Saturday, July 07, 2007

Move Over Bill Gates

I read in the Wall Street Journal this week that:

Bill Gates has always said that he hates bearing the title of “world’s richest man” — and the accompanying burden. Now, he may finally get some relief.

According to
this article by Geri Smith in Business Week and this AP story by Lisa Adams, the world’s richest man may now be Carlos Slim Helu (picture), the Mexican telecom tycoon. (Both articles build on the work of financial journalist Eduardo Garcia, founder and director of Sentido Comun, a Mexico-based financial-news Web site.)

Granted, determining people’s net worths is always just educated guesswork, so I wouldn’t say the finding is definitive. Yet the articles say that Slim, as he’s known, was worth $67.8 billion, or nearly 8% of Mexico’s entire GDP. In its latest global billionaires list, Forbes listed Bill Gates’s wealth at $56 billion.

It is at times such as this that I begin to feel very ethnocentric. Imagine, someone other than an US citizen, being the richest person in the world. It isn't the first time, but it strikes me as odd. To add further irony, Mr. Slim is Mexican. In a time when everyone seems to be leaving his country in order to find opportunity in the US, he has capitalized on opportunities that has made him the world's richest person.

Well, Gates can give a sigh of relief. The burden of being at the pinnacle of wealth has been transferred to another person. Being rich can be so challenging. My heart bleeds for both of them.

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