When Tesla chief Elon Musk overtook Amazon founder Jeff
Bezos as the world’s richest person for the first time last
September, Musk told Forbes he was “sending a giant statue of the
digit ‘2’ to Jeffrey B., along with a silver medal.” Nearly eight
months later, neither man is likely in a joking mood.
The U.S. stock market rout this year has seen to that, taking a
massive chunk out of public company values. With inflation surging
and interest rates rising throughout the first half of 2022, stock
markets are facing some of the worst starts to a year in history. The
S&P 500 just posted its seventh straight week of losses, its longest
down streak since March 2001. And the Nasdaq just ended its worst
month (April) since October 2008.
The fortunes of the 50 richest people on the planet (worth a
combined $2.9 trillion as of last Friday’s close) have shriveled by
more than half a trillion dollars since the beginning of the year,
according to Forbes’ estimates. No one has lost more than Musk
and Bezos, whose net worths have cratered by a combined $123.6
billion from December 31 through Friday May 20.