As you might have heard, leaks of financial documents have revealed that as much as $32 trillion may lie in offshore tax havens from the wealthy elite around the world. While governments around the world are demanding sacrifices from their citizens, "belt-tightening," austerity, and loss of basic public services on the premise that there is not enough money to pay for them, almost half the value of the entire global economy may simply be languishing untouched in banks in places like the British Virgin Islands. To put this figure into perspective, below are some rough estimates of what $32 trillion would buy.
The figures below are derived from trawling Google for stats, so treat most of them as ballparks. If all of the money were to be spent on a single thing, it could...
1. Give every man, woman, and child on Earth $4,522.33.
2. Feed every man, woman, and child on Earth for over a decade.
3. Feed every malnourished person on Earth for a century.
4. Build two billion primary schools in Africa.
5. Build 1.8 million high schools in the United States.
6. Build 640,000 mid-sized hospitals in the United States.
7. Hire 12.8 million teachers and pay them $50,000 per year for 50 years.
8. Give 1.1 billion people four years of college education at a public university in the United States.
9. Give a billion people full healthcare at OECD average yearly costs for a decade.
10. Build over a million miles of road at typical US costs.
11. Build 200 million miles of top-quality road at typical African costs.
12. Build 70,000 miles of high-speed rail in the United States.
13. Build 2 million kilometers of high-speed rail in Europe.
14. Completely replace the entire world energy infrastructure with solar photovoltaic power...a hundred times over.
15. Give every hospital on Earth 8,900 MRI machines.
16. Give every man, woman, and child on Earth an iPad, free maintenance and replacement for life, and free, unlimited wireless internet access for life.
17. Lay 1.4 billion miles of high-speed internet fiber-optic cable.
18. Spend the same money as the entire Pentagon budget every single year on cancer research for half a century.
19. Replace every gasoline-powered car on Earth with an EV.
20. Launch 1,316 Apollo-style manned missions to the Moon at historically high costs.
21. Establish self-sufficient human colonies on the Moon, Mars, various asteroids, and the moons of Jupiter with hundreds to thousands of people each.
22. Launch over a million people into low Earth orbit for a week at Russian prices, and anywhere from 3-10 million at SpaceX prices.
23. Build 6,400 skyscrapers over a mile tall.
24. Build an undersea tunnel from New York to Britain, and still have $28 trillion left over.
25. Build an undersea tunnel from Los Angeles to Hawaii to Tokyo to Shanghai, and still have $20 trillion left over.
26. Buy 592,000 Falcon 9 rocket launches into space.
27. Give every household on Earth clean water, indoor plumbing, electricity, heating, and air conditioning, with money to spare.
This is all surplus money - not even stuff that's going to the lifestyle of the rich. It's just...fucking...sitting there, so that its owners can avoid paying taxes.
7:08 PM PT: 28. Endow thousands of new world-class research universities with endowments in the billions of dollars.