Saturday, 7 March 2009

Take a Look at a Trillion Dollars

In this period of huge financial losses and bailouts, people throw numbers like a trillion dollars around rather casually. I am reminded of the quote by someone ?? who said, "A billion dollars here, a billion dollars there, and pretty soon that adds up to real money."
Well, I came across a nice illustration of what a trillion dollars would look like on a page over at Page Tutor and I copied a couple of the pictures to give you an idea:

"We'll start with a $100 dollar bill. Currently the largest U.S. denomination in general circulation. Most everyone has seen them, slighty fewer have owned them. Guaranteed to make friends wherever they go. A packet of one hundred $100 bills is less than 1/2" thick and contains $10,000. Fits in your pocket easily and is more than enough for week or two of shamefully decadent fun. "

Here is what $1 million dollars would look like:


"While a measly $1 million looked a little unimpressive, $100 million is a little more respectable. It fits neatly on a standard pallet..."



With 100 of those pallets, you would have $1 billion dollars... now we are talking real money.


And then????
"Next we'll look at ONE TRILLION dollars. This is that number we've been hearing about so much. What is a trillion dollars? Well, it's a million million. It's a thousand billion. It's a one followed by 12 zeros. And notice those pallets are double stacked.)"



Look carefully, there in the bottom left corner is our six-foot tall human, dwarfed by the staggering ocean of money... That's fifty pallets wide, 100 pallets deep, and two pallets high.... 10,000 pallets of 100 milliion each..... so next time someone talks about a trillion dollar bailout...close your eyes and imagine this warehouse full of money.
Now where did I park my fork lift?

9 comments:

Nate said...

I think something went wrong between the 1 million and the 100 million pictures. The pallet seems to contain a lot more than 100 times the volume of the small bundle.

Anonymous said...

Nate,
I think you are right. I'm not sure how the bills are oriented with the two straps, but that leaves me no knowing what the dimensions of one layer on the pilot would be...
Do you have time to calculate that out? what the actual dimensions of a $100 million dollar stack would be? I'm in the middle of trying to update all the errors in the blog on vectors and get the images reformatted to show up... If you correct it I will let you "guest blog" a correction...
you can find an email to me at the url below.
Pat

Anonymous said...

Nate,
You may be right about the picture, but I just did some calculations and barring big math errors on my part...

According to the U.S. Treasury, "In $100 bills, the weight of $1
million is about 22 pounds." [that's 10 kg.]


so the weight of a billion, millions (or one trillion) is 22 BILLION pounds...
sure you want to see that, that's 22,000,000,000 pounds

A typical semi-trailer has a capacity of about 50,000 pounds....

so a trillion dollars would require a string of 440,000 semi trailers to carry the weight of it..... (how long a string is that??)

The average length of an eighteen wheeler varies greatly depending on the type of cab they are driving. But the overall average is 70-80 ft.

soooo.... parked bumper to bumper they would form a line 6250 miles long... OR

From Jacksonville, Fl. to Aberdeen, Wa. it is 3,087 miles, so the trucks could be parked from coast to coast, and back again....with a few trucks left over....

Bob said...

Pat, you made an error, you added 3 extra zeros on to your weight.

If $1,000,000 is 22 lbs

Then $1,000,000,000,000 is 22,000,000 lbs.

That would total 440 trailers (much smaller, but still massive).

At a length of 70 feet per trailer, that is over 30,000 feet, almost 6 miles.

Lakeski said...

I am sorry, but you are all wrong..you can't just cube the number...

$100 Million is "approximately" only one face of the pallet...one pallet would be "approximately" only $500 Million...two pallets "approximately" $1 Billion... 2,000 pallets equals...$1 trillion

Unknown said...

Great info.. but here's some more:

Based on weight, Bob is right if the max load is 50,000 pounds (25 tons) - you would need roughly 440 trailers to hold the money. Based on the assumed stat that $1,000,000 in hundred dollar bills weighs 22 pounds, each truck could only carry $2,272,727,273 (50,000lb max load / 22lbs per million dollars = 2,272.727273 millions). What you might not realize is this:

$2,272,727,272 would only take up about 23% of the space available inside a 53-foot trailer (based on INTERNAL dimensions of 52'L x 8.33'W x 9'H). A trailer with those internal dimensions equals 3898.44 cubic feet of space.

Now, given the measurements of a $100 bill from the US Treasury (6.14"L x 2.61"W x .0043"H), we can extrapolate some more figures.

There are 10 billion hundred-dollar bills in 1 trillion dollars. Using those Treasury measurements, that would take up 398,780.2083 cubic feet of space. If you divide that by the space available inside 1 single trailer (3898.44 cubic feet), you could actually fit a trillion dollars into less than 103 trailers.

Of course, by doing so, the weight of each trailer would be about 215,070 pounds (over 100 tons) - a little too heavy for most roads!

Unknown said...

And yes... for those of you who may be wondering - I am a firm believer in the theory that "there is no better way to work off a St. Patrick's Day hangover than to perform in-depth mathematical calculations in order to arrive at certain conclusions that have no real impact on everyday life". In other words... I had too much free time this morning! :-)

John Evans said...

The big picture works for $1 dollar, not $100, bills.

John Baxter said...

I think the actual error is in the wording between the pic of the 100 million stack and the billion stack. It say 100 of these (100m stacks) equals 1 billion.
It should say 10 of those 100m stacks equals a billion.
The next jump looks plausible being as a triillion would be 1000 billion.