World’s Billionaires $524B Richer as 2013 Ends, and One of Them Puts the Pope on Notice

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January 3, 2014; Today (Singapore)

The Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily ranking of the world’s 300 wealthiest individuals, counts the net worth of the world’s top billionaires at US$3.7 trillion at the end of 2013, a gain of $524 billion from last year, and—what great news!—“The rich will keeping getting richer in 2014,” according to John Catsimatidis, the billionaire founder of real estate and energy conglomerate Red Apple Group. “Interest rates will remain low, equity markets will keep rising and the economy will grow at less than 2 percent.” Bill Gates is the poster child for this accumulation of riches with $78.6 billion, an increase of $15.8B.

Meanwhile, according to CNBC, Home Depot’s Ken Langone, who is Catholic and a billionaire, would appreciate if the Pope would be more circumspect on the subject of “unfettered capitalism.” As NPQ reported yesterday, this was the theme of his New Year address. But Langone recently met with Cardinal Timothy Dolan to talk over his concerns, telling the cardinal that if the pope persists in dinging the “culture of prosperity” that he says perpetuates indifference to the poor, it could make devout Catholics turn away from their goodhearted charity. Langone topped the whole concoction by sharing his belief that Pope Francis’ opinions could leave rich Catholics “incapable of feeling compassion for the poor.”

I will leave readers to write a concluding paragraph for this newswire, if only silently.—Ruth McCambridge

This Newswire has been updated


  • Daveed

    “Money” is tantamount to “services provided.” Is it a shock that those who have provided valuable services in the past will continue to do so? Or that those who have provided so little to others will continue the trend? Such jealousy.

  • Simone Joyaux

    Well… I could say I am flabbergasted. But I’m not, really. Obviously, all the wealthy do not feel like Mr. Langone – or are too (smart? civilized? whatever…) to say it out loud.

    Some people subscribe to the “self-made myth.” You know… “I made my money because I worked hard and I’m smart and the others who don’t make so much money… Well they should just pull themselves up by their bootstraps!” A bit of unearned privilege, possibly. A big bit of absurdity. No one is really all that “self-made.” read the great book “The Self-Made Myth: And the truth about who government helps individuals and businesses succeed.” Authors: Brian Miller and Mike Lapham.

    I hope the Pope laughs in Mr. Langone’s face. Happy new year.

  • Julia K.

    My opinion of Home Depot just plummeted.

  • John Fritz

    Ken Langone: “Pope Francis, it’s YOUR fault we can’t feel compassion for the poor”. Where is the personal responsibility, the lack of which the rich like to lament?

  • Lisa B

    I think most of the mega wealthy already are “incapable of feeling compassion for the poor.” Those born into it have never suffered and those who “pulled themselves up” naively think everyone has the same access and opportunities they did to earn it.

    Mr. Langone’s unveiled attempt to influence the Pope through Dolan is despicable. As if the Pontiff would change his stripes to please him because he’s wealthy. It might work for Members of Congress but the pious leader of the world’s catholics? I think not.

    Shame on you. Maybe I’ll start shopping at Lowe’s more often.

  • Ellis Ralph

    Pope Francis has markedly increased the capability of “feeling compassion for the poor” for the vast majority, all except maybe . . . 1%.

  • Richard

    I am happy that the Pope and the church he heads up is quite a bit above the pandering level that this “leader of Home Depot” seems to think. I would like to start shopping more at Lowe’s, but I understand most their donations are Republican, just like Home Depot.

  • JJ

    Yet another indication that the Pope is doing something right.