Analyze the Billionaires of a Society to Gauge Its Economic Health | Ruchir Sharma


So let’s focus on good versus bad billionaires. What do I mean by this? The good billionaires in a country typically
tend to be from industries such as technology, manufacturing, pharmaceutical. These are industries where it is all about
that person’s skill and talent which is leading to this wealth creation. So let’s focus on good versus bad billionaires.
What do I mean by this? The good billionaires in a country typically tend to be from industries
such as technology, manufacturing, pharmaceutical. These are industries where it is all about
that person’s skill and talent which is leading to this wealth creation. On the other
hand, the bad billionaires tend to be from industries such a s real estate, mining. And
what do I mean by that? In these industries a lot of the wealth creation is done by giving
the system or by having good government connections. And I think that that any nation will have
a few bad billionaires. But if you have too many bad versus good billionaires that is
a problem. Now take the case of the United States. In the United States in fact the number
of good billionaires far outnumber the number of bad billionaires in this nation. And that is a good thing. Because even though
the number of billionaires in this country is very large, even of the share of the total
economy. But the fact that you have more good versus bad billionaires means that in general
wealth creation is still respected in this country. So you have people like Bill Gates,
Warren Buffet who are great philanthropists and so therefore they’re widely respected.
Or you have the likes of the Mark Zuckerberg’s who create wealth by these kind of innovative
applications, technologies and products. And that’s really what leads to them being respected
as well. Now there’s the very interesting case of Donald Trump who we all like to speak
about. There are a few people who would really dispute whether he’s really a billionaire.
But I think let’s assume that he is one. And it’s true now that by the classic definition
he would be a bad billionaire because a lot of the wealth comes from industries such as
real estate and many people think he’s created this wealth by sort of being able to use government
connections and other kind of unfair means. But the good thing is that because in this
nation there are more good than bad billionaires people still respect billionaires in general.
There’s not a revolt against billionaires unlike Russia or Mexico. In those nations
there is absolutely no chance that a billionaire would be able to run for office. That would
be held against him or her. And the other good thing is that Trump has been able to
sort of project himself as a blue collar billionaire. And I think that that is where it sort of
gets interesting. That he’s able to project as someone who is again related to the masses,
speak with the masses and that is why I think that he remains popular even though he is
a billionaire whose wealth is arguably coming from not great sources and would typically
be classified in the bad billionaire basket.

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