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Cake day: July 7th, 2023

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  • The article doesn’t go super easy on the family, although it omits the company’s abuses:

    In 2000, India had nine billionaires, according to Oxfam. Now, India has 200 billionaires, who collectively hold around $1 trillion in wealth, according to Forbes — nearly a quarter of the country’s 2023 gross domestic product.

    A recent study about wealth and inequality in India subtitled “The Rise of the Billionaire Raj” found that the total wealth of billionaires has steadily increased from under 5 percent of national income in the 1990s to more than a fifth in 2022.

    The Ambani family’s wealth and influence are so unquestioned that even the use of public resources to aid his private festivities can be a source of pride. In March, the pre-wedding function they hosted in Jamnagar, a town in the western state of Gujarat where Reliance’s oil refinery is based, threatened to overwhelm the town’s small domestic airport.

    To Ms. Venkatesan, the celebration was about more than the wealthy getting wealthier; she was bothered by what she called the “valorization” of this kind of wealth.
    It’s not just the mind-boggling rise of billionaire wealth that is new, but also the way that wealth has created a new kind of royalty in a country well acquainted with maharajahs.
    Like yesteryear’s royal families, today’s billionaires are increasingly keeping their wealth within their class — either through dynastic succession or by marriage.