What would you do with "all the
money in the world?"
To make this question answerable in
a finite amount of time, let's make a simplification and
ask, "how much money is there in the United States?"
Since the statistics for the U.S. are easy to come by, we
can look at it a couple of different ways.
The first way to look at it might
be, "How much cash is there in U.S. currency?" If you
took all the bills and coins floating around today, how much
money is that? According to the Federal Reserve, the current
number is very close to half a trillion dollars! That sounds
like an incredible amount, but think about it this way: In
1990 there were about 250,000,000 people in the U.S., if you
took all the cash and divided it up equally, each person
would only get about $2,000.
Obviously there is more money
floating around than that.
The rest of the money is held in
various types of bank accounts, and the Federal Reserve
tracks these funds in three different values: The M1, M2 and
M3 money supplies:
M1 is all of the currency, plus
all of the money held in checking accounts and other
checkable accounts, as well as all of the money in
travelers checks. As of September 1999, the M1 money
supply is about $1,100 billion.
M2 is M1 plus all of the money
held in money market funds, savings accounts and small
CDs. As of September 1999, the M2 money supply is about
M3 is M2 plus all of the large
CDs. As of September 1999 it is about $6,250 billion.
So if you wanted all of the money
in the United States, what you would ask for is M3 and you
would get 6 or so trillion dollars! How much money is that?
It's a lot... But if you look at the federal budget you will
see that it is only enough money to run the U.S. federal
government for about 3 years...