Elon Musk Suffers Biggest Loss of Wealth in Modern History

Elon Musk’s net worth has more than halved over the past 13 months, making it the biggest loss of wealth in modern history.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Musk’s net worth declined by a striking $208 billion in the past year alone–that’s roughly the same as the annual GDP of Greece. That amount is also more than the total net worth of the world’s richest person, LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault, and makes Musk the only person in history to have ever lost 200 billion.

Musk’s throne previously sat at the top of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, but that spot has since been overtaken by Arnault. His net worth was previously $338 billion; it now stands at $132 billion. While the disparity between these two figures was certainly historic, Musk remains the second-richest person in the world.

The nosedive in Musk’s fortune is largely attributed to the breakdown of Tesla’s stock in recent months, which plunged 56% in 2022, or 70% of its total value. The myriad of issues facing Tesla has dealt a particularly devastating blow to the company, with production delays in China after missing growth targets, vehicle recalls over malfunctioning Tesla models, and a surge of competition in electric vehicles from established automobile manufacturers. 

According to CNN, evidence of car buyers’ sinking interest in Teslas became clear last month after the company announced a rare sale in a bid to clear out inventory. Tesla offered two rebates for buyers having a vehicle delivered before the end of the year, with an initial discount of $3,750 before the rebate doubled to $7,500 just before the end of 2022.

But the latest issues contributing to Tesla’s market failures are concerns among investors that its CEO has been distracted by his new role as head of Twitter, a move that has dominated headlines in light of Musk’s behavior on the platform.

His incessant tweeting and increasingly erratic behavior, particularly after taking over as CEO of the platform and firing half of its workforce in a move that received sufficient outrage, has angered Tesla investors who want Musk to pay more attention to his significantly larger and more valuable company. Musk has ardently defended himself against critics, saying he hasn’t missed a major Tesla meeting since taking on responsibility for Twitter. But amid the myriad of new issues plaguing Twitter under Musk’s rulership, including a free-for-all checkmark system that quickly drew users’ ire, Musk’s distractions may further complicate things over at Tesla (and with his own fortune).

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