THE NET worth of Jeff Bezos, the man who founded Amazon in 1994, crossed $150 billion Monday, 60% higher than the net worth of the world’s second richest man, Bill Gates. While Amazon, with a market cap of over $880 billion, continues to be the biggest moneyspinner for Bezos who has an over 16.2% stake in the company, he also makes investments in his personal capacity or through Bezos Expeditions, the company that manages his venture capital investments. He became an angel investor in Google in 1998, and has invested in companies such as Uber and Airbnb.
AMAZON, the world’s largest e-tailer, generating revenues of $177.9 billion in 2017, and had a net income of $3.03 billion. It has made several acquisitions and investments in companies that include Whole Foods, Twitch.tv, Kiva Systems, and Zappos.com.
BEZOS EXPEDITIONS has over the years put money into Twitter, Juno Therapeutics, Workday, General Fusion, Rethink Robotics and Business Insider, among others. It recently invested in the startups GRAIL and EverFi.
THE WASHINGTON POST was bought by Bezos for $250 million in 2013. Under him, a rejuvenated Post has become a powerful critic of the policies of President Donald Trump, holding his administration to account under the masthead line, “Democracy dies in darkness”.
What is $151 billion, Bezos’s net worth, equivalent to?
More than 6% of India’s GDP, which, as per recent CSO estimates, is worth $2.45 trillion (2017-18).
Nearly three-and-a-half times the estimated net worth ($42.3 billion) of India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani. Bezos’s net worth is 50% higher than the total market capitalisation of Ambani’s Reliance Industries ($101 billion as on July 17, 2018). The listed entities of the Tata Group have an aggregate market cap of over $160 billion, more than Bezos’s net worth.
With $151 billion, Bezos can buy over 3,430 tonnes of gold, which can fill a room of 4.7 cubic metre (or 15.4 cubic feet) capacity.
BILL GATES, $95.3 bn: Co-founder of Microsoft; owns about 1%. The rest of his fortune is managed through Cascade Investment, which controls stakes in dozens of publicly traded companies.
WARREN BUFFETT, $83 bn: Chairman and largest shareholder of Berkshire Hathaway, which has given a nearly 21% compounded annual gain in market value since 1953. It owns Geico, Clayton Homes and Dairy Queen; has stakes in Coca-Cola, American Express.
MARK ZUCKERBERG, $82.8 bn: Co-founder and chief executive of Facebook, which had revenues of $41 billion in 2017.
AMANCIO ORTEGA, $74.8 bn: Owns 59% of Inditex, the world’s largest clothing retailer. It is the parent of Zara and eight other retail brands, and has more than 7,400 stores worldwide. Its revenues in the year up to January 2018 were $29 billion.
Loss aversion: The psychological response that extends from football to trade wars
Over the last couple of weeks, as pictures of distraught fans of losing sides (right) at the World Cup appeared on TV screens, one expression was used repeatedly in the more thoughtful analyses of these reactions: “loss aversion”. It describes the human tendency to prefer the avoidance of loss to the acquiring of equivalent gain; the reason being the pain of defeat is felt more strongly than the happiness of victory. This psychological response was first described in 1979 by behavioural economists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky (Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk: Econometrica, Vol 47, No 2), and has since been used to understand a range of actions in fields from sporting battles to trade wars, healthcare benefits to taxation.
A paper by Peter Dolton and George MacKerron of the University of Sussex published this April concluded that football, the world’s most popular game, “on average makes us unhappier” (than happier). The researchers worked with large data sets on football matches and their results in Britain, and the happiness reported by fan-respondents. The core conclusion: a victory for the local side had a positive effect on people’s happiness, but this effect was significantly smaller than the negative effect of a defeat. And the negative effect of defeats lasted for longer than the positive effects of victories. The upshot: football made people unhappier than happier overall.