Last night, I was trying to comprehend the size of a trillion. I was having trouble imagining the sheer scale of the $1 trillion package agreed by the G20 leaders at the London summit.
It seems I am not alone, as today’s media have spent the day trying to explain the amount in ways we could easily understand.
I now know, that it is a figure with 12 zeros but that still did not really help me. It is one thousand times a billion which is, itself, one thousand times a million, but still that did not do it for me.
I came across a graphic – which I have now lost – explaining that if a pound was represented by a door mat, then a trillion pounds would be represented by the whole of the UK plus Northern Ireland.Things were starting to become clearer!
Eventually, I found an old BBC article with some better examples:
If a million seconds is 11.5 days, a trillion seconds would be 32,000 years
In sheer size, it is the equivalent of holding a credit card against the mountain Ben Nevis.
If you spent £25,000 per day, it would take 109,000 years to spend £1 trillion.
It is a truly earth shattering amount of money and somehow, I fear the $1 trillion mentioned yesterday, will be spent a lot faster than the last example suggests!