Although the figures of wealth and income disparities are already staggering in wealthier Western countries, they are significantly worse in countries like India and China. One instance that clearly depicts the disparity is the fact that an average Indian would need to work 17 million years to become as wealthy as Mukesh Ambani.
According to Forbes’ yearly billionaires ranking, Elon Musk has surpassed Amazon chairman Jeff Bezos as the world’s richest man. Thus far, the Tesla entrepreneur has amassed $219 billion, whereas Bezos has dropped $6 billion in a year and is currently worth $171 billion. Based on average yearly national salaries, no ordinary individual could ever aspire to accumulate the wealth of their country’s richest billionaire by doing a normal job, as Statista’s Florian Zandt illustrates in the graphic below.
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To achieve Musk’s wealth proportions, for instance, the ordinary American would have to devote three million years at the OECD’s average annual pay of $69,392 in 2020.
To replicate Dieter Schwarz’s wealth of $47 billion, Germans would first have to labour for 900,000 years at $53,475 annually. Schwarz is the founder of the Schwarz-Gruppe conglomerate, which owns the Kaufland and Lidl grocery chains, among many others. The statistics become even more inexplicable when examining at median household income, which was not obtainable for each and every nation at the time of this article’s publishing. According to the St. Louis Federal Reserve, the median personal income in the United States was $35,805 in 2020, bringing the time required to catch up to Elon Musk to 6.1 million years.
While the owners of luxury companies such as Louis Vuitton, Mot Hennessy, and Zara are anticipated to appear frequently on such lists, Canada’s richest billionaire is representative of a new breed of super-rich: Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, has earned a wealth of $55 billion thus far, a sum that would take his fellow Canadians 1.2 million years to earn.
Although these figures are already staggering in wealthier Western countries, wealth and income disparities are significantly worse in countries like India and China, which have lower average incomes and greater wealth disparities.
Mukesh Ambani, the managing director of international company Reliance Industries Limited, for example, was assessed to be worth roughly $91 billion at the time the billionaires list was published. To rival Ambani’s riches, Indians would have to work for more than 17 million years at an average yearly pay of $5,000.