Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses The Almighty Buck

Jeff Bezos Surpasses Bill Gates as World's Richest Person (bloomberg.com) 155

An anonymous reader shares a report: A surge in Amazon shares Thursday morning in advance of the online retailer's earnings report has propelled founder Jeff Bezos past Bill Gates as the world's richest person. Shares of the online retailer rose 1.3 percent to $1,065.92 at 10:10 a.m. in New York, giving Bezos a net worth of $90.9 billion, versus $90.7 billion for Gates. If that holds through the 4 p.m. close, Bezos, 53, will leapfrog Gates, the Microsoft co-founder, on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Gates, 61, has held the top spot since May 2013.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Jeff Bezos Surpasses Bill Gates as World's Richest Person

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward

    If you believe that Bezos really has $billions in his checking account.

    • Re:Raise Your Hand (Score:5, Interesting)

      by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Thursday July 27, 2017 @09:59AM (#54891155)
      Nobody has billions in their checking account. Anyone who has substantial amounts of wealth (and a clue what to do with it) has almost all of it invested or tied up in land or other valuable assets. The only people who have tens of millions of dollars immediately at their disposal are drug lords or foolish lottery winners.
    • It's called a money market account backed by dividend paying securities and investments.

      And only poor people keep their cash in a checking account.

      Sheesh.

      Real wealthy people (Trump isn't one) invest their money.

      • by sycodon ( 149926 )

        I believe he simply forgot the /S

        The sarcasm was pretty much dripping from that post. You'd have to be pretty thick to miss it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 27, 2017 @09:55AM (#54891127)
    We have anti-trust and anti-monopoly laws. Why not laws that break up the estate of people that accumulate more than say 1000x the median net worth?
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by kilfarsnar ( 561956 )

      We have anti-trust and anti-monopoly laws. Why not laws that break up the estate of people that accumulate more than say 1000x the median net worth?

      Because Capitalism is America's religion and the dollar its God.

      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by aicrules ( 819392 )
        Opportunity is God here. Take it or leave it, that's up to you. Some people try and fail, some people try and succeed, that is opportunity. You could make the next Amazon if you weren't too busy worrying about stopping other people from trying because of your butthurt.
        • You could make the next Amazon if you weren't too busy worrying about stopping other people from trying because of your butthurt.

          Isn't this true for you as well? Clearly, you could make the next Amazon, but for some reason you prefer to quarrel with people on slashdot.

          • Yep, I choose to be where I am. I have had the desire to do something entrepreneurial like that, but wasn't willing to take the risk. That wasn't Jeff Bezos fault. Nor was it Bill Gates fault. In fact, Bill Gates is one reason I even considered many of those ventures in the first place.
            • Let's say that I live in a society where there's a lottery. In the lottery you can either win and become "king for a week" or die. Many people join the lottery, most die, but some become "king for a week". Some would say that the guy who won "king for a week" deserves to do whatever he wants, because he took a risk. Others would say that this entire lottery system is stupid and causes deaths, either through losing or through a king's misdeeds. In my eyes, this system is what unrestrained capitalism is. I do

        • by kilfarsnar ( 561956 ) on Thursday July 27, 2017 @11:04AM (#54891823)

          Opportunity is God here. Take it or leave it, that's up to you. Some people try and fail, some people try and succeed, that is opportunity. You could make the next Amazon if you weren't too busy worrying about stopping other people from trying because of your butthurt.

          Ah, so some people have God and some do not? Does everyone have an equal opportunity? I think not. Can everyone have 90 billion dollars if they just work hard enough and succeed? Or does the system require that we have a few winners and many losers? Further, what if Jeff Bezos had 90 trillion dollars and everyone else had one dollar? I guess he would have just earned it, right?

          Look, I don't have a problem with some people having more than others. But it's a matter of degree and proportion. I don't see how Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates could have added so much value that they are due 90 billion dollars. And I'm typing this on a Windows PC on a keyboard I bought from Amazon. As my absurd hypothetical above illustrates, it is a matter of degree. Nobody, by themselves, can add 90 billion dollars worth of value. They may have had a great idea and the drive to see it through, and they deserve to be rewarded for that. But really, when one accumulates $90 billion they are taking more than they deserve.

        • by ( 4475953 ) on Thursday July 27, 2017 @11:15AM (#54891941)

          There is no strong indication that becoming that rich is based on substantially more than (mostly) coincidence, based on being at the right place at the right time knowing the right people and other stochastic variables. That's why I don't trust any of those "My secret to financial success" books, they merely illustrate survivor bias mixed with a few truisms. Many rich people like to pretend that they 'made it' by their own intellect and skills, and I don't blame them because it would be kind of embarrassing to have all this money without any real achievement except for being an outlier of some probability distribution. I also don't want to say that none of them have any skills, some intelligence or smartness is certainly required to keep being wealthy and not being ripped off by others like e.g. lawyers (some rock stars lacked this intelligence, for instance), but I do think there is a tendency to overrate one's own contribution to financial success.

          As for the claim that nobody should have that much money, it's true that from a utilitarian point of view according to standard economic theory transferring money from the very rich to the poor always increases overall utility in a society, because money has diminishing marginal value. So yes, according to standard economic theory it makes sense to limit the personal accumulation of wealth.

          That being said, I can't blame anyone for keeping all his money, although Bill Gates is the perfect example that there is no reason to do so. He's not only willing to give away much of his unnecessary wealth, he even looks at the maximum 'bang for the bucks' when doing so, so kudos to him! Hopefully Jeff Bezos does the same.

          My 2 cents.

          • My siblings and I are close to an order of magnitude more well off than our parents, based on a bit of hard work, and a bit of luck. They have associate degrees and dad is a one-man-shop, and mom worked 20 hrs a week once we were all in school. They managed to get 8 college degrees in 3 kids on well below the median household income. I'd have to do some math to figure out how close to the poverty line we were back in the day, but my guess would be probably in the 200% range.

            Hard work on our parts a

          • I forget the reference, but it was basically a study of Billionaires and how they came into their money. The results basically fell into 3 groups. The first, which by far was the most common, was they just inherited it (something like 70-80%). The second was they inherited millions and were very successful with it (something like 15-20%). The third was those that went from nothing to become billionaires, which were basically a statistical outlier.

            So indeed "equal opportunity" has little to nothing to do wit

    • We have anti-trust and anti-monopoly laws. Why not laws that break up the estate of people that accumulate more than say 1000x the median net worth?

      Interesting idea.. So, lets apply that everywhere.. Maybe sports franchises? So, if your team is consistently winning because they're hitting a winning formula and they surpass the median wins per venue, then they should have X amount of their titles, winnings, trophies, awards, etc. divvied up to lesser teams.

      How about individual athletes that train hard and are just good at their game? Same deal, sorry guys/gals, you were simply too good in your area, so we're stripping you of some of it and giving it to

      • by Anonymous Coward

        That's not even the fucking same thing.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        "So, if your team is consistently winning because they're hitting a winning formula and they surpass the median wins per venue, then they should have X amount of their titles, winnings, trophies, awards, etc. divvied up to lesser teams."

        The marketplace has adapted. Most major sports have a marketplace rule that penalizes success in the name of balancing the market. For example, the NFL sequences its draft so weaker teams have the opportunity to select earlier in the hopes of getting better players. Do they

      • by dogvomit ( 979755 ) on Thursday July 27, 2017 @11:00AM (#54891773)

        You (and many other sibling posters) are fighting a straw man. The OP didn't suggest taking the wealth away from Bezos. Not at all; let him enjoy the crap out of it. The proposal was to take more wealth from estates. That means the guy who earned it is dead. And man, he just cannot enjoy a dime of it after he's dead. It is the absolutely ultimate in fair tax, since it has absolutely zero impact on the person whose money it used to be.

        --
        Happy happy oh my friend

        • by tsqr ( 808554 )

          The proposal was to take more wealth from estates. That means the guy who earned it is dead.

          It might mean the guy who earned it is dead, but it that isn't the exclusive meaning, or even the principal meaning, of the word 'estate'. Consider consulting a dictionary before accusing people of strawman arguments based upon your opinion of word meanings.

          • When talking about taxation, it really is the principal use, at least in my experience. I doubt the AC will clarify it, though. Re-reading his post, it sure looks like he or she was talking about something like expansion of estate taxes.

            --
            Happy happy oh my friend

            • by tsqr ( 808554 )

              When talking about taxation, it really is the principal use, at least in my experience. I doubt the AC will clarify it, though. Re-reading his post, it sure looks like he or she was talking about something like expansion of estate taxes.

              The OP said, "Why not laws that break up the estate of people that accumulate more than say 1000x the median net worth?" An expansion of estate taxes? Sounds more like a proposal for expansion of the Sherman Antitrust Act into the private sector to me.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Upd Late ( 3763325 )

        Amazon effectively has a monopoly on online retail sales. They've become a behemoth that has tied up the industry. If the point of strong / successful business is that it leads to a better overall society, then once a company approaches or achieves monopoly, it has the opposite effect. Less competition and less ability for competitors to compete leads to higher prices, lower pay for the workers, a much larger share of revenue going towards profits; which pads the pockets of people like Bezos at the expen

      • Interesting idea.. So, lets apply that everywhere

        Why would you apply it everywhere?

        • Interesting idea.. So, lets apply that everywhere

          Why would you apply it everywhere?

          To show the ridiculousness of the post's title "Nobody should have that much money" --- Because that's all the same idea.. Sorry, you made too much of X based on other people w/o regard to anything other than the count of money.. So, we're going to take it from you and give it to others that don't have as much.

          • Interesting idea.. So, lets apply that everywhere

            Why would you apply it everywhere?

            To show the ridiculousness of the post's title "Nobody should have that much money" --- Because that's all the same idea.. Sorry, you made too much of X based on other people w/o regard to anything other than the count of money.. So, we're going to take it from you and give it to others that don't have as much.

            Oh, okay, so not any real-world reason then.

    • It won't work. You'll end up with people finding all kinds of clever ways to avoid the problem, similar to how the rich avoid paying taxes on large amounts of their wealth by the use of various loopholes or even legal methods of minimizing their tax burdens.
    • A story that my father told me... Someone asked a millionaire during the Great Depression to divide up his wealth and give to every American. The millionaire handed that person a dime for his share of the millionaire's wealth..
      • But, but, but..(with tears in eyes)...nobody should be that rich....Wahh.....

        It's like all of the teachers in my town who complain that the area superintendent makes too much money. They should reduce his salary and split it among the teachers. I pointed out that if that actually happened they would only make an additional $75/year or less depending on their tax situation. Then I pointed out that as teachers they should have been able to do the simple math before opening their mouths.

    • accumulation of wealth by a small minority is deflationary and this is why our economy is moribund
    • Yeah, because brutally punishing success always works out to society's benefit in the end.

      If there's anything our tax code has taught us, it is that the people with means will find ways of still being people of means. You start passing laws that limit people arbitrarily, and you'll find the people that applies to will no longer be above that arbitrary limit - instead transferring that wealth to holding entities, relatives, trust funds, etc.

      Also, on-paper wealth versus liquid currency. Just as Amazon's sto

      • by Anonymous Coward

        So what's your solution to an entrenched aristocracy? Because that's where we're headed. Wealthier people have better connections, their children have more opportunities, they have better access to health care, better education, better food, safer transportation, etc. Ensuring their kids will have an even easier time increasing the family wealth, not through hard work, but simply for being born out of the right womb.

    • by NotQuiteReal ( 608241 ) on Thursday July 27, 2017 @11:33AM (#54892127) Journal
      "Nobody should have that much money." - Wow, what else do you know? Please tell us more about how the world should be.

      Also explain how "the median net worth" will not be in a downward spiral under your system of arbitrary confiscation of such net worth.

      Tell us how you will allocate the funds better than the person who created this "excessive" wealth.

      Let's take a billion dollars and see what works out best; A) Individual billionaire decides to fund a well thought out charity or create more business ventures. Or B) A bureaucratic budget committee figures out what to do with the money.

      I'm guessing "A" will work out better for the majority.

      Remember, billionaires get that way by creating wealth, not taking it from someone.
      • Tell us how you will allocate the funds better than the person who created this "excessive" wealth.

        Certainly the subject line was poorly chosen, but this part of your post suggests you didn't read the post you replied to. The anonymous coward did not suggest allocating funds better than the person who created the wealth. The suggestion was to break up the estate. Estates in this context are what is left after the person who accumulated it has died. It would be absurd to argue that a dead person knows better how to allocate the wealth he left behind than our civil government. Dead people are dead. B

        • Republicans have not really cared about fairness since the Dixiecrats jumped ship and joined the Democrats. Then they found Jesus and read Naomi Klein's book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism and learned how to better manipulate the US public by capitalizing on every crisis that came along.

          A rising tide once lifted all boats. Now the only ones afloat are those that are bringing in cheap crap from the cheapest sweat shops that can be found the world. All the others have been sunk by the

          • To be fair, the corporate Democrats have been trying hard to gin up their game ever since Jimmy Carter left the White House to build houses.
      • by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Thursday July 27, 2017 @02:56PM (#54893953) Homepage

        The problem is lack of velocity of the wealth. It's being consolidated to the top 1% in what amounts to a Ponzi scheme. I want to see more of that wealth moved from Wall Street and into Main Street.

        I'm not asking for a handout. I'm asking for an opportunity to leverage that wealth into productivity. And yes, that means working for it.

    • To put his 'personal' wealth into perspective, I calculated it's more than the total GDP of

      Tuvalu ($34m), Kiribati ($167m), Marshall Islands ($183m), Palau ($293m), Federated States of Micronesia ($322m), Sao Tome and Principe ($350m), Tonga ($403m), Dominica ($520m), Comoros ($620m), Vanuatu ($773m), St. Vincent and the Grenadines ($775m), Samoa ($786m), St. Kitts and Nevis ($903m), The Gambia ($965m), Grenada ($1,027m), Guinea-Bissau ($1,155m), Solomon Islands ($1,184m), St. Lucia ($1,385m), Antigua an
  • [sings] Someday, somewhere, somehow!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants. -Epictetus

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      A good book to read is "The Richest Man In Babylon" [amzn.to] by George S. Clason. If you can set aside 1/10th of your earnings and reduce your wants, you will grow rich in time.
  • Why did it take till he had 80 billion in the bank and 2017 before he went to Twitter of all places to ask for ideas of philanthropy? He deserves his wealth as much as Steve Jobs did.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Why did it take till he had 80 billion in the bank and 2017 before he went to Twitter of all places to ask for ideas of philanthropy? He deserves his wealth as much as Steve Jobs did.

      Agreed

  • Billionnaires (Score:5, Informative)

    by pr0t0 ( 216378 ) on Thursday July 27, 2017 @10:44AM (#54891605)

    I can't help but wonder what it's like to have that kind of wealth. Money in general, and maybe the concept of value must nearly be meaningless for most expenditures, at least until the amounts reach some ridiculous level like 10's or 100's of millions. Maybe all that's left is not about how much you have as much as it is how much you kept from someone else getting...just for bragging rights.

    $90+ Billion at only 53 is pretty astonishing. Then I thought, "Wait, what's Mark Zuckerberg's age and net worth?" Zuck is 33 and worth about $69 Billion. Then I wondered how today's billionaires compare to the dynastic US families of old.

    John Rockefeller had an estimated net worth of $336 in 2010 dollars
    Andrew Carnegie - $310 Billion
    Henry Ford - $190 Billion

    Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      Don't forget Marcus Licinius Crassus, whose estimated wealth in current money was something like $190 billion. So rich at the time he was able to use his own money to raise an army to fight Spartacus during the Servile Rebellion. Gates, Bezos, etc, are *rich*, but when they're able to personally fund the Afghanistan war they'd be Crassus rich.

      One thing I've never seen is a measure of past era people's wealth as a ratio of their wealth to the economies of their era. I suspect that many of them would have

      • Yes, because spears and tanks cost about the same.
        • Spears and tanks, no. But a chariot cost about as much as tank, in terms of fraction of total labor (ie. not just labor to produce from raw materials, but labor to produce those raw materials and the labor to feed all those other laborers).

          It turns out the monetary value of killing an enemy soldier is pretty much constant across time periods. So the amount you're willing to spend to do it is also pretty much constant.

    • Not that I'll ever get anywhere near that rich, but if I ever got even 0.01% that much money, I'd be retired and running a philanthropic organization. I just don't understand how you keep accumulating money at that point without feeling like the greedy asshole you are. You're and your family are set for life. Now let another 1000+ families get set for life instead of hogging it all.

      Honestly, how do you accumulate more than say $5 million without intense guilt for how much excess you have, and how m

    • by Subm ( 79417 )

      > John Rockefeller had an estimated net worth of $336 in 2010 dollars

      I thought he had at least four hundred dollars.

  • Diversification (Score:4, Insightful)

    by albeit unknown ( 136964 ) on Thursday July 27, 2017 @10:44AM (#54891613)
    Bill's wealth is far more diversified than Bezos' . Only a small percentage is now in Microsoft stock, while almost all of Jeff's is in Amazon. The potential volatility of Amazon's stock price makes Bill's wealth much more valuable in real-world terms than Jeff's.
  • Interested Wikipedia article that tracks the richest over time.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    Interestingly, Bill Gates was the richest from 2000 to 2007, when is fortune kept going down every year. Carlos Slim and Warren Buffet over taking him sometime and then in 2013 Gates is back on top.

  • Automating the screwing of vendors, employees and customers simultaneously has it's rewards.
  • by schwit1 ( 797399 ) on Thursday July 27, 2017 @11:08AM (#54891845)
    What is the financial wealth of Vladimir Putin or the owners of Saudi Aramco?
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

    For some reason that clip makes me think of what runs through Bezos and Gates mind.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I get paid Friday, and expect to capture the 5,758,235,578th spot when I do. Look out Bezos, I'm on your heels!

  • Congratulations to Jeff Bezos, and to all of the people who have been gainfully employed by Amazon - in American and around the world. Congratulations to the shipping companies and their employees as well, who have benefited from the extra business that Amazon has spawned.

    I hope that he will be benevolent and generous with his wealth, and I hope that Amazon will continue to succeed in providing jobs and services to people around the world.

  • "Jeff Bezos Surpasses Bill Gates as World's Richest Person"

    Clearly, we need to send Bill Gates some money. Can you afford a few dollars?
  • This is a contest for the world's second-richest person. The world's richest person is Vladimir Putin with a net worth of $200B, miles ahead of Jeff Bezos.
    • Well, if I ever got a mod point, then I'd be inclined to give you at least an "informative" for that. However, I'm not certain it's Putin, though the high-end estimates for Putin's wealth do go as high as $200 billion. Other estimates put him as low as $20 billion. Dark money is YUGE, even compared to Tor. Sometimes I wonder if Putin is really a puppet and front-man working for someone who is even better at hiding.

      I'm actually most interested in seeing #PresidentTweety's laundry receipts for Putin's dirty r

  • by Dareth ( 47614 ) on Thursday July 27, 2017 @01:33PM (#54893221)

    It is hard to comprehend how much money they have. To put it into perspective, figure out what just he decimal part of their wealth is.
    "$90.9 billion, versus $90.7 billion" .9 Billion and .7 Billion is how much? What is the .2 Billion dollar difference in their wealth?

    • The Federal Poverty Level [obamacare.net] of a single person is ~$11,800/yr. At that rate, that poor bastard would need to work at the same wage for 16,949.15 YEARS to just earn the difference between Jeff and Bills net worth ($200Mil). Hell, at $100K a year for a working professional, that's 2,000 years.

      Further perspective, Land owners [forbes.com] like Ted Turner made $1.7Billion (in the 1980's) and owns 590,823 acres - just shy of 3 Rhode Islands. Not sure how much Ted spent on his land, but imagine a ranch 45 times that siz

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Gates has donated huge parts of his fortune to charity.

  • What's great is Bill (basically) doesn't even work anymore, gives his money away, all from simply selling software - and as of only now slipped to #2 :) Jeff has to sell cloud and everything under the sun from groceries to drones, set up warehouses keeping Amazon rolling to surpass Bill ! - Congrats to both of them! What an amazing journey they both continue to experience. Sad to see Steve Jobs go, gotta enjoy it while you're here and now.
  • MNC == Pyramid scheme

Bringing computers into the home won't change either one, but may revitalize the corner saloon.

Working...