Saturday, March 21, 2009

A billion is way bigger than a million.

Okay. Here's a little math for people who are livid about $165 million in "bonuses" to employees of the corporate carcass once known as American International Group.

AIG received $30 billion from the Federal Reserve to somehow rid itself of insane insurance policies on a sliced and diced mixture of below-prime-rate mortgages. Or, what we now call "toxic assets."

How galling is it for a Greenwich millionaire cum-crook to get a million or two or three dollars for sabotaging the company while becoming filthy rich, causing untold misery to everyone else?

Pretty high on the Gall Scale. Right up there near the top.

But people want the money back as recompense for the $30 billion. Let's consider the numbers 165 million and 30 billion.

One million is 1 followed by 6 zeroes One billion is 1 followed by 9 zeroes. Three additional zeroes, or you might say, three orders of magnitude. Now, think about it.

Since Earth's population is about 6 billion, then 30 billion would be the number of people on five Earths. By contrast, 165 million is about the populations of the 10 largest cities on Earth.

Or, to put it another way, 1 million seconds is 13 days. One billion seconds is 31 years. A million hours ago it was 1855. A billion hours ago humans did not exist.

One more. There are about 10,000 grains of rice in a cup. Sixteen cups equals 1 gallon of rice. So, 1 million grains of rice would be 6.5 gallons. One billion grains of rice would be 6,500 gallons.

Consequently, $165 million is about half of one percent of $30 billion. It's chump change.

Of course, $165 million would make us chumps pretty rich -- but paupers compared to a Bill Gates or a Warren Buffet.

By the way, 1 trillion seconds ago Neanderthals were hunting mammoths and trying to stay warm.

1 comment:

  1. do u have one displaying the cost of the military/industrial complex as a whole, over the last 6 decades, versus the cost of all social programs?