Here's Elon Musk's wealth compared to everything, from McDonald's to Kazakhstan

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  • Elon Musk is the second richest person in the world. He’s currently valued at over $176 Billion.
  • Between April 2020 and April 2021 Elon Musk made $383,000,000 per day on average.
  • His current $176B worth could buy him 5,503,710 Tesla Model 3s.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Following is a transcript of the video.

Narrator: This is a graph of Elon Musk’s wealth to date. Every single day, this graph fluctuates, sometimes by billions of dollars. This point here, near the very bottom of the graph, is roughly $10 billion.

That’s the GDP of Malawi. This was three years ago. This is the market cap of Ford, the GDP of Puerto Rico, the market cap of McDonald’s, Kazakhstan’s GDP, and this, at the very top, that’s $210 billion. That’s the current GDP of Greece.

That’s every single thing that Greece produces in a year, one billion tons of tomatoes, 500 million tons of watermelons, all of their cheese, wheat, oil, the entire tourism industry, and every single other good and service across the country.

But one thing this graph doesn’t get across is just how fast this rise has been. Here’s the same graph over a much longer period. Again, here’s McDonald’s, Ford, and Kazakhstan. Compare any of these to Elon Musk’s line and you can see his growth is almost vertical. So let’s take a closer look to find out what that growth means.

So to get a better understanding of this graph, it really helps to know what this worth actually is. Musk’s wealth is made up mostly of the stocks he owns, the majority of them in Tesla. In fact, if you draw a graph of Tesla’s stock over the top of his wealth, you can see it’s almost exactly the same.

So this is just Tesla. For comparison, here are the two biggest car companies in the world, VW and Toyota. You can see see how out of balance this is with production. VW made eight million cars last year, Tesla made 500,000. Putting Musk’s wealth back in the same scale, you can see the point where his personal wealth overtook VW in August last year, and briefly overtook the value of Toyota.

This spike follows a similar trend to past bubbles. For comparison, here’s the gold bubble of 1979, the Japanese housing crash, which the country has never recovered from, and the .com bubble in percentage increases. Here’s Tesla. So let’s go back to just Elon Musk’s graph. Getting an exact figure on his worth is difficult, as his private wealth is, well, private, and everyone calculates their estimates slightly differently but to get an understanding of just how rich Elon Musk is, it helps to understand the value of a billion.

Let’s compare distance. Traveling one million miles would get Elon Musk 1/34 of the way to Mars, even at its closest point in orbit. One billion would get you there 29 times, but this is just one billion. Musk’s current 176 billion in miles would be 5,104 trips.

This is just April, 2020, to April, 2021. And over the course of this year, Elon Musk’s wealth has gone from 30 billion to $172 billion. That’s a rise of 383 million per day. This much, every single day for a year. Even when compared to the recent rapid growth of other US tech billionaires, like Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos, his wealth has really taken off in the last year.

This specific section though is even more dramatic. This almost vertical line is a five-day period where Elon Musk suddenly became the richest person in the world as his wealth jumped by $39 billion. This amount alone would make him the 35th richest person in the world, just beating Giovanni Ferrero and family, the owners of Nutella.

That one week of earnings could buy Musk the New York Yankees, the Dallas Cowboys, the LA Lakers, the Toronto Maple Leafs, Manchester United, and once he’s run out of big sports teams to buy, enough Boeing 747s to start an airline. But that’s just five days of growth.

His total wealth would buy him a lot more. If Elon Musk was to cash in on this $172 billion worth, he could buy himself 5,030,710 Tesla Model 3s. That’s more cars than exists in Sweden. Those cars, bumper to bumper, would take up so much space that they would stretch 11 kilometers long and four kilometers wide, enough to cover almost the whole of Manhattan.

If he wanted to actually access the cars, he would need to also flatten a large area of New Jersey and Brooklyn to construct the world’s largest car park. And if he didn’t want to invest in Teslas, he could buy almost four million Bitcoins at $40,000 each, almost 20% of the world’s supply, or if he wanted a less volatile investment, a 5.5 meter solid block of 24 karat gold. Gold is really expensive.

And that $172 billion would be enough to buy him the world’s third largest army, bigger than Russia and India’s armies combined. But this isn’t just a static number. If the trajectory of the last year was to continue, that would make Must a trillionaire in just five years.

But with his current investments, that would mean that Tesla would likely have to be valued at over $3 trillion by that point. Another 10 years from now and Musk would hit two trillion, more money than there is currency circulating in the US, and larger than the whole of the current FTSE 100.

But for Musk to reach this incredible value, Tesla may have a problem keeping up with demand. To maintain this growth, Tesla is going to have to start building a lot of new cars, “20 million of them by 2030,” according to Elon Musk, and 20 million cars are going to need a lot of batteries.

It’s predicted that EVs will need the equivalent of 225 billion iPhone 11 batteries by 2030. That’s 100 times the amount of iPhones ever sold. These batteries need materials. Here’s the estimated supply of lithium in the world, and here’s what we’re going to need to sustain this growth, which means in just five years time, this demand could completely outstrip supply.

And soon after that, we could run out of lithium entirely. There are other questions around whether this growth is sustainable, not just feasibly, but ethically too.

As the extreme wealth of Elon Musk and other billionaires has grown, and the income of the bottom 50% of Americans has shrunk, it’s a problem that’s hard not to raise. But there’s another thing that could slow Elon’s rapid growth in future, taxes. The highest marginal tax rate in the US is currently incredibly low, not just compared to other Western countries, but also compared to the US’s recent history.

And here’s another interesting correlation. Here’s a graph of Union Membership in America, the thing Musk broke labor laws tweeting about a few years ago according to the NLRB, but that’s not important for now. Currently, the income disparity between billionaires like Musk and the bottom 50% of Americans is at a similar point to 1930. And that period led to a huge 40% income tax hike, followed shortly by another 13% hike, and another 20% increase during the war.

And if taxes were to once again follow this trend, this inequality could be addressed before it gets even further out of hand. But with the current plan to raise the top tax rate by just 2.6%, this graph may not be changing for a while. Thanks for watching. Let us know in the comments if there are any other stories you want us to cover and make sure you subscribe for more Data on Data.

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