Numbers

Let us say, for the sake of agreement, that you wish to borrow a million dollars, which you agree to repay at a dollar a second. How long would it take you to repay the loan?

11.5 days

At the same rate, how long would it take to pay back a loan for a billion dollars?

32 years

By simple arithmetic (one cannot easily get by the multiplication tables), at a pay-rate of a dollar per second, how long would it take to pay back 32-times-1000 (or one trillion) dollars?

32,000 years

A billion here, a billion there — and one sees references to multiples of one trillion, and, even, a young quadrillion…

Surely the shade of Everett Dirksen, asleep in his very own building, would agree: pretty soon you’re talking real money. We’re in for a ride, ladies; you, too, gents.

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