It’d take you 2.5 million years to count that high.
How much money is in the world? At first, it seems like an out-of-the-blue question a precocious kindergartner would ask their teacher. Unless that teacher moonlit at the Federal Reserve, they probably wouldn’t have the answer on hand. On Monday, a listener asked the same question to the financial gurus at Marketplace and they came up with an answer: $80,000,000,000,000 (if you count up the zeroes, that’s $80 trillion).
Photo by Nic McPhee/Flickr.
According to Jacob Kirkegaard, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, the number of U.S. dollars in circulation is a number known by the Federal Reserve as M0. “[It’s] essentially the number of notes and coins in circulation,” Kirkegaard told Marketplace. “For the United States, that number on the Federal Reserve website is somewhere in the vicinity of $1.5 trillion.”
According to Kirkegaard, on a global level, the number of notes and coins in circulation totals about $5 trillion. But that only accounts for a small segment of the world’s money. The vast majority of money in the world sits on digital bank ledgers in savings accounts, money-market accounts, and checking accounts. According to Marketplace, the global total is in excess of $80 trillion.
For some perspective:
— $80 trillion dollars is about four times the amount of the U.S. National Debt.
— The height of a stack of 80,000,000,000,000 one dollar bills would go from the Earth to the moon and back about 11 times.
— A trillion seconds is equal to 2,560,000 years.