If Bill Gates Were a Country, His $84 Billion Would Rank Him at #66 in the World by GDP – Between Cuba and Sudan
Before I get into anything I know what you’re all thinking “That’s not how GDP works! That’s not how any of this works!” Yes, it’s not exactly how GDP works since it measures economic activity in a year compared to Bill Gates’ $84 net worth he’s built over a lifetime. This is just an interesting thought experiment showing how some individuals’ massive wealth relates to some nations’ economic output.
Obviously, Bill Gates has done very well for himself and does amazing things through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Even after giving away billions of dollars through charitable donations, on a GDP vs. net worth basis, he’s doing better than 2/3rds of the nations on Earth.
Personal finances aside, there are plenty of people who could beat out at least one country – Tuvalu. With a GDP of around $32 million, the Pacific island country is one of the smallest sovereign nations by land area (10 sq mi.) and population (10,600). Due to the aforementioned statistics and the lack of natural resources, the country doesn’t have much of an economic impact on the world.
Tuvalu itself is a beautiful island that enjoys a warm climate and some uninhabited areas off of the main island. However, tourism is relatively sparse since access to the island is difficult, usually involving switching planes two or three times. This lack of tourism is, in large part, what is responsible for the massive disparity between Tuvalu and the country with the next lowest GDP – Kiribati – itself with a GDP of about $180 million, nearly 6 times that of Tuvalu.
Size itself doesn’t always matter when it comes to GDP, seeing as Hong Kong, if it were an independent country, would rank at #40 in the world and it’s only 427 sq mi. with much of that area being taken up by parks and other uninhabited areas.
Coming back to Bill Gates, it’s hard to argue against the fact that he as an individual has had a bigger economic impact on the world economy than a country like Tuvalu. Looking at where he would rank compared to actual nations, it becomes more difficult to determine whether Bill Gates or Sudan has had a bigger impact on the economy as a whole. Certainly, countries like Cuba and Sudan have had a bigger impact on the world when looking at the situation through a holistic lens but that’s a totally different topic.
It’s an interesting stat but that’s really all it is at the end of the day. It shows that some individuals have a massive net worth, which I am personally alright with (I know there are people out there who aren’t), and that a lot of good can come from those individuals who want to make the world a better place.
Related: 100 Richest People in World History: How Wealth is Created and Preserved