Global billionaire wealth grows by $2 trillion in past year

Forbes annual billionaire list shows concerning growth of billionaire wealth

The latest Forbes Billionaire List has revealed a further increase in the levels of wealth held by billionaires globally.

The findings of the list included a growth in the total number of billionaires  from 2,640 to 2,781. Meanwhile, the total wealth of billionaires has increased by $2 trillion, from $12.2 trillion in 2023 to $14.2 trillion in 2024 – a 16% increase in just one year.

The vast wealth held by some of these individuals is illustrated by the following table, which shows that some individual billionaires’ wealth exceeds the total household wealth for many entire countries, as recorded in the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report.

While some on the list are successful entrepreneurs, the additional increase in billionaire wealth emphasises questions of proportionality. Is wealth greater than the populations of entire countries really a fair or necessary reward or incentive for business success? Might it be both possible and sensible to distribute this wealth a little more evenly?

HPC Director Luke Hildyard was quoted in a number of publications including the Guardian, suggesting that the billionaire list  essentially shows how much of the wealth created by the global economy is captured by a tiny caste of oligarchs, rather than being used to benefit humanity as a whole. It isn’t something to celebrate or fawn over. Instead, we should make it the most urgent mission of the coming decades to spread this wealth more evenly, proportionately and efficiently.