The Physics
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An encyclopedia of scientific essays

Worth of the Wealthiest Person in the US

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De George, Richard T. Business Ethics, Sixth Edition. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, Inc, 2006. "In 2003 Forbes, which estimated Bill Gates's net worth at $46 billion, declared him the richest man in the world for the tenth consecutive year." $46 billion
(2003)
The 400 Richest Americans. Forbes. May 2007.
Rank Name Net Worth Age Residence
1 William Henry Gates III 53.0 billion 50 Medina, WA
2 Warren Edward Buffett 46.0 billion 76 Omaha, Ne
$53 billion
(2006)
Klepper, Michael. Gunther, Robert E. The Wealthy 100. Secaucus: Carol Pub Group, 1996. "John D. Rockefeller was worth approximately $1.4 billion when he died in 1937... In today's dollars, Rockefeller's personal fortune would be worth an astounding $190 billion, making Gate's $60 billion slightly more than pocket change for Rockefeller!" $1.4 billion
(1937 dollars)
$190 billion
(2007 dollars)
World's Richest People 2003. Forbes. May 2007
Rank Name Net Worth Residence
1 William H Gates III 40.7 United States
2 Warren E Buffett 30.5 United States
$40.7 billion
(2003)

Bill Gates, the richest American since 1993, made his money from establishing Microsoft Corporation in 1975 and creating the Windows Operating system in 1985.

Firstly, the definition of worth is really not how much money a person has, but how much he or she represents. For example, if Bill Gates' may be worth $50 billion, but only has $2 billion at his disposal that he is free to spend. Then where is the rest of his money? The other $48 billion is located in the Stock Market in the form of investment in the company he represents. That money doesn't really exist; it only symbolizes the Microsoft's economic value.

Secondly, Bill Gates' worth is a relative value that keeps fluctuating as a result of two economic phenomena: the business cycle and inflation. The cycle measures economic growth or decline, which helps predict unemployment, stock values, and consequently, worth. Inflation is when the dollar "loses" value and prices increase, causing worth to decrease.

Thirdly, worth alone, does not determine economic power. Economic power is determined by a ratio of worth of a person to the worth of the entire American economy at that time. Currently, Bill Gates is richest man in the US, being worth $56 billion, while the American economy is worth about $13.22 trillion, making him control 0.42% of the economy. If you look back at 1937, the richest man then was the famous robber baron and industrialist John D. Rockefeller, worth "only" $1.4 billion. At the time, the American economy was in the middle of the Great Depression and had a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $91.9 billion (Inflation adjusted). This means that in 1937, Rockefeller controlled 1.52% of the American economy, making him the most economically powerful man in American history, and in current dollars had an equivalent of $190 billion. Sorry Bill Gates!

Eugene Kolomiyets -- 2007