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Old 02-25-2009, 03:21 PM
YogSothoth YogSothoth is offline
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How much total cash is there in the world?

A few months ago I read a story about the economic collapse, and how derivatives and speculation make up the bulk of the world economy, estimated to be about $500 trillion. They said that real money was significantly less

If we were to convert every currency right now to its equivalent $USD, just how much real cash would there be in the world? Assets not included, meaning things like gold or oil or stocks that is commonly traded as cash would be left out. I want to know how big I can pile a stack of money and then dive into it like Scrooge McDuck
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Old 02-27-2009, 12:35 AM
Tim@T-Bonham.net Tim@T-Bonham.net is offline
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Hmmm...

How to figure this out.
Say we limit it to US currency, paper bills only.
  1. We could start by finding out how much new currency they print each year.
  2. Then get an estimate of how long a bill lasts in circulation. (I've heard about 18 months, for denominations of $100 & less.)
  3. Then subtract out the amount held back by collectors. (How would we estimate that?)
  4. Then subtract out the amount lost (Grandpa buried it in the field, and died without telling anyone just where) and the amount destroyed in fires, washing machines, etc.
That might give us an estimate of the amount. Then figure out how much volume it would take, and so how big a Scrooge swimming-pool/vault you would need. It'd be pretty big, I'd think.
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Old 02-27-2009, 12:47 AM
Alex_Dubinsky Alex_Dubinsky is offline
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There's various ways to measure the money supply, because the concept is really fluid. However, I think you might have read about something else. Speculation isn't "money" it's "economic activity." It could easily be the biggest reason for the exchange of money. (Though I'm not sure where the $500 trillion fits in... that total exchanged in a year is surely orders of magnitude greater.)

Last edited by Alex_Dubinsky; 02-27-2009 at 12:49 AM.
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Old 02-27-2009, 12:52 AM
Alex_Dubinsky Alex_Dubinsky is offline
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If you wanted to dive into money, you should know they had $2bn on a plane sent to Iraq once. The 20 million flat new bills took up many big pallets. If they had been crumpled up (for diveability) they'd easily fill a swimming pool. I'm sure that's what the money was sent for anyway.
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Old 02-27-2009, 01:51 AM
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squeegee squeegee is offline
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A very old answer from Cecil, but a lot of it probably still applies.
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Old 02-27-2009, 11:10 AM
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Half Man Half Wit Half Man Half Wit is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex_Dubinsky View Post
If you wanted to dive into money, you should know they had $2bn on a plane sent to Iraq once. The 20 million flat new bills took up many big pallets. If they had been crumpled up (for diveability) they'd easily fill a swimming pool. I'm sure that's what the money was sent for anyway.
Only tangentially related, but here's a piece of art that's worth its price.
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Old 02-27-2009, 11:38 AM
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friedo friedo is offline
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Depends how you define cash.

In the case of US currency, we have the "M" metrics:

M0: Total amount of physical, paper currency in circulation: About $900 billion.
M1: M0 plus all money in checking accounts: About $1.5 trillion.
M2: M1 plus all money in savings accounts, money markets, and CDs under $100,000: About $7.2 trillion
M3: M2 plus bigger CDs, and other miscellaneous stuff: About $10.5 trillion.
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Old 02-27-2009, 01:01 PM
clairobscur clairobscur is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by friedo View Post
Depends how you define cash.

In the case of US currency, we have the "M" metrics:

M0: Total amount of physical, paper currency in circulation: About $900 billion.
According to the French version of wikipedia, at the end of 2007 those aggregates for the eurozone were :

M0= 611 billions
M1= 3 820 billions


However, looking at your figures, I'm wondering if they refer to "the US currency", as you wrote, or the dollars/checking accounts IN the USA, which would represent only part of the dollars circulating in the world.

We would need to know how many dollars there are out there, add the pounds, yens and yuans and we should have the largest part of the cash circulating.

Just for the sake of it, on the basis of the figures for the USA and the eurozone, I'm going to make a WAG : 5 trillions in cash worldwide.
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Old 02-27-2009, 05:59 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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The ECB gives €751 billion in circulation for January 2009, the equivalent of $939 billion.

The St. Louis Fed gives $893.696 billion in U.S. currency for this week (Feb. 25, 2009).

Both are close to what clairobscur gave, but a bit newer.

I wouldn't argue with $5 trillion as a total, but the other economies are so much smaller that $4 trillion is also a possibility.

That does not include the amount of fake porno Euros in circulation:
Quote:
Fake porno European notes have successfully entered circulation in Germany after being sold as an advertising gimmick, police alarmed.

The bills of 300, 600 and 1,000-euro denominations replaced the usual ring of EU stars with 12 hearts, accompanied by scantily clad men and nude women. Instead of the word "Euro", the fake notes have the word "Eros" printed in the corner.

The Cologne police said that even though there aren't any 600 euro notes, anyone trying to pass it off as real faces prosecution.

Last edited by Exapno Mapcase; 02-27-2009 at 05:59 PM.
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Old 02-28-2009, 09:58 AM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is offline
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As the OP has been answered, I'll offer a tangent ...

What I find interesting about the US figures cited above is that very roughly, M1 is twice as big as M0. In other words, for every dollar of green cash laying around there are only 2 dollars in checking accounts.

My personal ratio is usally about $1 cash to $10-$15 in checking, and compared to most people I know, I carry & keep more cash than the norm, not less. And I run my checking account fairly tightly, keeping ~30 days typical outflow there & the rest well invested.

A heck of a lot of businesses (e.g. almost all non-retail), have essentially zero cash & some substantial amounts in checking.

So other than lubricating the hookers & blow industries, who's using all that cash?

I suppose the answer is the great majority of Americans who live paycheck to paycheck and either don't have a checking account or use it only to cash their paycheck, so their balance hovers around zero most of the time.

Anyone have anything to add
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Old 02-28-2009, 10:24 AM
even sven even sven is offline
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A good chunk of that currency (probably 55-75%) is probably abroad.

We had an absolutely fascinating thread a while back about why there are so many dollars abroad, but I can't seem to find it and the 300 second search limit is making me crazy.
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