What about inheritance? About nonstarter of the 100 wealthiest individuals in 1999 got there by in meriting wealth rather than creating it, but that number may understate the importance of inheritance in determining the distribution of:income. According to surveys, two-thirds of the top 1 percent of wealth holders in America inherited a substantial fraction of their property. It is this concentration of inherited wealth in a small number of hands which draws the most strenuous objections from people who are worried about the unequal distribution of wealth .

In 1999, 100 Americans had net worth of at least $3 billion, according to Forbes magazine:Most gained their, wealth b)’ entrepreneurship (like Bill Gates). Just under one-quarter are the beneficiaries of earlier-entrepreneurship (like the Rockefellers). A small fraction gained wealth by shrewd financial investments. (Source: Forbes, Oct. 14, 1999.)

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