In 1850, 94% of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty. Today, we’ve managed to bring that number down to roughly 10%. And if this trend continues, we might even succeed in eradicating poverty by 2030.
If that doesn’t tell you that our world is getting richer, then how about this:m2018 saw the emergence of the first billion dollar man. The idea of that much money is enough to make your head spin.
But don’t tell me you’ve never dreamed about it. The question is, what would you do? What could you do?
Would you buy the Crown jewels? A giant house? Or a private plane? Would you make the world a better place? Could you even live long enough to spend it?
It seems like those with money are often judged by how they use it. Some people spend more than the cost of a college education on a car.
And then there are campaigns like ‘The Giving Pledge’ that has seen 175 of the world’s wealthiest people pledging to donate the majority of their fortune to charitable causes. So far, the members of The Giving Pledge have collectively promised more than $365 billion dollars.
But for a lot us, it’s hard to quantify that kind of money. So to help put it all in perspective, here are some of the things you could buy with $100 billion.
You’ve been thinking about that dream vacation for a while, and now, you can finally go wherever you want, for as long as you want. But what does it really mean to travel in style? Well, for $100 billion, you could buy around 250 Boeing 747s – in other words, establish your own private airline.
But if you’re seriously considering a kingly existence, why not buy an entire country? With a GDP of $90 billion dollars, you could practically own Costa Rica.
While you’re busy turning the world into a monopoly board, why not add another game to your collection. With $100 billion dollars, you could furnish a real version of the classic boardgame: ‘Battleship’.
With the cost of 2 small fleets – each with its own aircraft carrier – coming in at about $50 billion, it’s up to you how much you want to spend on fuel, ammo, and personnel. With just half of your fortune, you could buy the world’s largest royal domain: The Palace of Versailles, with its 700 rooms, 600 paintings, 400 sculptures and 1,400 fountains.
In fact, you’d still have enough left over for: the Whitehouse (est. $400 million), Buckingham Palace (est. $5 billion), St. Petersburg’s Winter Palace (est. $6.44 billion), and Tokyo’s Imperial Palace (est. $12.25 billion). Or you could just buy the Louvre and all its contents for a modest $45 billion.
But if art isn’t your thing, how about sports? With the average cost of an American football franchise at $1 billion, you could own every team in the NFL and have enough left over to buy all teams in the MLB, the NHL, and the English Premier League. But while you might call that a win-win, it’s important to remember that for some people, a billion in the bank is not just a reality, but a serious responsibility.
$100 billion dollars is enough money to put roughly 757,000 students through American colleges for 4 years. You could triple America’s proposed foreign assistance budget for 2019, offering three times the amount of food, medicine, and security to a wider range of recipients in over 100 countries.
Considering that it would only cost an estimated $60 million to save the Great Barrier Reef, think how far $100 billion could take us along the path of sustainable living and environmental protection. Of course, we could always diversify and tackle several world issues at once.
A team of some of the world’s top economists claimed that an annual investment of $3 billion dollars could reduce mal-nutrition in the developing world by 36%, saving over 100 million children from starvation each year. On top of that, an additional $2 billion dollars every year towards agricultural research and development would not only increase global food security, but also protect biodiversity and prevent deforestation.
These are trends that could only become more cost-effective as they continue to be funded. It may seem like a sad reality to consider that money really does make the world go ’round, but that doesn’t mean we have to think selfishly. Put towards a good cause, money can make a world of difference, lifting people out of poverty and stimulating growth, education, and innovation.
As long as enough people remain willing to give back, then perhaps we might all consider ourselves fortunate. So how about it? What would you do with $100 billion? Comment below, ask your friends, and come back soon for more ‘What If.’
- “The World Is Getting Richer. Some People Faster Than Others”. Andrew Mayeda, 2020. bloomberg.com.
- “Boeing: About Boeing Commercial Airplanes”. 2020. boeing.com.
- “Here’s how much it would cost to buy the White House”. 2020. Business Insider.
- “Baseball Team Values 2019: Yankees Lead League At $4.6 Billion”. Ozanian, Mike. 2020. Forbes.
- “The cost of studying at a university in the United States”. 2017. Times Higher Education (THE).
- “$60 million to save the Great Barrier Reef is a drop in the ocean, but we have to try”. 2018. The Conversation.
- “Huffpost Is Now A Part Of Verizon Media”. 2020. huffpost.com.