ER Editor: The article referred to below at the French site Challenges lies behind a paywall. What is visible in the article is this:
What a year! The total professional wealth of France’s top 500 richest people is approaching 1,000 billion euros, a 30% jump. With a disturbing observation: after eighteen months of pandemic, while the country is coming out of a major economic shock that has caused its GDP to fall by 8%, the gaps have widened even within this 26th ranking, between the average of the “500” and the very first. Today, the wealth of the 10 richest French people is almost 100 billion more than that of the other 490 richest French people. Bernard Arnault, number one in our ranking (and shareholder of Challenges), symbolizes this gap: his wealth has increased by more than 55 billion in one year, to reach 157 billion. This increase alone represents a quarter of the increase in the value of all the companies in our ranking! Once again, the luxury industry has been the best fuel for making fortunes.
So the manufactured virus crisis hasn’t just been an even greater economic separation of Them vs Us, but an enhancement of those at the very top.
And it seems that Asia, China in particular, has been behind the success of people like Arnault. From the June 28, 2021 article from American Shipper, How China became the big winner of the COVID era, we get this:
When news first broke of the COVID lockdown in Wuhan, the initial prediction was: The virus will cripple the economy of China, which is the engine of global trade, and that will be terrible for the shipping business.
Eighteen months and 3.9 million deaths later, the pandemic has had the opposite effect. Ships are full and, ironically, the country where the outbreak began has seen the biggest and broadest economic upside.
Chinese exports are now much higher than they were before the outbreak, courtesy of pandemic-induced changes in consumer behavior and COVID-driven fiscal stimulus from the world’s governments.
The only major economy to grow in 2020 was China’s. GDP growth continued in Q1 2021. Business is at an all-time high for Chinese liner operators, shipyards and container-equipment factories.
Globalisation + Manufactured Virus Crisis = men like Arnault.
While millions inside France are poor and facing an illegal mandatory vaccination policy, and the country has lost 8% of its GDP.
Covid crisis: French billionaires increase by more than 14 percent
According to the ranking published on July 8, the number of French billionaires has increased from 95 to 109 in one year. The increase in the wealth of the 500 largest French fortunes has jumped by 30 percent. Despite Covid, a minority of the ultra rich continues to prosper.
PARIS – The ranking was published in the magazine Challenges, showing that the cumulative wealth of the 500 largest fortunes in France has increased by almost a third in one year.
The list is dominated for the fifth consecutive year by Bernard Arnault, the boss of LVMH, with the largest market capitalization in Europe. The strong recovery in luxury goods in the second half of 2020, driven by Asia, caused the share prices of the giants of the sector, including LVMH (Vuitton, Dior, etc.) and Kering (Gucci, Saint Laurent, etc.) to soar, and therefore the assets of their executive shareholders.
According to the magazine, which made its calculation according to the professional assets of personalities between June 2020 and June 2021, the amount of the fortune of the 500 richest in the country “is now close to 1 trillion euros”. “These are the strongest annual increases ever recorded by our list, set up in 1996,” Challenges pointed out.
The number of French billionaires was 51 in 2011, according to the media. Arnault was the richest man in the world for a few hours in May, ahead of the American Jeff Bezos (Amazon).
“The crises make us stronger,” Arnault said at the end of April, commenting on the good financial results of LVMH, the world number one in luxury goods.
EBay founder Pierre Omidyar, eighth, doubled his estimated fortune between 2020 and 2021, as lockdowns have boosted the online trade in second-hand items. “The top ten, those whose fortune exceeds 13 billion euros, saw their assets jump by 37 percent. The 490 others saw theirs increase “only” by 25 percent.
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