First News
Volume:7, Number:44
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Business & Finance 4

Ranking the World’s Wealthy Has Become a Business

It was 2012, and Bloomberg was about to launch its Billionaires Index as a direct challenge to the long-running World’s Billionaires list run by rival Forbes. When the late Malcolm Forbes started his magazine’s list of the 400 richest Americans in 1982, his attitude toward wealth was admiring and uncomplicated: His list was a celebration of capitalism. Malcolm’s father, B C Forbes had published a short-lived rich list back in 1918. Subsequent reporting by Forbes magazine found that rich lists in America date at least as far back as 1845. In 1987, Forbes magazine expanded beyond the United States with a list of the world’s richest. Since then, the field of tracking, scrutinizing, and ranking the wealthiest has gotten more crowded. Luigino Canal, a journalist who has worked on the rich list for Swiss business magazine Bilan since the list’s inception in 2000, says he’s seen more magazines around the world add rich lists because they sell so well.

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