Visualizing a Trillion Dollars

Via Greg Mankiw I came across this cool way to wrap your head around how much a trillion dollars really is.  I used it in class last week to demonstrate the magnitude of US GDP, which is around $15 trillion.

One TRILLION dollars… What does that look like? I mean, these various numbers are tossed around like so many doggie treats, so I thought I’d take Google Sketchup out for a test drive and try to get a sense of what exactly a trillion dollars looks like.

The author takes you from $100….

to a $1 million dollars….

and finally to $1 trillion dollars…..

Check out the entire post here

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  1. #1 by z on March 17, 2011 - 11:36 pm

    Respectfully, I believe there might be a typo associated with the middle image label of the single pallet. The volume would accurately represent $1 million in $1 denominations, but that volume must be $100 million in $100 denominations (not $1 million) to correspond with the last image of the matrix of 50x100x2=10,000… 10,000*100 million=1T

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