Sunday, September 21, 2008

Perspective

I once tried to illustrate how much a billion pounds was by equating it to a man on the median wage—about £23,500 at the time. I pointed out that—even were he allowed to keep 100% of his earnings—it would take such a man 44 years to earn a million pounds and thus 44,000 years to earn a billion.

Via Question That, here is a CiF comment that puts it another way.
The NHS IT programme is a complete, utter fucking mess. It doesn't work and it never will work. It will eventually be scrapped, and if Liebour were still in power it would promptly be replaced by something even more useless and expensive.

It will end up costing the taxpayer twenty billion pounds. Do you understand what twenty billion pounds are? Let me help you:

On the day that Queen Victoria died, I put half a million pounds in used fivers in a suitcase, took it out into the woods, and burnt it in a bonfire. There wasn't any good reason for doing this—in much the same way as there isn't any good reason for much of Liebour's 'public spending'—but I did it anyway.

Then I did the same thing the next day. And the next. And the next. Every day of every week of every month of every year since the day that Queen Victoria died I have been burning half a million pounds in used fivers in a suitcase in a bonfire in the woods.

And I'm still not at twenty billion. I've still got nearly two years to go.

That's the sum of taxpayers' money that Liebour have spunked down the drain on one single foul-up in one single Department. If you're genuinely stupid enough to want them to carry on, then use your own money. Give them all of it. Tell them they can spend it on whatever they like.

They'll be delighted.—Cloutman

Queen Victoria died on the 22 January 1901.

It is worth pointing out that the state, in its multifarious forms, will be spending some £650 billion of our money this year.

Were I to take the steps that Cloutman suggests—burning half a million pounds a day—it would take me just under 3,572 years to burn what the state is spending this year alone. In other words, were I to start burning half a million pounds a day from the date of Queen Victoria's death, I would be done sometime in the year 5473 (roughly).

The trouble with such enormous sums of money is that even when you attempt to put them into some sort of perspective, the numbers end up so huge as to be as meaningless as the number that you started with.

Fucking hellski.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

It isnt just money DK. As the great Jack Vance points out via a character in one of his SF books, a thief who steals your money is also stealing that portion of your precious time which you had to use to earn that money. Think of the lifetimes of effort being sent up in smoke by the ZNL crew. They need to be hanged.

William Gruff said...

Actually it's forty four million years.

Anonymous said...

As an American I'd just like to say that living under Queen Victoria would have been a hell of lot freer than any of the thieving scum I've had to actually live under these many decades.

God save the Queen.

Anonymous said...

When did JK Rowling read your piece, she's just donated 2 days worth to Gordon the Moron and his friends

never liked Harry Pothead anyway

manc_ill_kid said...

Can the private sector like Bupa and Nuffield and whatnot come up with a cheap web-based/wiki-like IT system for healthcare and just port it across?

Andi said...

If anyone's interested, I've done some calculations: it would take you 109 years, 6 months and 7 days to burn £20bn at a rate of £500k per day.

Interesting how quick the government can piss the money away though, eh?

mitch said...

Just emailed that to my less than useless MP.

mister ed said...

at a burn rate of 500k per day, it would take you 3,545 years to burn next years government spending - estimated to be £647 billion.

xelent said...

The trouble is.. It's not even real money.. It will be our childrens childrens children that will be picking up the tab.. And the rest..

How long this pornographich wasie can continue, is anyones guess..

I'm hoping its before AD 5473 of course..

David Gillies said...

Or, to put it another way, £650 billion a year is around £20,500 every single second. In the time it takes to boil an egg, Gordon's geyser of taxpayers' money has vomited out nearly five million quid. The Tories shouldn't be fiddling around the edges with nugatory figures like 8 or 10 or 20 billion; a truly robust approach to cutting spending could lop 200 billion off the bill. For starters, shut down every quango and half of government departments (DeFRA, Learning and Skills, DCMS and whatever they're calling the Board of Trade these days could go in a flash and no-one would miss them). Sack something like 75-80% of government 'workers' and watch growth go to China levels. Pull out of the EU and save another few tens of billions.