If the fame and status of a major global metropolis is determined by the number of billionaire inhabitants, then Moscow has officially overtaken New York City, with the Russian capital hosting 48 billionaires compared to NYC's 43. More importantly, the number continues to rise even as economists and other so-called experts debate the reasons for society's record inequality even though the answer stares all of them in the face (at least it would if their face were facing the chart below).
But while we are confident Putin will take particular enjoyment in this specific fact (and don't worry about sanctions impacting Russia's billionaires - the banks will always find loopholes to make sure their best clients don't wire their funds elsewhere), the real story is what is going on in London, where as anyone who has tried buying an apartment flat in Mayfair will confirm, the situation is absolutely out of control, and as the Sunday Times reports as part of its annual Rich List, London now has a whopping 72 billionaires, nearly double the number residing in New York!
And it is not just London: with 104 billionaires living in the UK, and commanding a combined wealth of £301 billion, the UK has more billionaire per capita than any other country.
The increase in one year is startling, and represents an 18% jump from the 88 in 2013, as well as a 23% increase in the total wealth of the billionaire universe, up from £245 billion a year ago.
As BBC reports, "It is the first time since 2008 that the minimum wealth of the 50 richest people in the UK has exceeded £1.5bn." And you know that at least a whopping $4.99 of this will be spent on thank you notes to Bernanke, Draghi and Carney.
A fortune of £1.7 billion is now required to make the top 50 - up from £700 million 10 years ago. Aside from that though, and everything else, deflation reigns supreme...
More from the BBC on the changing compsition of the list :
New members of the list include West End producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh, who is now worth £1bn, and Jon Hunt, the founder of estate agents Foxtons who is worth £1.07bn.
The wealthiest new entry is Carrie and Francois Perrodo and their family, who own the London-based Perenco oil and gas operation and are worth an estimated £6.14bn.
Philip Beresford, who compiles the list, told the BBC "culture, financial services, nice tax regime, good education for their kids and a nice lifestyle where they meet their friends" were among the reasons billionaires were attracted to the UK.
BBC financial correspondent Andrew Verity said the increase in the number of billionaires on the list undermined the argument that making them pay more tax would drive them away."
Some other statistics:
More than half (39) of London's billionaires were born outside the UK, but overall the proportion was lower, with 44 of the 104 not born in this country.
Also, it goes without saying that as IBTimes summarizes, "the figures are likely to add to concern that though the recession may be over, the rich are reaping the greatest rewards from the recovery, with the amount of wealth in the hands of the rich list members leaping by £55.4bn in a year."
Oh well, as long as the 99% still believe the lie that the welfare state is solvent (which keeps the guillotines at bay or else the French revolution scenario becomes all too real), and more importantly that since plasma TVs are getting hedonically cheaper and the BLS can say with a straight face that there is disinflation everywhere, the theft from what little is left of the middle class will continue.
Meanwhile, the beneficiaries of this wealth transfer are the people listed below which comprise the Top 25 of the Sunday Times rich list.
- Sri and Gopi Hinduja, £11.9bn, up £1.3bn
- Alisher Usmanov, £10.65bn, down £2.65bn
- Lakshmi Mittal and family, £10.25bn, up £250m
- Len Blavatnik, £10bn, down £1bn
- Ernesto and Kirsty Bertarelli, £9.75bn, up £2.35bn
- John Fredriksen and family, £9.25bn, up £450m
- David and Simon Reuben, £9bn, up £719m
- Kirsten and Jorn Rausing, £8.8bn, up £3.69bn
- Roman Abramovich, £8.52bn, down £780m
- The Duke of Westminster, £8.5bn, up £700m
- Galen, Hilary and George Weston and family, £7.3bn, up £650m
- Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken and Michel de Carvalho, £6.36bn, down £635m
- Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber and family, £6.16bn, up £1.65bn
- Carrie and Francois Perrodo and family, £6.14bn, new
- German Khan, £6.08bn, new
- Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay, £6bn, up £3.65bn
- Hans Rausing and family £5.9bn, up £1.18bn
- Nicky Oppenheimer and family, £4.57bn, up £785m
- Earl Cadogan and family, £4.2bn, up £525m
- Joseph Lau and family, £4.03bn, down £570m
- Sir Philip and Lady Green £3.88bn, no change
- Denis O'Brien, £3.85bn, up £486m
- Mike Ashley, £3.75bn, up £1.45bn
- Sir Richard Branson and family, £3.6bn, up £86m
- Idan Ofer, £3.43bn, new