UBS write down €37 Billion, wait…How much is a billion?

When you hear people talking about ‘A Billion’ be it a Bank talking about a billion in write-downs, or a politician talking about a billion in tax spending, it’s important to put the number of one billion in perspective.

One Billion seconds ago it was 1959, one billion minutes ago Jesus was alive, a billion hours ago our ancestors were in the stone age eating raw meat and dying of common colds. A billion days ago there we were not walking on two feet. However in monetary terms a billion dollars ago was 8 hours and 20 minutes ago at the rate it is being spent by the US Government, it’s 5 days ago at the rate the ECB has been printing it in order to avoid the credit crunch and it is also almost as much as Sierra Leone’s GDP (at the official exchange rate), that’s for the whole country for a whole year.

So when UBS came out and said that it has ‘written …

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