What's the cliché about the rich getting richer? That certainly happened in 2013. The combined wealth of the billionaires of the world hit an all-time stratospheric high of $5.4 trillion in 2013. That's up from $4.6 trillion in 2012. But not all of the world's billionaires are as beloved and altruistic as tycoons like Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Sara Blakely. These three billionaires are just a few examples of the dozens of tycoons who have promised to give away half their wealth to charity as part of The Giving Pledge. Some billionaires can be considered downright despicable human beings. It should be noted that this list is very subjective. Now let's take a look at some of the least popular billionaires in the world.
The Koch Brothers
- Charles Koch net worth: $49 billion
- David Koch net worth $48 billion
- William Koch net worth $3.3 billon
These three stooges need little introduction. Charles and David, who still are affiliated with Koch industries, arguably have very little regard for the environment or the planet, and are supposedly among the world's biggest polluters. William Koch, who left the family business, is just strange. He built a faux Western town for his own amusement and paid $2 million for a photo of Billy the Kid.
The brothers make the list of least popular billionaires because of their political leanings and contributions which have done everything from fund the skeptics of global warming via California's Proposition 23, to strangling democracy in Wisconsin by limiting the collective bargaining agreement of public employees.
Silvio Berlusconi – Net worth $8.5 billion
At this point, Berlusconi's name is synonymous with controversy, as his reign of monopolistic terror has gone on so long. He is one of Italy's longest-serving post-war prime ministers who made his fortune in the telecom industry. His personality is nauseatingly smarmy and he has taken the concept of sex scandals to all new levels. His misogynistic "bunga bunga" parties have given new meaning to cheesy excess. When he was confronted about having sex with an underage prostitute, he blithely replied, "At least I'm not gay." Charming. Berlusconi's criminal record is lengthy and impressive and covers crimes including bribery, tax fraud and the illegal financing of political parties. Like I said, charming. How does he stay out of jail? He makes up new laws that allow him to remain a free man. Berlusconi has been committing crimes in Italy and getting away with it for years.
Rupert Murdoch – Net Worth: $14.3 billion
Rupert Murdoch has built his fortune on the shady side of journalism. The Australian media tycoon is largely responsible for the loosely fact checked, paparazzi fueled, sensationalist style of "news" we are treated to every day. He is the king of misinformation through the various properties under the News Corp banner. Forget, for the moment, how politicians can buy favor with Murdoch's empire, causing him to mandate the reporting of falsities that contributes to the mistrust of the mainstream media and the breakdown of democracy in the U.S. Instead, let's focus on the hacking scandal he was recently connected to. Employees of his "newspapers" (as a journalist, Murdoch's rags hardly qualify as real newspapers) were caught hacking into the phone of a murdered girl and bribing police, among other atrocities to get a story.
The Walton Family
- Christy Walton net worth: $41 billion
- Jim Walton net worth: $40 billion
- Rob Walton net worth: $38.5 billion
- Alice Walton net worth: $37.1 billion
- Ann Walton Kroenke net worth: $5.5 billion
- Nancy Walton Laurie net worth: $4.6 billion
The family behind Walmart is the richest family in the U.S. and heirs to the huge Walton fortune. In fact, the Walton family alone have 0.14% of the entire U.S.'s wealth. The Walmart business model may be profitable for the Waltons, but has also been described as despicable. It relies on pushing down salaries and forcing workers to a lower standard of living. Full-time hourly employees of Walmart make $12.50 an hour but there aren't many full time employees, because that would require the company to provide benefits. The Waltons seem to want to keep their fellow Americans down, as they fund a number of conservative political causes, including those that undermine education.
Donald Trump – Net Worth: $4 billion
Trump might be the original douchebag. He's shallow, narcissistic, mean, and bullying. He speaks seemingly with no regard for the actual truth and sticks by his lies like they are the Bible. He picks fights with celebrities for dumb reasons. And who can forget how he went after Obama during the 2012 election cycle, demanding to see his birth certificate to prove the President of the United States was a U.S. born citizen. All this high and mighty, meanwhile, comes from a man who trades his wives in for increasingly younger models.
Gina Rinehart – Net Worth: $14 billion
We recently profiled Gina Rinehart and her interesting, if contentious, life. She is the richest woman in Australia, but she is not a fan of the working class. She recently self-published a book and in it she called for Australian workers to work for $2 a day. Oh yes, she surely did say that. She also told poor people they'd be better off if they stopped being jealous of rich people, worked harder and smoked and drank less. Isn't she charming? It should be noted that Gina inherited her position in life from her father.
Sheldon Adelson – Net Worth: $29.5 billion
Casino mogul and COMDEX founder Sheldon Adelson surely has an altruistic side with all his philanthropic donations to Jewish, Holocaust Memorials, and pro-Israel groups. However, Sheldon has also spent a small fortune fighting the very unions and employees that keep his casinos running.
Carl Icahn – Net Worth: $26 billion
Icahn is, quite simply, a corporate raider. He developed his ruthless reputation after his hostile takeover of TWA in 1985. After the takeover Icahn systematically sold off TWA's assets to repay the debt he used to purchase the company, which was described as asset stripping. In fact, Ichan was part of the inspiration for the Gordon Gekko character in Wall Street.
Peter Peterson – Net Worth: $1.7 billion
Peterson founded the Blackstone Group alongside Stephen Schwarzman (who deserved a spot on this list, but we didn't want to be redundant). Peter Peterson earns a spot on this list due to his agenda. Simply put, he wants to do away with Social Security and Medicare. You know, those programs that keep millions of Americans out of the lowest levels of desperate poverty, many of who are senior citizens.