A recent Oxfam International report found that the world’s ultra-rich are getting vastly richer—so much so that the first trillionaire is due within a decade. The five richest men in the world—billionaires Elon Musk, Bernard Arnault, Jeff Bezos, Larry Ellison and Warren Buffett—saw their enormous fortunes double since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, according to Oxfam International. “At current rates, it will take 230 years to end poverty, but we could have our first trillionaire in 10 years,” states the report, which highlights the growing inequality alongside the staggering net worth of the five men.
If the sheer magnitude of the top five’s wealth already seemed unfathomable in the hundreds of billions, a potential trillion-dollar portfolio might seem beyond the pale. But experts have their ways of grasping the wealth of the 1% in more concrete terms—even if their measurements are merely snapshots in time, says John Bai, an associate professor of finance at Northeastern.