Tue, 11 Oct 11 at 16:49   | comment No Comments Yet

Hedge Funds Now Run $1.4 Trillion

US hedge funds now manage $1,400,000,000,000.

That’s a big number, isn’t it? So big it’s hard to get your head around. Here’s a nice graphic that takes us part way there, from DailyCognition. First, a paltry $100m, in one-hundred dollar bills banded and stacked on a pallet:


And a trillion dollars, double-stacked on these pallets:


To get $1.4 trillion, of course, you have to imagine half again that much.

Okay, that’s kind of cute. But $1.4 trillion turns out to have some other interesting meanings. For example, it also happens to be:

• The approximate total wealth of half of all US households (the lower half, naturally); or

• The total wealth of the 400 richest Americans; or

• Interestingly, the total amount of cash socked away in that Caribbean tax-evader’s paradise, the Cayman Islands; or even

• How much the US could save by ending (over several years!) its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So, to recap: amount of money owned by 400 rich people = amount managed by US hedge funds = amount hidden away in the Caymans. While there’s definitely double-counting in those categories, none occurs in the other two: $1.4 trillion also = amount owned by 150 million other Americans = how much we could save by winding up the Bush/Obama wars.

If this were a political blog, I might draw some conclusions. But it’s not, and I won’t.

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