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Brother, can you spare your brother a dime

Mexican Carlo Slim Helu ousted Bill Gates as the world’s richest man, according to the famous Forbes Rich List. There’s only half-a-billion between them, though: Slim is worth $53.5 billion and Gates $53 billion. But even that is a ton of money. Actually, more than a ton. If you stack one million $1 bills, it would be 361 ft (110m) high and weigh exactly 1 ton. So there is 500 tons of dollar bills difference between the world’s two richest men.

Now, if you’re bored, you can work out how high a pile of money Carlos Slim has. Or take the length of a dollar – 6.14 inches long (2.61 inches wide) – and see how far his money will go. Or lay it out side-by-side (a dollar is 15 square inches) and you’ll see that the money of one man covers the whole earth. Except that it doesn’t, of course. Because it’s mostly based on stock values and if that breaks – as often happens – he wouldn’t have enough money to cover his arse. In short, the value of a billionaire is in the eyes of the beholder, the latter being other billionaires. If they lose sight – as often happens – you lose everything (332 members of last year’s billionaires list lost out this year, most likely never to return).

So it might be a good idea to spread the dollars/shares while he still has some. Except, he wouldn’t. “It’s based on my conviction that poverty is not fought with donations, charity or even public spending, but that you fight it with health, education and jobs,” he said. Good point. There are some 10 million unemployed in Mexico and 30 million plus unemployed in South America, where a big chunk of his business is based. Which leaves us to say, “Congratulations, Carlos, and a heck of a lot of good luck.”

11/03/2010. Category: People. Topic: , .

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