Share

MacKenzie Scott, a novelist and philanthropist who recently divorced Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, is now the wealthiest woman in the world. Last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk overtook Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg to become the third-richest man in the world, after Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates.

The reshuffling at the top of the US billionaires list has been occasioned by a surge in tech stock which is being driven by the coronavirus pandemic .

The NBC reports that since the pandemic lockdowns started in March, the combined U.S. billionaire wealth has grown by nearly $800 billion, or over 25 percent, according to an analysis by Americans for Tax Fairness, an advocacy group.

As part of her divorce, Scott got a 4 percent stake in Amazon, whose stock has been on a tear as coronavirus-induced lockdowns propel online sales and home deliveries. Shares have risen from nearly $2,000 to $3,500 since the start of the year.

Tesla stock rallied after a stock split that took effect on Monday and has soared by 500 percent this year as investors price in expectations that Tesla will dominate the electric vehicle market for the long term. Retail investors on low-cost, low-entry platforms such as Robinhood have also made the stock a favorite, generating self-fulfilling momentum that vastly outstrips the company’s price to earnings ratio, a classic measurement of a stock’s worth.

Musk’s personal fortune has tripled since March, the beginning of the pandemic shutdowns. As part of a recently negotiated pay package, his board will give him another $50 billion if he meets all of a set of agreed-upon performance goals.

The blistering pace of wealth accumulation comes in sharp contrast to the economic devastation that millions of Americans at the other end of the spectrum are facing. With unemployment at 10.2 percent, more than 1 million people a week still filing for first-time unemployment benefits, and lawmakers still at a stalemate over additional emergency funding, some Americans have turned have turned to crowdfunding to keep their stores open, pay for medical procedures — and even funerals.

Nearly half of American households are going hungry, and food pantry demand is up by 20 percent since the beginning of the pandemic, according to Feeding America.

CREDIT :NBC NEWS