Sure, familiar names grace today's newly released Forbes 400 list--there's Bill Gates in the top slot, Warren Buffett only $20 billion or so behind him and a few other guys we've been accustomed to seeing grace the pages of the magazine for years. And, truth be told, without lists like these how would we ever keep track of how wealthy David and Charles Koch are this year--they take up two slots at the number 4 position on the list with their $25 billion appraisals. But, we're told there's also a meritocratic trend among the wealthy elite going on: "An all-time high 70% of this year's list are self-made, up from 55% in 1997." And we're seeing enough techie-entrepreneurs on the list that it's starting to look a bit like Vanity Fair's New Establishment power rankings. Well, there is a difference: to get on the Forbes list you need a "price of admission" of a cool $1.05 billion.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.