conceivably done more useful work than the entire lifetimes work of thousands of people.

    Sure, corporate CEOs and super rich are much more productive than the average person....but their brains still tick at a mere 1000hz. They can still only speak at a slowish 150wpm and listen at the same rate. Their memories still have limited durations like all other mortal humans. It just isn't physically possible for them to have done the work of 10,000 other people.

    The money was not earned, it was stolen. In most cases, the money was stolen from the shareholders of the corporation in question, who by rights should have either had the money in dividends or seen the money re-invested in the corporate machine.

    In some cases, the money was stolen from fortunes made by the ideas and productive results of employees of the company. Does anyone truly believe Jobs invented the imac and made it's phenomenal success possible? If you believe that, ask Wozniac what Jobs did with Wozniac's work at Atari.

    Before someone accuses me of the obvious : no, I am personally involved in any of this. I'm simply noting the truth.
    • Re:What bothers me (Score:5, Insightful)

      by salesgeek (263995) on Friday September 19, 2003 @09:01AM (#7002869) Homepage
      What bothers me is there is no conceivable way these individuals could have performed over a billion dollars worth of labor, ever. I'm not advocating communism or socialism, I'm just pointing out a basic truth. None of these people could have conceivably done more useful work than the entire lifetimes work of thousands of people.

      Sure they can. They've provided work for a lifetime for thousands of people.

      • Re:What bothers me (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ShooterNeo (555040)
        This is an example of a logical error. Yes, they lead the tiller on the ship...but simply because the decisions they make touch the wheel, does this mean they are 10,000 times as useful as anyone else? Is it somehow a rare trait for an individual to be able to understand and lead a corporate mechanism? Of course not. It's like saying the hand on the wheel is 100,000 times as important as the lookouts in the crow's nests or the actual tiller man in the engine room. Sure, the captain's hand perhaps is a
    • Re:What bothers me (Score:4, Insightful)

      by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Friday September 19, 2003 @09:09AM (#7002935) Journal
      The money was not earned, it was stolen. In most cases, the money was stolen from the shareholders of the corporation in question, who by rights should have either had the money in dividends or seen the money re-invested in the corporate machine.
      For the largest part this wealth isn't in the form of money, it's in stock, mostly shares in the company they have founded. Most of these super-rich simply own a goodly chunk of a company that has become immensely valuable.

      What remains is the question of whether or not it is right that these people do so well out of founding a company and making it successful. You can look at it two ways. some would say the success of these companies was due not just to the founder, but also due to the hard work of the other employees. Others will point out that the risk and effort taken by the company founder is what enables all these employees to earn a living in the first place. Whatever the case; these company founders are not particularly productive, not to the tune of billions of dollars anyway. But they founded their respective companies and own them... that's where their fortune derives from. Should that ownership be taken away from them when the company takes off? I think not.

      Just remember that one of the best ways to become rich yourself is to start your own business and make it successful. Even a moderately successful small-scale company can be worth a nice deal of money; not billions, but enough to keep you comfortable.
      You don't even have to start the company yourself. I've been invited to help with a startup... and if I am going to pour my sweat and tears into the company (and with a startup, I can expect to have to), my efforts will be a large contribution to the success of the company. That means I want to have a stake in the potential success as well: not in the form of a large salary, but in a part ownership of the company.
    • Re:What bothers me (Score:5, Insightful)

      by chrisbw (609350) on Friday September 19, 2003 @09:22AM (#7003037) Homepage
      Now hold on a minute here, accusing these people of stealing is taking things a BIT far.

      What you're failing to recognize is the difference between net worth and salary. Salary is generally recognized as a compensation for labor.

      Gates and Jobs, for example, were founders of their companies. They took risks, they had good ideas, and they had the leadership to drive their companies to financial success (you can argue amonst yourselves about the technical success of their products, but the financial accomplishments of their companies is pretty evident).

      Most of their net worth came about through equity that they have as the founders of these companies, NOT through their salaries. Yes, their salaries are high, but not $40 billion high. Most of this net worth was accumulated through the appreciation of their equity.
  • by billimad (629204)
    here [bbc.co.uk]
  • by 68K (234318)
    Bill Gates capped off a decade in the top spot after his fortune increased by $3B to $46B
    Man, I'm sure that makes the pirates feel really bad when they rip off a copy of Office 2000.
  • by kipple (244681) on Friday September 19, 2003 @08:53AM (#7002819) Journal
    now tell me, how come that in the last years: "average" workers (at least in IT) either

    a) lost their jobs because of the "recession"
    b) have to work for free or similar because there are too many people that are willing to do the same
    or
    c) have to work for 70 hours a week to have a life?

    am I the only one who thinks that there's something rotten in the "american way of life"
  • by EastCoastSurfer (310758) on Friday September 19, 2003 @08:57AM (#7002841)
    All this story reflects is that the stock market has rebounded somewhat. Most(all?) of the wealth that these people have is tied into various company stocks and when the crash happened they lost. Now that it has rebounded some they are winning again. I doubt any of them are looking in their bank accounts and seeing 1b more dollars than they saw the year before. I would be curious to see how their increase compares % wise with the average american who is invested in the stock market.
  • Outsourcing? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by chiller2 (35804) on Friday September 19, 2003 @09:36AM (#7003132) Homepage
    Perhaps the CEOs are getting richer because nowadays they're paying offshore outsourcing companies such as Tata peanuts to do the work their fellow countrymen (and women) did only a year or two back? I'm sure it's not the sole reason but likely is a significant one.

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Friday September 19, 2003 @10:02AM (#7003384) Homepage Journal
    The other side of the coin.

    Those of us that are just middle class 'IT people' lost more ground, in general.

    Perhaps we need a union, to start taking back some of our share of the loot those over paid useless bastards in that list are getting from OUR hard work.

    Bitter? Yes..

  • by Orne (144925) on Friday September 19, 2003 @11:01AM (#7004025) Homepage
    Shit, from January 1st to today, my measly stock portfolio of 8 companies is up 11%, and my 401k is up 19%... compared to the absolute rock bottom it was last year!!

    Everyone's money is growing, its just that the CEOs have a LOT more money invested than I do. That's what makes the USA's model the best in the world, we have the most opportunities to better ourselves. Nothing is stopping me from investing my money any differently than the rich can, and with hard work, I'll have the money to live the lifestyle I want.

    Besides, have you looked at the tax laws lately? A man and wife, combined income of $100k, which is two standard engineer salaries of 50k. Guess what, you're "rich". Not exactly "fair" is it, but hey, lets keep calling to tax the rich, and someday we'll realize we're taxing ourselves.

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