|Understanding Big Numbers||Writings index Home|
In so-called more civilized countries, the threshold is rather higher.
Here are two ways one start to appreciate the magnitude of larger numbers, both involving money.
Here's an image of one dollar: 1
It's easy to envision ten of them next to one another: 10
We can visualize ten of those sets too: 100,
but it's already getting a little crowded, and beyond what we can immediately count.
Ten of those sets makes $1000, and we'd need ten of those.
It would look like something like this
A billion is just another animal altogether.
It would 10,000 piles of $10,000 ... stacked 10 high!
Here's one way of looking at it:
There have been times when one could invest in a safe bond paying 5% per annum.
If you do that with $1000, you get $50/year, or about $4/month.
With $1,000,000 it goes up to $50,000/year, or about $4000/month.
That works out to around $137/day.
But with a billion dollars ($1,000,000,000) ... it would be $137,000 per day! It would be hard to maintain a spending level like that ... what are you going to do - buy a new house every week?
Or maybe just give it away ...
In June of 2021, it was reported that MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, had donated $2.7 Billion dollars to an assortment of organizations.
To put that in some perspective, if she were to do that at constant rate over the course of year, it would mean she was giving away: