July 3, 2007

Bill Gates no longer world's richest man

In the recent immigration debate, one of the clich├ęs that was hardest to shake was the assumption that Mexico is a terribly poor country. In reality, it's above the world average in per capita GDP (measured in purchasing power parity terms).

Now comes words that Mexican telecom monopolist Carlos Slim has blown past Warren Buffet and Bill Gates to capture the top spot on the World's Richest Man chart, with $67.8 billion. Considering that most of Slim's wealth comes from operations within Mexico, while Gates extracts money from around the world, and the Mexican economy is only 1/11th as big as America's, then Slim piling up a nest egg equivalent to $3,000 per family of five in Mexico is quite a feat.

As the great traveler Alexander von Humboldt observed two centuries ago, “Mexico is the country of inequality. Perhaps nowhere in the world is there a more horrendous distribution of wealth, civilization, cultivation of land, and population.”

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

17 comments:

Ross F said...

The CIA World Factbook list of countries ranked by GDP per capita (ppp) that is linked to, gives Equatorial Guinea as the world's second richest country, therefore I'm not sure how reliable the it is.

Steve Sailer said...

Equatorial Guinea has huge oil deposits.

Anonymous said...

Whats more disgusting about Slim is the fact that he is a man who has invented nothing and has innovated nothing. He just has a monopoly and woefully overcharges Mexicans on their phone bills. A Robber Baron if there ever was one.


On an unrelated note: Anybody but me notice how this story, http://www.comcast.net/news/strange/index.jsp?cat=STRANGE&fn=/2007/07/03/706147.html&cvqh=itn_pirhana
should scare those concerned about terrorism's domestic possiblilities (UK bombers aside)? I mean, If I were a terrorist, committed to the destruction of the West, things like introducing non-native fishes to kill the aquatic life in our rivers, crop diseases and various bovine diseases to kill our food supply, the poisoning of our water supplies, setting many forrest fires and other relatively EASY things to do for one who was determined would be a very effective way to go about it. I mean, all the response that it would get from Bush would be that he would declare yet again, that Islam is a religion of peace and we have extremist amongst us and that we need to bomb Iran.

Dennis Dale said...

The biggest limitation with the gdp rankings is that they don't show wealth distribution within countries.
Mexico, for instance, has deeper pockets of poverty, a much thinner middle class, and that oligarchical caucasian class Mr. Sailer has written about in the past.

From the Mexican's perspective, Mexico's ongoing strategy to perpetuate open borders can be seen as a quite sensible answer to excess labor. They would be derelict if they willingly relinquished the advantage presented by our economy.

Some like to describe open borders as a sort of global anti-poverty program; but in the exchange between us and Mexico, it also perpetuates corrupt practice and inhibits real reform within Mexico. Hey--I guess it is a lot like other anti-poverty programs in that regard, enabling dysfunction by introducing artificial conditions.

One thing I find curious is that there seem to be almost no professionals migrating from Mexico; the relative compensation for a professional in Mexico compared to the U.S. is probably not nearly as out of whack as that for the unskilled. Of course, their relative absence from the mass suggests their relative scarcity in their economy. Labor supply and demand still works normally south of the border. I wonder if the toilet whirlpool moves clockwise as well. I'll have to check that out next time I'm down there.

A news item I found unintentionally humorous popped up before the Bill died last week; someone had polled Silicon Valley types to get their reaction to the points system proposals.
Of course, all those smart people thought the idea ludicrous (therefore, according this Olympian pronuncement, it must be a bad idea, was the article's suggestion).
Of course, there's no way all those painfully smart folk could be thinking of self-interest. Apparently not something smart people do, existing as they do in a wondrous realm of abstraction where wealth manifests all by itself.

blogger said...

We have a short blurb on Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim today and all things billion$ -



Think Billion$
http://thinkbillions.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

The model of Slim: monopolist through political connections, is one that the elites in this country wish to follow. For obvious reasons. Upward mobility is deeply threatening to entrenched elites.

GWB probably loves Slim. He's one of his own kind.

Anon -- you misunderstand the nature of the current terrorism. The old-school terrorists like the IRA or ETA or even PFLP had very limited political objectives that it was easier for governments to give in on. Release of prisoners, pay-offs, etc. And the killing stops. Basically a Mafia-like shakedown of fat and comfortable governments too lazy to simply exterminate gangsters. Or politically unable.

Now the violence IS the message. Submit or die. For this message to be understood, large amounts of the infidel have to die, in spectacular fashion, in front of TV cameras. Usually with smoke and flame. The message is that the government is powerless, this will continue, until you submit. It's far more tribal, more decentralized, and distributed.

But since bodies on TV are what counts, forest fires or piranhas in South Carolina Rivers or such won't matter. Skyscrapers coming down or a nuclear blast leveling a city (highly likely within a few years) are what matters.

As for Iran, they have waged constant war upon us (they sent Qods Force to kill the five GIs in Karbala, and snatch the three GIs, of which Pvt Joe Anzack was tortured, mutiliated, beheaded, and dumped). Iran also has openly sent IRGC to Afghanistan and has killed US soldiers there, according to NATO.

Far from wanting "war" with Iraq, GWB has thrown in his lot with the Dems and opposes any action (he probably wanted a Dem Congress so he could get his open borders and amnesty passed). His military is in open revolt against him. They don't like seeing their guys killed by Iranians and nothing done about it.

For the first time in the War, the Pentagon is leaking like a sieve even if the MSM does it's best to censor/avoid reporting (such as Michael Yon's account of AQI barbarity, beheading even little kids). Nevertheless it is getting some play on Fox, a few other outlets.

Bill Roggio (former Spec Ops guy, embedded mil-blogger, your go-to-guy for Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan news, check out his chilling reporting on what may be the fall of Musharraf Gov't to the Taliban) has the full report here here

Money quotes:

"Brig Gen Bergner said three training camps for the "Special Groups" have been identified inside Iran. Last month, U.S. satellite reconnaissance identified a mockup of the Karbala PJCC inside Iran. This facility was used to train the Qazali network for the Karbala attack.

Brig Gen Bergner said senior Iranian leadership was aware of Qods Force's activities inside Iraq. “Our intelligence reveals that the senior leadership in Iran is aware of this activity.” Brig Gen Bergner further explained it "would be hard to imagine" that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, would not be aware of Qods Force's role in the Iraq violence. Qods Force reports directly to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei."

Bush doesn't want war with Iran (though it appears Iran does want it, likely because they think they can win). He's been able to silence his military for some time. They appear now to have simply decided to ignore him.

In case you missed it, the spokesman for the MNF-Iraq pointed directly at Khameni, the Supreme Leader, and said he was responsible for our guys getting killed.

Bush is so weak and useless even his duty-first Generals are ignoring him. What Bush wants at this point is irrelevant.

Sort of back on topic, what's interesting about Iran is how like Mexico it is. Just as in Mexico, there are an appalling number of very poor people (Ahmadinejad is very popular with them, he's like his buddy and ally Hugo Chavez). With some very, VERY rich people. Who might give Carlos Slim a run for his money.

Where the difference is with Slim, is that the very, very rich (Rafsanjani, Khameni, various IRGC commanders) got rich not by being born into connections and using official corruption.

But by KILLING PEOPLE. Every one of these guys either personally, or through direct orders, made their bones in the Revolution and elsewhere by killing people (political rivals or wealthy targets who's property they took). Imagine Al Capone running AT&T back when it was something, and you get the idea. Would Slim personally walk up and shoot someone in the head? Or order it done? Certainly not, he'd consider it disgusting and distasteful and far more efficient to use the officialdom to corruptly encumber his enemies with a thousand corrupt legalisms.

Ahmadinejad (who projects a Jerry Brown ascetism while managing his own corrupt empire) is reputed by the hostages to have tortured them directly and various Iranian emigre groups charge that he (like Che btw) personally shot "enemies of the Revolution." Since the US Embassy hostages spent more than a year being tortured by him, I guess they'd know and recognize him.

For a Carlos Slim, position, birth, don't rock the boat corruption and influence works for him. It made him even richer. For guys like Ahmadinejad, Khameni, Rafsanjani, personally killing people made them rich. Khameni is probably as rich as Slim. Maybe richer.

Once you look at their background, how they got to be who they are, it's easier to understand why they'd make what looks like an idiot's gamble: provoke war with the US. They think they can win, and have walked away winners from similar fights before. It's not as if they are afraid of US consequences. A guy who started his political career torturing US Embassy people with impunity is not likely to be impressed with any threats. The rest of the Iranian leadership is even harder.

tommy said...

Some like to describe open borders as a sort of global anti-poverty program; but in the exchange between us and Mexico, it also perpetuates corrupt practice and inhibits real reform within Mexico. Hey--I guess it is a lot like other anti-poverty programs in that regard, enabling dysfunction by introducing artificial conditions.

Open borders libertarians insist there are no harmful consequences for Mexico when its entrenched oligarchy siphons off its excess labor. Just like the law of supply and demand, this seems to be another area where libertarians insist otherwise ironclad laws about politics and economy simply don't hold. They may not trust the American government, but they sure seem to view Mexico's tinpot rulers fairly uncritically.

So, how much money would Steven Landsburg insist Carlos Slim owes me if I decide to sneak across the border into Mexico? Lets say I'm worth one-tenth of one of Slim's family members....

Anonymous said...

My favorite neo-con wrote:

"But since bodies on TV are what counts, forest fires or piranhas in South Carolina Rivers or such won't matter. Skyscrapers coming down or a nuclear blast leveling a city (highly likely within a few years) are what matters"


To my favorite neo-con:
If they (Muslims) weren't HERE, they could do none of these things could they? Why do we let them immigrate here in the first place? What was wrong with the Republic we had HERE in 1980 or the republic Britan had in 1975?



As for my open question of why there aren't more terrorists attempting to poison livestock with diseases, poison our water supply, and set forrest fires and your dismissal of it: Im glad they dont of course, but if I were them, its a sure way to demoralize a republic further..........even better if you DONT claim responsibility. It could also keep authorities from looking after those you have sent here to really detonate something big, and it would throw sand in the gears (especially the forrest fires if enough residences got involved to trouble insurance companies rather deeply) of our economy in totality. Total war is just that, total war. Another reason that I'd like to just get off oil, leave the mideast alone, and seperate the West from Islam.

Anonymous said...

"Just like the law of supply and demand, this seems to be another area where libertarians insist otherwise ironclad laws about politics and economy simply don't hold."

Two questions:

1) Shouldn't the relative shortage of labor in Mexico (since so many Mexicans are here) lead to an increase in Mexican wages?

2) Since Mexico is a democracy, and millions of illegals are flush with cash, why don't they pool their resources to back candidates who will deregulate Mexico's monopolies and create more jobs and opportunity there?

Anonymous said...

Dennis Dale: Mexico, for instance, has deeper pockets of poverty, a much thinner middle class, and that oligarchical caucasian class Mr. Sailer has written about in the past.

I would have posted this in the next piece at iSteve, "LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa needs a new last name", but Mr. Sailer didn't provide one of those "***Permalink/Comments***" for it.

Anyway, yesterday I was googling for pictures of Villaraigosa's new squeeze, Mirthala Salinas, and I found one deep in the bowels of this page:

SVREP - Latino Vote 2005 Banquet

Now I couldn't figure out what "SVREP" stood for, but they claim that their motto is "Su Voto Es Su Voz - Your Vote is Your Voice".

Anyway, in scrolling through the pictures at that banquet, it became abundantly clear that all of those race-baiting frauds and demagogues are, in fact, CAUCASIANS!!!

They have about as much aboriginal blood in them as I do.

And to pretend that any of these descendants of the original Castilian Caucasians who conquered Mexico have anything whatsoever in common [either genetically, or culturally] with the tens of millions of illegal aboriginals they seek to decriminalize is simply ludicrous.

PS: The best "SVREP" picture of Mirthala Salinas is here:

IMG_0039.JPG

No question but that she's a smokin' hot babe, although I suppose that's not gonna be of much condolence to the soon to be ex-Mrs. Villaraigosa, [which will make her what? Just Miss Raigosa again?].

PPS: Some more pictures here, of a "Mirthala Salinas" who works for a "Noticiero Telemundo 52", but I can't decide if she's the same chick or not:

MirthalaSalinas-01a.jpg
MirthalaSalinas-01b.jpg
MirthalaSalinas-01c.jpg
L4M-talentbio.asp?ID=8

Anonymous said...

Just found another picture of Mirthala Salinas, which seems to fall about halfway between the two above:

10905851_640X480.jpg

So now I'm thinking they all could be of the same chick [just with different hairstyles, makeup, and possibly some rhinoplasty].

Anonymous said...

Two questions:

1) Shouldn't the relative shortage of labor in Mexico (since so many Mexicans are here) lead to an increase in Mexican wages?


I don't have a ref at hand, but this is exactly what's happening. And no, these millions of illegals have better uses for their cash than lobbying or backing political candidates: the monopolists "win" because they're an entrenched, concentrated interest group.

fifi said...

I'm glad this announcement came out after S. 1639 was defeated. It lends credence to our argument that Mexico simply refuses to invest in its poorest citizens. The fact that Carlos Slim could become that wealthy in a country that we are led to believe is hopelessly entrenched in poverty is eye-opening. How can their politicians approach us like beggars desperate for food for the masses after this?

Let that great humanitarian Carlos Slim distribute a $20,000 grant per returning illegal family to start a business or get job training. He can also establish a fund for the Mexican Dream Act - free college education for every low-income student who does well on the Mex-SAT.

Maybe we should stop worrying about legislation and start faxing, e-mailing and phoning Carlos Slim petitioning him to be the hero of his people.

Realitycheck said...

Anon:
Anyway, in scrolling through the pictures at that banquet, it became abundantly clear that all of those race-baiting frauds and demagogues are, in fact, CAUCASIANS!!!

Maybe some of those mexicans pictured are more on the Caucasian side, but everyone of them shows clear Indian admixture.
You are a bit deluded.
Mexicans runs the whole spectrum from virtually zero percent indian blood among the upper classes (although even them can claim some on their maternal side from the beginning of the colony) to fully Indian. The majority are somewhere in between, or say 70 % native 30 % Caucasian.

Anonymous said...

From this month's Psychology Today:

"In societies where rich men are much richer than poor men, women (and their children) are better off sharing the few wealthy men; one-half, one-quarter, or even one-tenth of a wealthy man is still better than an entire poor man. As George Bernard Shaw puts it, "The maternal instinct leads a woman to prefer a tenth share in a first-rate man to the exclusive possession of a third-rate one." Despite the fact that humans are naturally polygynous, most industrial societies are monogamous because men tend to be more or less equal in their resources compared with their ancestors in medieval times. (Inequality tends to increase as society advances in complexity from hunter-gatherer to advanced agrarian societies. Industrialization tends to decrease the level of inequality.)"

Mark said...

Industrialization tends to decrease the level of inequality.

This is why I never bother with Psychology Today. Who is this author kidding?

If anything, industrialization has increased inequality. Ted Turner, for example, is quite a large landowner - a million acres or so, I believe. Aside from being a warlord or emperor, under what pre-modern conditions could such a man control so much land? Industrialization + modern government bureaucracy is a key factor in creating inequality - which is not always bad, but is still true.

I think what's happened is that advanced societies have understood that to maintain the peace, men need to have something to work for - and that means a wife. A society where men have that chance is a more prosperous and peaceful one. Alternatives? Look at Africa and the Middle East.

...most industrial societies are monogamous because men tend to be more or less equal in their resources compared with their ancestors in medieval times.

European societies are less tolerant of the sexual monopolization of women by men in power. When people were bothered by the fact that Bill Clinton was sleeping around, it wasn't just because of concerns about ancient rules allegedly handed down by a bush on a mountain.

Whenever you read in the history books that "so-and-so led Nation X for 50 years and had 100 wives and 800 concubines" you can (almost?) always be sure it was not a European nation or empire. Please cite an example if I'm wrong.

Even Charlemagne (would you call him a Medieval ruler?), who Christianized much of Europe at a time when Christianity didn't place a strong emphasis on monogamy, only had a handful of official wives and concubines during his life. And Henry VIII's marital troubles certainly preceded the industrial revolution.

I'm not saying that European rulers were always choir boys, but when they did get a little action on the side they had to keep it dark.

Anonymous said...

We're utterly inept at police actions, but war-real war-is something we do pretty good. The hard and crazy Iranians are that: crazy. In a real war they will be flattened, root and branch.

Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing B-52 Arc Light strikes again. It's just too bad we don't have 16" naval guns anymore.