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Forbes has released its 38th annual list of the world’s billionaires, showcasing the wealth of the richest individuals across the globe. The list, which features 2,755 billionaires from 67 countries, highlights the incredible wealth amassed by these individuals, with a combined net worth of $13.1 trillion. Despite the economic challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the total number of billionaires on the list increased by 660 from the previous year, demonstrating the resilience of the world’s wealthiest individuals in the face of adversity.

At the top of the list is Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, who retains his position as the world’s richest person for the fourth consecutive year, with a net worth of $177 billion. Following closely behind are Tesla CEO Elon Musk, with a net worth of $151 billion, and Bernard Arnault & family, the CEO of LVMH, with a net worth of $150 billion. The tech industry continues to dominate the list, with tech titans like Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Larry Ellison all featuring prominently among the top 20 billionaires.

The list also showcases the growing wealth of women billionaires, with a record 328 women making the list this year. The richest woman in the world is Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, the heiress of the L’Oreal fortune, with a net worth of $73.6 billion. Other notable women on the list include Alice Walton, the heir to the Walmart fortune, and MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Jeff Bezos, who made headlines last year for her philanthropic efforts.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the global economy, with many industries struggling to survive in the face of lockdowns and restrictions. However, the world’s billionaires have seen their wealth increase by a staggering $5 trillion over the past year, driven by the booming stock market and the rise of tech companies. This has sparked a debate about wealth inequality and the role of the super-rich in society, with calls for higher taxes on the wealthy and greater redistribution of wealth to address the growing disparities.

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the world’s billionaires have continued to thrive, with many using their wealth to fund philanthropic initiatives and support those in need. From vaccine research and development to humanitarian aid and social welfare programs, billionaires have played a key role in addressing the global crisis. However, critics argue that more needs to be done to address the root causes of inequality and poverty, and that the super-rich have a moral obligation to do more to help alleviate suffering and promote social justice.

As Forbes’ 38th annual World’s Billionaires List highlights, the world’s wealthiest individuals continue to amass incredible levels of wealth, even in the midst of a global pandemic. While some billionaires have been lauded for their philanthropic efforts and contributions to society, others have faced criticism for their perceived lack of empathy and social responsibility. As the debate over wealth inequality rages on, the list serves as a powerful reminder of the immense wealth and power concentrated in the hands of a few individuals, and the profound impact they have on the world around them.

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