Tuesday, September 20, 2005

How Much is a Billion Dollars? 

cd's post earlier today (back) reminded me of a speech I give to my long-suffering friends when I'm drunk and worked up about class politics.

Let's say a one thousand dollar bill is 1 millimeter thick.

1 millimeter = 0.0393701 inch

Four hundredths of an inch, pretty close to reality.

If you have a stack of thousand dollar bills one meter high, you're a millionaire.

1 meter = 3.2808399 feet

That's a stack of thousand dollar bills little bit above your waist if you're a 6 foot tall person.

Most people think, "It's just numbers. Basically it means richer than I'll ever be. Millionaire, billionaire, not that different. "

Not so much.

If you have a stack of thousand dollar bills one kilometer high, you're a billionaire.

1 kilometer = 3,280.839895 feet

That's a stack of thousand dollar bills as tall as two Sears Towers on top of each other plus a high-rise apartment building, or two.

1 kilometer = 0.6213712 mile

More than half the way from Sea Level to Denver. Straight up into the sky. One million Grover Clevelands stacked on top of each other.

Conclusion: the non-metric system (whatever the hell it's called) is a ploy by the capitalist overlords to prevent US and UK citizens from conceptualizing the wealth of the super-rich or the size of government expenditures. No wonder Europe has more egalitarian societies.

Bill Gates' net worth (2005): $46.5 billion

Cost of War in Iraq to US taxpayers (by end of FY 2005): $204.6 billion

As the L-Curve guy says, "You will not be outraged by outrageous statistics if you don't comprehend the numbers." Word.

corrente SBL - New Location
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The Washington Chestnut
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