America is a land of billionaires, boasting five of the 10 richest people on the planet as of the most recent Forbes 500 list. Then again, we’re a large country, and in per capita terms, we lag behind several smaller states. Many of these-like world leader Monaco (No. 1 per capita, with three billionaires in a population of 35,427)-are true micro-nations, or else they’re St. Kitts and Nevis (No. 2, one billionaire, population 53,051): more of a vacation destination for the rich and less a place where people actually go to earn a fortune. But one country stands out on the list: Sweden (No. 12, 14 billionaires, population 9.56 million).
Matthew Yglesias Matthew Yglesias

No single Swede comes close to the epic wealth of a Bill Gates or a Warren Buffett. But Stefan Persson, the chairman, main shareholder, and former longtime CEO of H&M, leads a roster of Swedish billionaires who outpace the U.S. (No. 14) on a per capita basis. In part this is just a bit of a funny coincidence-it’s a fairly small country, after all-but the fact that a famously left-wing country like Sweden can be so rich in billionaires is telling and important.

That’s because a billionaire isn’t […]

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