I received a superannuation statement the other day – on current projections my retirement fund will be able to buy a caffe latte and a piece of cake! Well, maybe not the cake. So I’ve reconsidered my financial situation, and now have an excellent retirement plan – I’m hoping that the Large Hadron Collider will eventually create a black hole, destroying the Earth in a fraction of a second. Everyone wins!
So there’s no chance I’ll be appearing on the Forbes 400 anytime soon.
For those who don’t follow the exploits of the obscenely rich, Forbes magazine has been around since 1917 and is available “bi-weekly” in the US, and fortnightly everywhere else. It’s most famous for its Forbes 400 list, which has been published annually since 1982. This is a list of the USA’s 400 richest people – Forbes is effectively Smash Hits for business nerds.
I’ve never understood the appeal of this list – does anyone care whether a “Real Estate Mogul” you’ve never heard of is worth more than a “Technology Titan” you’ve never heard of? Are there people who rush out on the morning of publication to find out if they’ve finally made it to number 271 this year? Does the person who was 401st on the list get a “highly commended” certificate and a McDonalds voucher?
Forbes has a site where you can see the full 400. If you enjoy pictures of old men in non-descript suits, this is the place for you. Honestly, you’ve got 12 billion dollars, would it hurt you to buy a outfit that doesn’t look like you got it at Savers?
We all know real life is boring, so why don’t Forbes do a list of the richest fictional characters? What’s that, they already do?
The Forbes Fictional 15 has sporadically appeared since 2002, and the rules are thus:
“To qualify for the Fictional 15, we require that candidates be an authored fictional creation, a rule that excludes mythological and folkloric characters… they must be known, both within their fictional universe and by their audience, for being rich. Net worth estimates are based on an analysis of the fictional character’s source material, and are valued against known real-world commodity and share price movements. In the case of privately held fictional concerns, we sought to identify comparable fictional public companies.”
The most recent list is from December 2007 – the fictional envelope please….
|Rank||Name||Net Worth ($bil)||Age||Residence||Source|
|1||Scrooge McDuck||28.8||80||Duckburg, U.S.A.||Mining, Treasure Hunting|
|2||Ming the Merciless||20.9||74||Mingo City, Planet Mongo||Technology|
|3||Richie Rich||16.1||10||Richville, U.S.A.||Inheritance, Conglomerates|
|4||Mom (Futurama)||15.7||158||New New York, Earth||Technology, Conglomerates|
|5||Jed Clampett||11||51||Beverly Hills, CA||Oil & Gas, Banking|
|6||C. Montgomery Burns||8.4||104||Springfield, U.S.A.||Energy|
|7||Carter Pewterschmidt||7.2||70||Newport, R.I.||Inheritance, Steel|
|8||Bruce Wayne||7||32||Gotham City, U.S.A.||Inheritance, Defense|
|9||Thurston Howell, III||6.3||60||Private Island, Pacific Ocean||Howell Industries|
|10||Tony Stark||6||35||New York, NY||Defense|
|11||Fake Steve Jobs||5.7||52||Palo Alto, CA||Apple Computer, Pixar|
|12||Gomez Addams||2||51||Westfield, N.J.||Inheritance, Investing|
|13||Willy Wonka||1.9||57||Kent, England||Candy, Aerospace|
|14||Lucius Malfoy||1.6||51||Wiltshire, England||Inheritance|
|15||Princess Peach||1.3||23||Mushroom Kingdom||Inheritance|
Forbes points out that Scrooge McDuck becomes the first non-mammal to top the list in 2007, so that’s good news for non-mammals everywhere. Keep reaching for that dream!
I didn’t know who a couple of the listees were and had to look them up:
Carter Pewterschmidt is Peter‘s obnoxious father-in-law in Family Guy.
Fake Steve Jobs was a parody of Apple head Steve Jobs. (See what they did there?) He ran a blog for a while before being outed as Daniel Lyons, a senior editor at Forbes. Fake Steve Jobs has also released a book.
Princess Peach (formerly Princess Toadstool) is a damsel-in-distress character in the Nintendo Mario series of games. She gets kidnapped a lot.
Forbes also has a list of the top 25 fictional businesses as well – it’s nice to see the Soylent Corporation doing so well after all this time (they do have the best advertising line in town – “Soylent Green IS People”. Whoops, spoiler!)
The 25 Largest Fictional Companies were:
- Acme Corp.
- Sirius Cybernetics Corp.
- Rich Industries
- Soylent Corp.
- The Very Big Corp. of America
- Frobozz Magic Co.
- Warbucks Industries
- Tyrell Corp.
- Wayne Enterprises
- Umbrella Corp.
- Wonka Industries
- Stark Industries
- Clampett Oil
- Oceanic Airlines
- Yoyodyne Propulsion
- Cyberdyne Systems Corp.
- d’Anconia Copper
- Nakatomi Trading Corp.
- Spacely Space Sprockets
The motto of Forbes magazine is “The Capitalist Tool”. Curiously, I am not making that up.