Russian Billionaires vs. American Billionaires: Who's Best at Excess?

BillionairesIn the late 1980's, the Great Recession was far in the future, Gordon Gekko was in theaters, and Wall Street's movers and shakers were some of America's greatest heroes. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, the Soviet Union was a grim, cold wasteland filled with long lines and cabbage-based cuisine. Everybody wanted to be in finance and nobody wanted to be in Moscow.

What a difference a few decades make.

Today, things seem to be flipping. Spearheaded by John Thain, Dick Fuld and Angelo Mozilo, Wall Street's money men have become America's go-to villains, while Russia's crop of ambitious young billionaires have captured the public's imagination -- and some of the world's most coveted trophies.

But how do Russia's billionaires stack up against America's home grown oligarchs? To find out, we took a peek at some of the richest men in the world -- on both sides of the Arctic Ocean.

Bruce Watson is a senior features writer for DailyFinance. You can reach him by e-mail at, or follow him on Twitter at @bruce1971.

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Some people show their hate for wealth by their work ethic.

Some people show their desire for wealth by their work ethic.

Look at Al Gore he became rich(er) by selling Carbon Credits (what ever those things are good for).
Now he can fly around in a private jet and live ina gigantic house.

April 30 2012 at 6:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Then there's Warren Buffett, who still lives in the same house in Omaha that he bought in the 50s, eats dinners at Gorat's Steakhouse, and likes Dairy Queen for dessert.

April 27 2012 at 1:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Soooo the Koch bros are rich A holes, but George Soros wasn't even mentioned. LOL You know,it's sad in this country that smart people that achieve and create jobs for a lot of other people are now villians, while worthless governement that does nothing but destroy wealth and creates nothing but hot air are now the "good guys"! Sad

April 27 2012 at 9:29 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to zzcog's comment

Wow, this is certifiable insanity unusual even for a liberal. The Koch brothers employ 50,000 Americans, including MANY union workers. They are patriots.

George Soros HATES this country. He wrote in one of his books that, “The main obstacle to a stable and just world order is the United States.” Of course you likely feel the same way.

Soros made BILLIONS betting against the currency of countries, and bragged about making a billion dollars in one day by almost DESTROYING the British Sterling. No wonder you sick liberals love this guy!

April 27 2012 at 12:28 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Hey genius, more from your hero George Soros:

"It may be shocking to say, but I believe that the current unilateralist posture of the United States constitutes a serious threat to the peace and prosperity of the world.”
"Democracy cannot coexist with capitalism. Now is the time for democracy."
"The sovereignty of states must be subordinated to international law and international institutions.”

You are a charter member of the post America left in our country today. And in your warped minds American patriots with the exact opposite philosophy are the problem! But thanks for validating my long held contention that liberalism is merely a severe psychiatric disorder!

April 27 2012 at 12:41 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to tmoschetti's comment

Careful in using the term liberalism. Democracy is a liberal form of government, when compared to prior forms of government. The idea of letting the common people select people to handle essential matters of government (defense, courts, law enforcement, roads, etc.) was downright radical.

April 27 2012 at 1:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

Russian billionaires,thats democracy.LOL

April 27 2012 at 7:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Garfield Whittak

ha6ai the economy (which is structured and protected by government--since there can be no nation-state with which to yield wealth without government ) has a finite resources with which to create wealth. So when a few acquire billions within said political economy millions go without a critical minimum of income (the proverbial 99%) which means that debt levels will rise eventually collapsing the entire political economy into recession/depression as consumption falls precipitously. So much for your smoke and mirror arguments of class warfare propaganda; ones meant to promote erroneous thoughts of envy by the many have-nots seeking to keep their respective national economies solvent via equitable wealth distribution!

April 26 2012 at 11:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Garfield Whittak's comment

So, don't you get more of what you reward? High taxes and redistribution of wealth by government force is somehow "GOOD"? How about letting free markets and work ethic create this "distribution" Your pie in the sky theory has been tried over and over again (communism) and just doesn't work. Goes against human nature, just look at the millions of unempoyed right now that WILL NOT go back to work until they have to. By the same token those that produce are given less and less incentive. Remember, "human nature", sorry your utopia doesn't exist. Their is a reason that communist?? China is now more capitalistic that we are!

April 27 2012 at 9:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You are very wrong. There may be a finite amount of some measures of weath, such as land or precious metals. But the main measure of wealth, cash, is far from finite.

By the same token, a person of modest income lives far better than someone of higher income 30 or 40 years ago. An smart phone is pretty cheap, and whether it's cellular or landline, long distance calls are generally unlimited. It wasn't that many years ago that AT&T charged for the 1st 3 minutes plus each additional minute, and touch-tone phone service was more than rotary.

I can remember when ABS and seat heaters were only available on luxury cars. My Chevy has seat heat, and ABS is standard.

Laptops and good quality printers are affordable. I remember when only businesses bought IBM Selectrics, because they were so darn expensive. It was easy to tell a letter that had been typed on and IBM versus a Smith-Corona portable electric or a Royal upright.

So, the vast majority of the 99% live a lot better than the wealthy did even 20 years ago.

April 27 2012 at 1:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Garfield Whittak

The handful of billionaires (who are all politically/economically connected) are heroes while the world's billions of poor folks are zeros.......folks who are poor because they are lazy/bums!

April 26 2012 at 11:11 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

I think that Russion that had the minurature giraffe and was hookedup to the muscle guy to get muscles was pretty exessive!

April 26 2012 at 10:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Battle of the a$$holes. How wonderful.

April 26 2012 at 10:06 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dquandle's comment

Yeah, here again the old class warfare, they are ******** because they are smart and resourceful enough to make a success out of themselves.?? Sorry, jealousy is a bitch.

April 27 2012 at 9:36 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Aol Huff & Puff can continue to post all this BS day after day but it doesn't change the fact that

OBAMAS A FIASCO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

April 26 2012 at 6:14 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

....soon to be Brooklyn Nets

April 26 2012 at 11:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply