Carlos Slim World’s Richest

David Simmonds

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So telecommuncations magnate Carlos Slim, the son of Lebanese immigrants, has been declared the world’s richest man by Forbes magazine, who has a list for just about everything, it seems. Way to go, Carlos! You employ 270,000 of your fellow Mexican citizens in your conglomerate of department stores, restaurants, hotels, oil drilling, construction businesses and banks. You are a significant reason that Mexico’s economy ranks 13th in the world in GDP. And by all accounts, you don’t flaunt your wealth with a fleet of Italian sports cars and Monte Carlo-based yachts. With a net worth of over $53 billion US it would be tempting to own a few world-class toys, but Carlos has an older model Mercedes and has lived in the same Mexico City house for 40 years, while donating over $10 billion to charity since 2006, a portion of which is restoring the historical sections of the capital city. These things speak well of Slim and his family, and they should be congratulated.

But when you look at the living conditions and the poverty so apparent in the country, something doesn’t add up. There have long been allegations that government contacts and favors have created the conditions for some select people to do so well, while most citizens scrape by day by day, with no hope of ever clawing their way up the economic ladder. Many people feel the game is rigged, and not in their favor. Anyone who has traveled Mexico extensively would have to agree with that. People need hope, not the cynicism and despair that permeates much of Mexico society. (I know, what’s a gringo doing analyzing Mexico when the top 1% owns 38% of the wealth in the U.S.?).

Many of these conditions have been grandfathered into the system for decades, being cemented during the 71 years of monopolistic PRI rule. Current President Calderon is a smart and good man, and has vowed to help even the playing field for all Mexicans. I believe it will happen, but it will take much time. Hopefully, the country will have the patience and will to continuously work towards that goal, and the officials will understand that they can’t wait forever.

3 Responses to “Carlos Slim World’s Richest”
  1. laura pedreschi janson 26 April 2010 at 3:23 pm #

    sr. slim

    le escribo respetuosamente como residente del pueblo de volcan y estamos hondamente preocupados por los proyectos de hidroelectricas sobre el rio chiriqui viejo. despues de sus dos proyectos aprobaron 8 mas y eso es un soberano desastre. yo que usted me preocuparia porque ademas, la primera de las hidroelectricas paso ancho hydro ha hecho tan mal las cosas que cualquier hydroelectrica abajo de ellas, corre peligro. que tal si hacemos las cosas bien? sus hidroelectricas no tienen fama de ser asi, mil gracias,
    laura pedreschi janson

  2. Maria 27 November 2011 at 9:02 pm #

    Como residente de Volcan, me apunto a los comentarios de Laura Pedreschi Janson. Es triste ver como un empresario reconocido internacionalmente este haciendo un projecto de hidroelectricas tan vergonsosamente explotador como lo es el del Rios Chiriqui. Supongo que despues de todo… el dicho aquel… “Que Poderoso es don dinero”.. es uno que se le puede aplicar al prestigioso Sr. Slim en este caso ya que ignora los comentarios y peticiones dela poblacion.

  3. [...] Slim is well known in Latin America and abroad as one of, if not the wealthiest CEO in the world. He was even mentioned on the Colbert Report this past week introducing him to the American public [...]

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