30 September 2005

The Forbes 400

What's it take to get on the Forbes 400 list of the biggest and baddest of our country's capitalist culture heroes? This year it's a net worth of US$900,000,000.

All told, The Four Hundred (wasn't that the title of an O. Henry collection? Or am I off by a factor of 10,000?) have a combined net worth of US$1.13 trillion. That's up for the third consecutive year, and an increase of more than 12% over last year.

Over US$2.8 billion apiece. The median is US$1.6 billion. How's that compare to the median net worth in the good 'ol US of A? I'll google ... no recent numbers, but a CNN Money article from 2003 gives the 2001 figures from the Fed's Survey of Consumer Finances. It's a triennial survey, last results released in January of '03. Should be interesting to see what the new one shows this coming January. Mark that month on your calendar, kiddies. The data, I guess, would go through '04.

Anyway, the 2001 median family (household?) net worth was US$86,100. A little division gives an exchange rate that seems to indicate that each of The Exalted Four Hundred is worth over 18,000 of you median, middle-of-the-pack prole families. Which is as it should be. Of course, that's 2001 proles and 2004 billionaires, and the gap may have narrowed. But I doubt it.

Another blurb on the Forbes site announced that 10 list members had made charitable donations of US$25 million or more. Lessee, 1.6 billion is to 1.6 thousand (my net worth, if I'm lucky) as 25 million is to ... twenty five bucks? Wow. All hail their beneficent generosity. Pikers.

A few more Forbes articles look interesting, but I haven't gotten there yet:

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