When I was younger the MSN website felt like it often showcased the current wealth of Bill Gates. I checked and Bill Gates is currently worth 107.8 billion dollars. Right now the richest person in the world is currently Bernard Arnault worth 202 billion dollars (technically the worth is the Arnault family not just Bernard.
This year the United States will spend 1.22 trillion on Social Security and 767 billion on national defense. I see news stories with these totals of money and for the longest time I had no idea just how much money this actually was.
A million dollars is a lot of money, a billion dollars is a whole lot of money, and one trillion dollars is an almost unfathomable amount of money. As humans millions and billions and trillions are hard for all of us to understand.
The inability to understand the magnitude of big numbers is evolutionary. Even though it is hard to understand it is imperative that we develop this skill and that we do it quickly. Why is that? Because the human population has grown exponentially and the actions of this growth are having dire consequences on the earth.
Another major reason for understanding the magnitude of big numbers has to deal with social justice and wealth inequality.
Billionaires wealth provides tools that make it easy to create huge carbon footprints, the tools have also made it possible for a select few to commit egregious acts of injustice against many people. The quicker we understand orders of magnitude the quicker we can evolve into a better species and society.