Another Reminder of Just How Rich Tech CEOs Really Are
Wealth inequality in the US is stark. But just how much more the haves have is still striking to behold. And techies in particular have a lot.
According to a new report from the Institute for Policy Studies, the top 20 people on the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans own more wealth than their 152 million fellow citizens in the bottom half of the US population combined. That’s $732 billion among the top 20.
And that list is top-heavy with tech entrepreneurs. As we’ve pointed out before, tech leaders now have a huge presence on the list of the country’s richest—with Bill Gates coming in at No. 1, Larry Ellison at No.3, Jeff Bezos at No. 4, Mark Zuckerberg at No. 7, Larry Page at No. 10, and Sergey Brin at No. 11. While we often mythologize tech leaders as idealistic disrupters coming after the powerful, they clearly wield substantial power on their own. In fact, among the top 20, more come from tech than from any other industry.
That said, the tech industry also appears to be generous. On Tuesday, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan honored the birth of their daughter Max by committing to spend 99 percent of their Facebook shares—some $45 billion at current prices—on philanthropic projects over the course of their lifetimes.
And they’re not alone. Over the last few years, tech leaders have been popping up all over the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s list of the country’s biggest givers. In 2014, 12 of the 50 people on the list hailed from the tech industry, double the total from 2013. In short, tech leaders have a lot. But they also have a lot to give.