Trillions, billions, whatever...

The other day my attention was drawn to a news article about today's economy.

Some IMF guy estimated that a lot of money was needed to get the global economy going again.

I assume the article was translated from American English to Dutch. It mentioned that 1.2 "triljoen" dollars was needed.

I can assure you that that's a lot of money.

Let me explain what million, billion, trillion, etc, and their Dutch translations mean...

American English Dutch Numeric (US notation)
million miljoen 1,000,000
billion miljard 1,000,000,000
trillion biljoen 1,000,000,000,000
quadrillion biljard 1,000,000,000,000,000
quintillion triljoen 1,000,000,000,000,000,000

Now, the total GDP for the entire world is something like 54,584,918,000,000 dollars according to the IMF. Needing another 1.2  "triljoen" seems like a lot, since that is 1,200,000,000,000,000,000 dollars.

Obviously, someone translated "1.2 trillion" to "1.2 triljoen". It should have been translated as "1.2 biljoen". Which is like 2.5% of the world's GDP, which doesn't sound like a lot at all, actually...

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