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Who the Billionaires Are

Who the Billionaires Are

(p.10) Chapter One Who the Billionaires Are
Billionaires and Stealth Politics
Benjamin I. PageJason SeawrightMatthew J. Lacombe
University of Chicago Press

Chapter 1 introduces the billionaires who are the primary subjects of the book: the one hundred wealthiest US billionaires, those who occupy the upper reaches of the Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans. The chapter profiles some of the billionaires near the top of the list, such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Charles and David Koch, the Walton Family, and Michael Bloomberg. It also focuses on what the group as a whole is like. We find that the billionaires in our study are overwhelmingly white and male, and that they tend to be older and of Western European origin. The chapter then inquires where their money came from: inheritance? entrepreneurship? what sorts of businesses? The end of the chapter briefly explores issues of “fair compensation” involving merit and effort, help from others, and just plain luck. It closes by considering some political implications of vast concentrations of wealth.

Keywords:   billionaires, democracy, political power

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