Elon Musk Could Afford a Large Deposit to Buy a Country

Elon Musk could afford to buy a country, but only it were valued based on its GDP for one year and its assets are excluded.

Ruchi Gupta - Author

Jul. 6 2022, Published 9:45 a.m. ET

Elon Musk attends TIME Person of the Year
Source: Getty Images

Whereas Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s net worth has fallen from its peak of about $330 billion, the remains the world’s richest person. Does Musk have enough money to buy a country?

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Musk’s wealth fascinates many people. After the billionaire agreed to buy Twitter for $44 billion in cash, people have continued to wonder what else he could do with his money.

Much of Musk’s wealth is tied to the shares he owns in electric vehicle (EV) company Tesla. Musk also has a large stake in SpaceX. While Tesla dominates the EV market, SpaceX is a major NASA contractor. The companies are focused on industries with significant growth potential.

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EVs are going to be in demand as the world works to abandon gas-powered engines in efforts to curb climate change. As for SpaceX, its efficient space transportation solutions put it in a great position to continue winning government contracts.

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Musk’s other major company is The Boring Company, which builds underground transportation infrastructure. As long as Musk’s companies thrive, his fortune will grow.

How many countries is Elon Musk richer than?

Musk’s net worth has come down to about $220 billion, reflecting the selloff that has hit the stock market amid inflation and recession concerns. Musk’s fortune is still greater than the GDP (gross domestic product) of all but only 50 countries. Some of the major economies with a GDP smaller than Musk’s net worth are New Zealand, Greece, Ukraine, and Hungary.

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Does Musk have enough money to buy a country?

A country's GDP is a measure of the money it generates in a particular period (usually one year). It’s like revenue for a company. If we were to value a country by how much money it makes in a year, Musk could afford to buy most countries. However, a country’s wealth goes beyond the revenue it generates in a particular year.

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Therefore, to see if Musk has enough money to buy a country, you’d need to compare his net worth to the wealth of a country, not just the GDP. And to calculate a country’s wealth, you’ll need to add up the value of its roads, factories, farms, buildings, and natural resources. If you do that, Musk’s fortune is unlikely to match the wealth of even the poorest country.

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Could Elon Musk buy a country?

Musk’s net worth could be a substantial downpayment when it comes to purchasing a country. But the billionaire would struggle to line up banks to provide additional funds to complete such a transaction. Even if the banks were willing to fund such a transaction, Musk’s shopping list would be limited at best. Whereas you can buy up thousands of acres of a country’s farmland like Bill Gates has been doing in America, a listing of an entire country for sale would be hard to come by.

Therefore, Musk couldn’t realistically buy a country even if he could afford it. However, the billionaire plans to build a city of a million people on Mars, which could bring him closer to owning a country.


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