Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) apparently cannot give away enough to help worthy causes. Oxfam has targeted him as one of the eight people who have wealth equal to the of the poorest half of people in the world.
Oxfam reported in a survey titled “An Economy for the 99%”:
New estimates show that just eight men own the same wealth as the poorest half of the world. As growth benefits the richest, the rest of society – especially the poorest – suffers. The very design of our economies and the principles of our economics have taken us to this extreme, unsustainable and unjust point. Our economy must stop excessively rewarding those at the top and start working for all people. Accountable and visionary governments, businesses that work in the interests of workers and producers, a valued environment, women’s rights and a strong system of fair taxation, are central to this more human economy.
Once a fortune is accumulated or acquired it develops a momentum of its own. The super-rich have the money to spend on the best investment advice, and the wealth held by the super-rich since 2009 has increased by an average of 11% per year. This is a rate of accumulation far higher than ordinary savers are able to obtain. Whether via hedge funds or warehouses full of fine art and vintage cars, 38 the highly secretive industry of wealth management has been hugely successful in increasing the prosperity of the superrich. The fortune of Bill Gates has risen 50% or $25bn since he left Microsoft in 2006, despite his commendable efforts to give much of it away. 39 If billionaires continue to secure these returns, we could see the world’s first trillionaire in 25 years. In such an environment, if you are already rich you have to try hard not to keep getting a lot richer.
So much for a positive view of the work of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.