6.20.2008

Our National Debt: 1/200th of everything in the world

According to the U.S. National Debt Clock, our government is currently 9.371 trillion dollars in debt. Just how much money this is is actually pretty interesting.

I emailed Steven Levitt (of Freakonomics fame) for a rough estimate of how much (at current prices) it would take to purchase every economic right in the world-- i.e., how much money every sort of thing, property, and salable right in the world is worth. Now, this is back-of-the-envelope math, so there are plenty of caveats, but Levitt suggested the following as a rough estimate:
WDP (World Domestic Product) * 30.

Now, since cia.gov says the WDP as of 2006 (purchasing power parity) was estimated at $65.95 trillion, we get:
9.371/(65.95*30)=.0047

So, bottom-line? Our national debt is roughly equal to half a percent of the economic value of everything in the world. 1/200th of Every. Thing.

(Until we start to inflate it away, of course!)

4 comments:

Kermit said...

I remember being in Paris in 1962. As I remember, the currency was the NF (New Frank). It had recently replaced the Frank at 100 F to 1 NF. Doesn't the process seem to have started here?

Kosmo said...

That's just depressing.

mike said...

the national debt ticker in NYC ran out of decimal spots to represent the current debt. They are renovating it to add two more spots, potentially allowing representation of our debt to 999tr.

Mike said...

Interesting times...