The book of Marlene Engelhorn Geld (“money” in German) was published a few days after the grandmother’s death Traudl Engelhorn-Vechiatto95 years old on September 22, 2022, making the 30-year-old woman a billionaire.
“I still don’t know exactly how much money it is because we haven’t read the will yet, but probably tens of millions of euros,” said the German-Austrian great-granddaughter of Friedrich Engelhorn, the founder of the German chemical and pharmaceutical company BASF, who died in 1902 leaving to his descendants a patrimony still considerable today.
Engelhorn-Vechiatto became wealthy by marrying one of Mr. Engelhorn’s great-grandchildren. At the time of his death, the American magazine Forbes estimated his fortune $4.2 billionthanks in particular to the sale of another family business, Boehringer Mannheim, to the Swiss healthcare company Roche in 1997.
You can win the lottery in many different ways in life, and one of them, as in the case of Marlene Engelhorn, is by inheritance. This 30-year-old is a student of German language and literature in Viennabut he is best known for being a descendant of the founders of the BASF company, one of the largest chemical companies in the world and who in 2021 had an income of more than 78,000 million dollars.
However, Engelhorn has been in the media for weeks for refusing 90% of the part due to him by inheritance. The reason? She doesn’t want to be “that rich”. This was stated in several German and Austrian media interviews. The young woman, who stands out for having led movements with a significant class consciousness, supports greater redistribution of wealth and that whoever has more money must pay more taxes.
His grandmother was ranked number 687 in the ranking of the richest people in the world, according to Forbes magazine. A fortune generated by over 150 years of business, the benefits of which seem to annoy the protagonist of this story: “It shouldn’t be my decision what to do with my family’s money, for which I did not work,” he explains in one of the interviews.
Engelhorn does not shy away from her privileged status as a “rich girl” – she said herself – and is aware that thanks to being born where she was born, she has had structures that not everyone can access. However, she believes that everything has a limit and that no one should hoard huge amounts of money while there is such latent inequality in our society.
She’s a strong believer in not needing that much money. Firstly because she wouldn’t know what to do with it, and secondly because she believes that too much money only brings tensions, problems and misunderstandings. “I couldn’t be happy,” she reiterates.
“It is not a question of will, but of fairness. I have done nothing to receive this inheritance. This is pure luck in the birth lottery and pure coincidence,” she defends.
A mentality that has led her to be a strong advocate for social justice, which is why he created AG Steuersrechtigkeit, a movement that has mutated across Europe under the Taxmenow nomenclature, and which consists of heirs to large fortunes giving them up in favor of a higher tax rate for the wealthy. “As someone who has enjoyed the benefits of wealth all my life, I know how distorted our economy is and I can’t keep sitting around and waiting for someone, somewhere to do something,” he explained to the BBC.
Redistribution of wealth, taxes on millionaires and major structural changes in top positions are some of Engelhorn’s ideas for achieving greater social equity.
This type of initiative like that of Engelhorn arises because half of the billionaires in Europe are people who have inherited their money. While in the United States the heirs correspond to a third of the richest.
Mary Ortiz is a seasoned journalist with a passion for world events. As a writer for News Rebeat, she brings a fresh perspective to the latest global happenings and provides in-depth coverage that offers a deeper understanding of the world around us.