Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Innumeracy

I was only half listening to the Today programme’s business report at 6.15 a.m. this morning so I didn’t catch the name of the lady that the reporter was talking to. I think she worked for a firm that advised on investments. Even if I had millions to invest, which I do not, I would not waste any time seeking out this ladies company. It was a throw-away comment that she made at the beginning of the interview which annoyed me, it was something along the lines of ‘trillions, whatever they are.’ This is so exasperating, how can one be so ignorant?
A trillion* is 1 followed by twelve zeroes it looks like this 1,000,000,000,000. It could be referred to as 1 million million. It is an enormous number. If you shared it fairly amongst every one of the 17.1 million families in the UK they would each have over £58,000. Assuming that each family lives in an average priced home, which they don’t, and each family has a 100% mortgage, which they don’t, then this money would pay-off close to 40% of the debt.
Actually, the average household debt in the UK is approximately £59,730 (including mortgages), thus this much money would virtually clear that debt at a stroke.




* This is the American version. My feelings on the demise of the superior British system will be the subject of another blog.

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