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There are two types of economies in the world: those who create wealth and those who create poverty

There are two types of economies in the world, those that create wealth, and those that create poverty. The economy of the United States is unique in its ability to create wealth.

Two African employees of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange walk across the lobby

Two brokers traverse the lobby of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters)

Let’s take Bitcoin, for example. Bitcoin has created tens of thousands of millionaires, through nothing more than investment speculation. As of 2022, approximately 40,500 Bitcoin investors, who traded exclusively in this cryptocurrency, saw their investments reach a value of at least $1 million. 

This is just Bitcoin, but there’s so much more. Apple went public 36 years ago on December 12, 1980, and their IPO alone created nearly 300 millionaires. Google’s IPO created over 1,000 millionaires. Stock appreciation from Apple and Google combined, is said to have created over 300,000 millionaires, many just ordinary investors. 

Out of a population of 332 million people, the United States is currently home to 18.6 million millionaires, the highest number in the world. There are also 614 billionaires in the United States, out of a total of 2,755 billionaires worldwide. 

Jeff Bezos’ net worth is $168 billion. Bill Gates’ net worth is $116 billion. Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth is $119 billion. Elon Musk’s net worth is $243 billion. Warren Buffet’s net worth is $118 billion. Together, the net worth of these five businessman is three quarters of a trillion dollars. The combined net worth of the 400 richest Americans is currently estimated at $3.6 trillion.

By comparison, as of 2023, Africa’s GDP is estimated to be $3.1 trillion. Africa’s GDP has generally followed an upward trend over the past decade, and by 2027, it is estimated to reach $4.2 trillion. But, by 2027, the combined net worth of the 400 richest Americans is estimated to grow to $4.5 trillion. 

The US is distinctive in its ability to originate affluence. This is due to a variety of reasons, including being the home of the S&P 500, the NASDAQ, and having a more developed system of equity finance than anywhere else in the world. 

The wealth the US economy generates, in turn promotes consumption as a primary driver for GDP growth. GDP per capita in the US, which currently stands at approximately $65,000, allows for high levels of consumer spending, and thus high levels of employment. 

By contrast, for African nations, where the majority of the populace lives on less than $6 a day, with an average family size of 5, consumer spending cannot be the primary driver for economic growth, or for employment. Approximately, 85% of Africans live on less than $5.50 per day. This level of GDP per capita, and the anemic consumer spending that comes with it, is incompatible with meaningful economic development.

There are two types of economies in the world, those that create wealth, and those that create poverty. The nations that think development can occur without creating wealth are the latter.


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