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Bill Gates Goes Shopping

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted October 6, 2009


surfer girl


I always knew Bill Gates was rich, but this was a bit of a shocker….

As it turns out, the richest man in America is so loaded that he could buy almost anything—-including Bolivia. 

Not bad for a kid from Seattle who stumbled into computers in the late 60’s.

Of course, he’s not the only one that could make himself king…..

Here’s the story on that score from Forbes.

It’s in an article by Keren Blankfeld entitled: Countries Billionaires Could Buy

“Castles in France. Islands in the Caribbean. Private jets. With a collective $1.27 trillion at their disposal, the members of The Forbes 400 could buy almost anything.

How about a country? A quick glance at the CIA Fact Book suggests the individual fortunes of many Forbes 400 members are as big as some of the world’s economies.

Bill Gates, America’s richest man with a net worth of $50 billion, has a personal balance sheet larger than the gross domestic product (GDP) of 140 countries, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Bolivia and Uruguay. The Microsoft visionary’s nest egg is just short of the GDP of Tanzania and Burma.

Warren Buffett, who lost $10 billion in the past 12 months and is this year’s Forbes 400 biggest dollar loser, still has a fortune the size of North Korea’s economy at $40 billion. (The Oracle of Omaha probably would steer clear of that investment, though.)

Some say that land developer Donald Bren, whose assets throughout the vicinity of Orange County, Calif., include 475 office buildings, 115 apartment communities, 41 retail centers, resort properties and new housing, runs Orange County—he certainly owns most of it. And with a net worth of $12 billion, he could, in theory, buy Haiti’s economy, too.

Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson’s $9 billion net worth is akin to the Bahamas’ GDP ($9 billion). Pierre Omidyar, founder of, the world’s biggest auction marketplace, could theoretically control Somalia’s market with his $5.5 billion fortune.

George Lucas, the famed Hollywood director behind the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises and ILM, the world’s most bankable special effects shop, has a $3 billion fortune, making him worth as much as the GDP of Guyana.

Hedge fund founder David Shaw’s $2.5 billion net worth parallels Belize’s marketplace.

Investor John Paulson amassed much of his fortune by exploiting the real estate bubble and shorting the subprime market in 2007. Today he has a net worth of $6.8 billion—the equivalent of Montenegro’s gross domestic product.

Although Eli Broad’s fortune suffered because of AIG’s collapse last fall—he’s lost $1.3 billion in the last 12 months—he still has a bank account that rivals Barbados’ economy ($5.4 billion).”


Not a bad list.

By the way, if I was Gates, Costa Rica would be at the top of my list.

The waves there are sweet.


Related Articles:

Bill Gates Sheds a Few Billion

Gates Squirms, Jobs Chuckles

The Warren Buffett Investment Principles

Buffett Warns of an “Economic Pearl Harbor”

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