20 Richest People in the United States in 2011


(ref: Forbes 400, forbes.com. GDP data from 2010 CIA Factbook)

The total worth of the 400 wealthiest in the United States rose to $1.53 trillion.  Numbers in [brackets] are countries with the closest approximate GDP.

  1. Bill Gates ($59.0 bil; 55 yo; Medina, Washington;   Microsoft) [Lebanon, Tanzania]
  2. Warren Buffett ($39.0 bil; 81 yo;  Omaha, Nebraska; Berkshire Hathaway) [North Korea]
  3. Larry Ellison ($33.0 bil; 67 yo; Woodside, California; Oracle) [Paraguay]
  4. Charles Koch ($25.0 bil; 75 yo; Wichita, Kansas; diversified) [Trinidad, Estonia]
  5. David Koch ($25.0 bil; 71 yo; New York, New York;  diversified) [Trinidad, Estonia]
  6. Christy Walton ($24.5 bil; 56 yo; Jackson, Wyoming; Wal-Mart) [Estonia]
  7. George Soros ($22.0 bil; 81 yo; Katonah, New York; hedge funds) [Georgia]
  8. Sheldon Adelson ($21.5 bil; 78 yo;  Las Vegas, Nevada; casinos) [Mozambique]
  9. Jim Walton ($21.1 bil; 63 yo; Bentonville, Arkansas; Wal-Mart) [Mozambique]
  10. Alice Walton ($20.9 bil; 61 yo; Fort Worth, Texas; Wal-Mart) [Zambia, Macedonia]
  11. S. Robson Walton ($20.5 bil; 67 yo; Bentonville, Arkansas; Wal-Mart) [Zambia, Macedonia]
  12. Michael Bloomberg ($19.5 bil; 69 yo; New York, New York; Bloomberg LP) [Madagascar]
  13. Jeff Bezos ($19.1 bil; 47 yo; Seattle, Washington; Amazon.com) [Madagascar]
  14. Mark Zuckerberg ($17.5 bil; 27 yo; Palo Alto, California; Facebook) [Nicaragua, Chad]
  15. Sergey Brin ($16.7 bil; 38 yo; Los Altos, California; Google) [Mali]
  16. Larry Page  ($16.7 bil; 38 yo;  Palo Alto, California; Google) [Mali]
  17. John Paulson ($15.5 bil; 55 yo; New York, New York; hedge funds) [Papua New Guinea]
  18. Michael Dell ($15.0 bil; 46 yo; Austin, Texas; Dell) [Papua New Guinea]
  19. Steve Ballmer ($13.9 bil; 55 yo; Hunts Point, Washington; Microsoft) [Benin, Malawi]
  20. Forrest Mars ($13.8 bil; 80 yo; Big Horn, Wyoming; candy) [Benin, Malawi]

Net worth of the 20 wealthiest Americans for 2011: $459.2 billion [Pakistan].The net worth of the 400 wealthiest Americans was $1.53 trillion [the GDP of Mexico or the combined total GDP of Chile, Ghana, Ethiopia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia] or 10.4% of the $14.66 trillion GDP of the United States .

Check out Teaching Economics as if People Mattered – Born on Third Base for an interesting lesson plan about wealth and the Forbes 400.

Here’s a link to the 2009 list of the 20 Richest People in the US.


20 Richest People in the United States in 2009

Forbes 400 graphic

(ref: Forbes 400, forbes.com. GDP data from indexmundi.com based on 2008 CIA Factbook)

In 2009, the net worth of the top 20 wealthiest fell by 13.8% and there are 3 newcomers to the top 20 group (indicated by an asterisk*). The total worth of the 400 wealthiest in the United States fell by $300 billion to $1.27 trillion. Numbers in [brackets] are countries with the closest approximate GDP. Continue reading

75 Countries and Life Expectancy for Living There

(ref: CIA World Factbook, Reuters, World Bank, Wikipedia)

This is a list of the top 75 countries for highest life expectancy in the world. Those countries offering some form of universal healthcare are noted with an asterisk (*) and the country name is in bold. Healthcare per capita (person) costs are in US Dollars. Continue reading

10 Tips to Help Nonprofits Survive an Economic Recession

(ref: How to Prepare Your Nonprofit for an Economic Recession by Richard Male, Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training)

Here are 10 tips from Grassrootsfundraising.org – a really good resource for socially conscious nonprofit organizations looking for ideas and advice for raising more money (and who isn’t these days?)

  1. Make it personal and stay in touch with your donors. Call them by
    phone to thank and update them, invite them to tour your building, or have breakfast briefings a few times during the next six months.
  2. Don’t rely as much on direct mail either for acquiring new donors or for getting relatively new donors to renew their support. Studies show that direct mail donations have been flat or decreasing.
  3. Expect foundation funding to decrease as foundations’ investment portfolios take a hit. Foundations will be tending to focus more on their existing grantees rather than on new organizations.
  4. Stay in touch with all your donors more regularly. Create a monthly e-newsletter for all of your donors, friends, and stakeholders that will keep them in touch with what is happening in your organization. Collect as many e-mail addresses as you can.
  5. Redefine your major donors downward so you have a larger base of “high touch donors.” If you define your major donors now as those who give $500 or more, try to lower the threshold amount to $250 so you will have a larger pool of donors.
  6. Focus more on a “few major donors” and increase the personal time you spend with them. They may be your lifesavers during tougher economic times.
  7. Rely less on corporate philanthropy and more on corporate sponsorship and marketing dollars. Corporate philanthropy (small even in good times) will probably decrease. What is likely to increase is sponsorship and underwriting dollars for special events.
  8. Increase your fundraising capabilities. Invest time and money in your database, attending a workshop or training session. Increase your development staff. Realize your costs may increase a bit during these times.
  9. Increase opportunities for your donor prospects and your donors to become involved. Donors are looking for increased involvement and less checkbook philanthropy. Look for ways they can be active in volunteering.
  10. Develop contingency plans that answer all of the “what if” questions in terms of reduced revenue. Can you use volunteers where staff were functioning in good times? Are there opportunities for board members to play more technical roles?


The Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training (GIFT) is a multiracial organization that promotes the connection between fundraising, social justice and movement-building. GIFT believes that how groups are funded is as important to achieving their goals as how the money is spent, and that building community support is central to long-term social change.

Richard Male is a national and international consultant and trainer with nonprofit organizations in the field of capacity building and coaching. Visit him at http://www.richardmale.com

20 Green Jobs (and what they pay in California)

(ref: Green Jobs Guidebook, www.edf.org/cagreenjobs)

Here’s a partial list of jobs that can help save our planet while providing opportunities for career growth even in a struggling economy.

  1. Solar Lab Technician — Performs a variety of tests on solar devices, examines test samples and reads blueprints, diagrams, instruments and operational instructions. Salary: $19-$25/hr. Minimum education: Associate’s degree in a related field.
  2. Solar Energy Engineer — Perform site-specific engineering analysis and evaluation of energy efficiency utilizing building simulation software. Salary: $75K – $80K. Minimum education: Bachelor’s Electrical Engineering.
  3. Wind Turbine Sheet Metal Worker — Perform all operations necessary to make, install, and repair a wide variety of sheet-metal products related to wind turbine production. Salary: $14-$22/hr. Minimum education: Apprenticeship or Trade School.
  4. Wind Turbine Mechanical Engineer — Responsible for design, development, testing of all aspects of mechanical components, equipment, and machinery. Salary: $90K+. Minimum education: Bachelor’s Mechanical Engineering.
  5. Biologist – Marine/Fisheries — Plan and conduct evaluations of factors affecting California’s fish populations and provide oversight of fisheries monitoring programs. Salary: $25-$32/hr. Minimum education: Bachelor’s in Biology
  6. Environmental Health and Safety Lead — Ensure compliance of plant operations with federal and state requirements relating to air emissions, solid waste, hazardous waste, waste water treatment, and chemical management. Salary: $81K-$96K/yr. Minimum education: Master’s or equivalent in Environmental Science, Environmental Management, Environmental Engineering, Chemistry or Biology.
  7. Soil Conservation Technician — Provides technical assistance to land users in planning and applying soil and water conservation practices. Salary: $16-$24/hr. Minimum education: Bachelor’s in a related field.
  8. Forestry Conservation Worker — Perform manual labor necessary to develop, maintain, or protect forest, forested areas, and woodlands, and build erosion and water control structures and leaching for forest soil. Salary: $15-$22/hr. Minimum education: HS or GED.
  9. Forestry Restoration Planner — Collaborate with field and biology staff to oversee the implementation of restoration projects and to develop new projects. Salary: $73K-$84K/yr. Minimum education: Master’s in Ecology, Biology, Environmental Science or other related areas.
  10. Energy Conservation Representative — Inspects homes of utility customers to identify conditions that cause energy waste and suggests actions. Salary: $20-$32/hr. Minimum education: HS or GED.
  11. Energy Efficiency Finance Manager — Project-manages energy efficiency projects and policies and conducts relevant market analysis and research. Salary: $90K/yr. Minimum education: Bachelor’s in accounting, finance, business administration.
  12. Civil Engineer — Deals with overall design, construction, and maintenance of green buildings. Salary: $73K-$84K/yr. Minimum education: Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering.
  13. Commercial Green Building and Retrofit Architect — Participate in all phases of design for commercial and educational buildings. Salary: $90K-$107K/yr. Minimum education: Bachelor’s in Architecture.
  14. Commercial Energy Field Auditor — Conducts energy audits in commercial businesses and identify areas of improvement. Salary: $12-$14/hr. Minimum education: Associate’s degree in Building Materials, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Energy Management.
  15. Train System Operator — Work as a train conductor or train system engineer. Salary: $20-$24/hr. Minimum education: HS diploma or GED.
  16. Climatologist — Conducts climate change research and data analysis. Salary: $65K-$85K. Minimum education: Bachelor’s in scientific or engineering discipline.
  17. Environmental Scientist — Conducts research to identify and abate/eliminate sources of pollutants that affect people, wildlife, and their environments. Salary: $65K-$85K. Minimum education: Bachelor’s in scientific or engineering disciplines.
  18. Recycling Center Operator — Performs daily operations at a Recycling Center, including materials processing and customer service. Salary: $11-$18/hr. Minimum education: none.
  19. Environmental Technician — Develops methods and devices used in the prevention, control and correction of environmental hazards. Salary: $40K-$53K/yr. Minimum education: Associate’s degree in Engineering.
  20. Geothermal Operations Engineer — Collect and process information on geothermal field and plant performance and diagnose problems with geothermal wells. Salary: $70K-$80K/yr. Minimum education: Bachelor’s in Engineering.

You can read more about these and other Green Jobs by visiting the Environmental Defense Fund website at http://www.edf.org

Also try checking out 35 Colleges with a Strong Concern for Social Justice and Service-Learning.

7 Measures of Gross National Happiness (GNH)

(ref: Gross National Happiness (GNH) — A New Economic Metric, By Med Yones International Institute of Management)

In 1972, Bhutan’s King Jigme Wangchuck coined the term Gross National Happiness (GNH) to emphasize the holistic values of economic development policies.

“Happiness is very serious business,” Bhutan Prime Minister Jigme Thinley told the San Francisco Chronicle, 12/4/2008. “The dogma of limitless productivity and growth in a finite world is unsustainable and unfair for future generations.”

The International Institute of Management has proposed these seven measures for quantifying happiness as a socioeconomic development metric.

1. Economic Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of economic metrics such as consumer debt, average income to consumer price index ratio and income distribution

2. Environmental Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of environmental metrics such as pollution, noise and traffic.

3. Physical Wellness: Indicated via statistical measurement of physical health metrics such as severe illnesses, being overweight, etc.

4. Mental Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of mental health metrics such as usage of antidepressants and rise or decline of psychotherapy patients.

5. Workplace Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of labor metrics such as jobless claims, job change, workplace complaints and lawsuits.

6. Social Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of social metrics such as discrimination, safety ,divorce rates, complaints of domestic conflicts and family lawsuits, public lawsuits, crime rates.

7. Political Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of political metrics such as the quality of local democracy, individual freedom, and foreign conflicts.

The above 7 metrics were incorporated into the first Global GNH Survey.

Check out Teachingeconomics.org – Signs of the Economic Times for a good lesson plan and animated Flash presentation that contrasts GNP and GDP with other alternative economic measures of human progress.

9 Ways to Look at the Monetary Cost of the Iraq War

(ref: American Friends Service Committee )

One Day of the Iraq War is equal to…

  1. $720 million
  2. 423,529 children with health care
  3. 34,904 four year scholarships for university students
  4. 12,478 elementary school teachers
  5. 1,274,336 homes with renewable electricity
  6. 95,364 Head Start places for children
  7. 6,482 families with homes
  8. 1,153,846 children with free lunches
  9. 84 new elementary schools

But this list can never quantify the human cost of war.