FirstRand founder and chairman Laurie Dippenaar said that while he agrees with many pro-poor initiatives, lambasting the super-rich is counter-productive.
Speaking to Alec Hogg at Davos 2015, Dippenaar said that the debate regarding the wealth of the super-rich sometimes needs context.
“In 2014 they pointed out that the 86 wealthiest people in the world’s asset base is equal to that of the three-and-a-half billion poorest people,” said Dippenaar.
“Using their own numbers, I did the calculation that if you confiscated every single Dollar from the 86 wealthiest people, each one of the poorest three-and-a-half billion would get $500.”
He added that the destruction of wealth will also destroy the biggest job creators – aka the rainmakers.
“My point is that on the bus would have been the Google founders, and I say ‘who uses Google’. Everybody…hundreds of millions of people,” said Dippenaar.
“How much do you pay for Google? Nothing, so don’t be cross with the Google founders,” he added.
Dippenaar also argued that Bill Gates’ biggest contribution to this world is not giving away his fortune, but rather the software he developed.
“Windows lifted the productivity of the entire world, probably by two or three percent,” said Dippenaar.
“The more spectacular one is giving away your fortune. However, his contribution to the world was probably even greater just doing what he had to do at Microsoft.”