Forbes publishes its annual world’s richest people list

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Get ready to feel poor: Forbes has just released its annual list of the world's richest people, and this year 1,210 billionaires stand at the summit of Mount Capitalism. Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim (who I used to think was a Mexican DJ) defended his crown as the world's richest man with a whopping $74 billion, f-you money if I've ever seen it. He also raked in the most loot of anybody last year, at $20.5 billion. Bill Gates remained in second with $56 billion, jumping from $53 billion last year. Gates' good friend Warren Buffett, The Wizard of Berkshire Hathaway, again occupied the third slot with $50 billion, up from last year's $47 billion.

The super-wealthy were unaffected by an international recession with the combined net worth of the world's billionaires actually increasing twenty-five percent to $4.5 trillion, and their average net worth growing to $3.7 billion from $3.5 billion. The U.S. increased its number of billionaires from 403 to 413, but its new billionaire growth rate stands at only six percent, paling in comparison to the forty-seven and thirty-percent growth rates of China and Russia respectively. While a glass ceiling still exists, women did increase their presence on the list, bumping last year's number of 89 up to 102. Facebook's Dustin Moskovitz, worth $2.7 billion, is the world's youngest billionaire at a practically neo-natal twenty-six, while the oldest is Swiss tech billionaire Walter Haefner, who is 100-years old with $4 billion to his name. (I can't shake the image of Monty Burns.)

The so-called BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China) crushed it last year, producing 108 of the 214 new billionaires. Russia had a commodities explosion to thank, Brazil had a stronger currency coupled with more stringent disclosure rules, and China and India enjoyed strong overall economies. So the rich unsurprisingly got richer, as Michael Moore could have told you. Hopefully, even more billionaires will join the Gates-Buffett Giving Pledge campaign, which encourages other billionaires to publicly pledge to give away at least half of their wealth during their lifetimes. Below is the top-ten list of the world's richest individuals:

1. Carlos Slim Helu & family – $74B (telecom)

2. Bill Gates – $56B (Microsoft)

3. Warren Buffett – $50B (Berkshire Hathaway)

4. Bernard Arnault – $41B (LVMH)

5. Larry Ellison – $39.5B (Oracle)

6. Lakshmi Mittal – $31.1B (Steel)

7. Armancio Ortega – $31B (Zara)

8. Eike Batista – $30B (mining, oil)

9. Mukesh Ambani – $27B (petrochemicals, oil & gas)

10. Christy Walton & family – $26.5B (Walmart)