When is £1 million the same as 11.5 days?


It seems as though every day we are bombarded with huge sums of money being spoken about by banks and MPs, millions here, billions there. We’re getting numb to the numbers. When I was a kid (and I’m only 46 now, which is young according to some!!), a million pounds was unimaginable. Wow, with a sum like that you could buy the world!! Now all we need is about 10 minutes to work out where it would all go. The National Lottery often has several millions as first prize, but that pales into insignificance next to the Euromillions, which I remember once got up to £120 million. £120 million!! And yes I played, and no I didn’t win.

But how do we get our heads round these huge numbers, million, billion and trillion? Well I found a little trick that just might help with perspective. So let’s convert pounds to time, in fact let’s convert them to seconds. Brace yourself- this is gonna be a ride 🙂

£1 million = 11.5 days

£1 billion = 32 years

£1 trillion= 32,000 years

Seriously, it would take you 32 years to count out 1 billion £1 coins at a rate of 1 per second- no sleep, toilet breaks or days off sick though!!

Now contemplate this, the UK’s national debt currently stands (according to http://www.nationaldebtclock.co.uk/) at £4.8 trillion. To pay that back at £1 per second, without adding interest, would take 153,600 years, and George ‘cocaine addict and bald faced liar’ Osbourne reckons he’ll have it under control in 4 years. Let’s face it, no-one is going to get that under control any time soon. Even using the Government’s own figure of £1.6 trillion, it would still take 51,200 years to clear the debt at £1 per second.

Ready for some more fun?

If someone paid you £1 per second for a year, at the end of it you would have just over £31.5 million. Pretty cool huh? I’d be happy with that. But wait up, in the year 2012-13 the UK Government collected £621 billion in various taxes, spent just over £717 billion, and on top of that paid ‘financing costs’ to the tune of £79 billion to the Bank of England for doing a job that the Treasury could do for free. That’s a shortfall of £175 billion in just one year (5,600 years at £1 per second).

So riddle me these two things – if your debt were apparently insurmountable, would you keep paying someone else to do a job you could do yourself? And, if you were dependant on money collected to get you out of this debt, would you cut wages and so pay out more in benefits, or would you create jobs so more people working and set a minimum wage at a living level (say £20 per hour) and make the big companies dig into their profits – perhaps even tighten up the tax loopholes to stop tax avoidance? Talk to any classical economist and they’ll tell you subsidising a small business until it turns a sustainable profit results in greater tax income per head than these big multinationals, and without the cost of corporate benefits. Your Government is not working for you. They are not trying to protect your way of life. They are working to make the rich, richer. And it doesn’t matter which Party is in the driving seat, no matter the bluff and bravado, until these fundamental changes are made you will continue to be screwed over.

£1 million = 11.5 days

£1 billion = 32 years

£1 trillion = 32,000 years

tick tock, tick tock, tick tock


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