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General · 31st July 2011
Bob Lasby
Not more than 40 years ago, the largest denomination of money was most commonly Million (with an “M”). In trying to wrap their heads around a number this large, people used to say: “if you counted loonies at the rate of one per second, for 10 hours per day, it would take nearly a month to count to a million.” (28 days to be exact)
Perhaps a better measure these days would be to look at the cars & trucks being driven on Quadra Island – many of them cost $40,000 or more. Twenty-five (25) such vehicles = one million dollars.

A few years later, the US government began measuring in terms of Billions (with a “B”). One of my friends, who was fairly high up in the US Navy bureaucracy, used to say: “a billion dollars here and a billion dollars there, and pretty soon you are talking about a lot of money”. The US Navy hardly used the word million anymore. Many military and space vehicles now cost more than a billion dollars each. Even our cars and trucks can be used to quantify a billion – it takes only 25,000 to equal the “B” number in dollars. Our loonie counter would now have to spend a lifetime (77 years) to count the billion.
CEOs and participants in professional sports have had annual salaries measured in millions for many years now, so millions are now “chump change”.

Since the great financial meltdown of 2008-2009, the governments in North America began buying “troubled assets” and indulging in “quantitative easing” (printing money) to the degree that billions were no longer adequate to describe the money being spent. A thousand billion is now a better measure, so we now have Trillions (with a “T”).

Where does that leave the average senior citizen with an annual income of under $30,000? Perhaps wondering how long it will take to start measuring in the “Q” word –Quadrillion.

Something to think about in your spare time –

Bob Lasby