- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Money Math

Posted by: Kevin Dempsey ( Canada ) on March 25, 1999 at 11:24:13:

Here are some numbers that some people might find interesting:
The 225 richest people (men) in the world are worth over $1,000,000,000,000 US. This is about the same amount as the poorest 2,500,000,000 people (47% of the world's population) are 'worth'. These are big numbers which I find hard to get my head around, so:

If each of the 225 richest people in the world gave me a penny, I'd have 225 pennies, which would stack up to reach from the floor to the middle of my shin. If I stacked 1 per second, I'd spend almost four minutes accomplishing this task. (If I could keep the pennies, I'd have been earning a wage of about $35 an hour. Of course, I would be so dumbstruck at the fact that all 225 of these fine men were able to bring themselves to part with a penny each, that I probably would stumble and knock the pile over, at which point they'd likely take the pennies back from me.)

If each of the 2,500,000,000 poorest people gave me one penny, they'd probably be giving me more than they could spare. Regardless, I'd stack up all those pennies, and in the end I'd have a pillar about 3,817.5 km high. (In miles, that's about 2,300) That's greater than the diameter of the moon, or about the same as 10,000 Empire States Buildings piled one on top of the other. If I got really good at piling pennies (say, 2 every second) and I found a friend to work with me for twelve hours each day, we might finish in 40 years, working 7 days a week without vacation or breaks, if we didn't die first. (Thankfully I'm enjoying a vegan diet!)

Bearing in mind that some small number of those people who qualify as the world's poorest (because economy has a rather narrow view of wealth) are living perfectly healthy lives by growing their own food and steering clear of capitalism, perhaps some math might help the other poorest of the poor. Well, as a matter of fact, if the world's 225 wealthiest people (men) gave up a mere 4% of their wealth (which would not threaten their titles) then all the world's people could have the following goals achieved: universal access to a basic education, universal access to health care, universal access to reproductive health care for women, adequate food, clean water, and sanitation.

I guess the first step is to get that first measley penny...

Alternatively, we could discuss military expenditures and the US Space program...

Follow Ups:

The Debating Room Post a Followup