T-t-t-t-TRILLION! updated

The First Trillionaire

It's gotta happen. One of these days somebody - probably a Bahrainian you never heard of - will become the world's first trillionaire (Wired Magazine says it will be Bill Gates). Imagine if whoever it is has Bill and Melinda Gates's charitable sensibilities!

Let's see, a trillion is a thousand billions. A billion is a thousand millions. A million is a thousand thousands. So a trillion is a thousand thousand thousand thousands.

That's a lot. It looks like we will spend even more than that on W's war.

(I've been interested in how little Americans seem to realize how much a mere $billion is. Even our newscasters seem to phumpher around with the difference between a bil and a mil.)

The best commentary I've seen on wasted trillions is in today's Christian Science Monitor (one of my favorite newspapers). Commentator Woody Tasch makes the fine suggestion "If Iraq is worth $1 trillion, let's allot just as much to benefit humanity." And I really like how he says we should distribute the big bucks:

•$250 billion for clean energy and energy efficiency;

• $250 billion for carbon sequestration and bioremediation;

• $250 billion for sustainable food and forests; and

• $250 billion for community development.

Now THAT would be one helluva more productive way to spend money than on things that go boom and blata-blata-blata and kill people. It's like... what's the return on fireworks?

Check out his column right here.

UPDATE: Nice handling of what a trillion really is:


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