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The modern world has no better method for determining who the best people in the world are than the Forbes Rich List. The unveiling of the2019 edition of the listhas produced its usual reassuring assessment of those who are currently winning at the great game of life as measured in net worth, the only objective measure but there are sad notes too.

Forbes reveals that the world now contains only 2,153 billionaires, 55 fewer than last year. As if this were not distressing enough, its also reported that those billionaires who remain have suffered a collective $400 billion drop in their wealth. Fully 994 billionaires are poorer than they were a year ago, and if that doesnt make your heart bleed then you are simply made of stone.

Lets not get weighed down in doom and gloom, however. Though 247 billionaires dropped off the list, 195 new ones joined, and we should welcome joyfully the likes of Spotifys Daniel Ek and of course Kylie Jenner at 21 the worlds youngest self-made billionaire as long as you accept a very particular definition of self-made.

As to the upper reaches of the Rich List, its no surprise to see Amazon emperor Jeff Bezos at the top, followed by Bill Gates. At number three comes investor Warren Buffett, then fashion brand supremo Bernard Arnault, Mexican mobile phone king Carlos Slim, Spanish retail titan Amancio Ortega, tech tycoon Larry Ellison, Facebook wunderkind Mark Zuckerberg, financial whiz Michael Bloomberg and, rounding out the top ten, Google co-founder Larry Page. A list that confirms not only the virtue of wealth, but the general superiority of Americans.

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