Bil­lion­aires’ First Bow: Oct. 5, 1987

Forbes - - Forbes @ 100 -

Forbes PUB­LISHED Its first rank­ing of the world’s bil­lion­aires with a 50-page spe­cial re­port: “A bil­lion dol­lars seemed a good place to draw a line be­tween wealth and great wealth. How some­one man­aged to make or hold a bil­lion dol­lars is likely to tell you some­thing about how the world works.” The is­sue high­lighted names both well-known (Kerry Packer) and less so (Ger­man mail-or­der queen Grete Schickedanz) while ex­clud­ing roy­alty (Saudi Ara­bia’s King Fahd) and dic­ta­tors (North Korea’s Kim Il-sung).

Only 24 coun­tries were home to bil­lion­aires; 67 are to­day. China and Rus­sia had none; In­dia just one. One thing has re­mained con­stant: Amer­ica has al­ways had the most ten­fig­ure for­tunes. In 1987 the U.S. had 49; Ja­pan ranked se­cond with 24, fol­lowed by West Ger­many (13), the United King­dom (7), and Hong Kong and Canada (6 each).

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