# Dataset of Trillion Dollar figures

Below I link to a small dataset with 130 figures of over \$1 trillion (e.g. Ap­ple’s Mar­ket cap­i­tal­iza­tion: \$1 trillion, or the value of Global Res­i­den­tial Real Es­tate: \$163 trillion).

If some­thing costs trillions, then it might score highly on the scale crite­ria of some pri­ori­ti­za­tion frame­works. This be­cause even if we have to in­vest billions to some­how save that money, the sav­ings would be huge.

Th­ese num­bers might also be helpful to get a sense of the world econ­omy. For in­stance, World GDP is ~\$100 trillion, and more than half of that is US, China, and EU with a GDP of ~\$20 trillion each.

Also, peo­ple some­times treat big num­bers—billions and trillions—as if they’re all the same (c.f. scale in­sen­si­tivity or scope ne­glect). Even re­searchers some­times con­fuse big num­bers (“Ad­ver­tis­ing has be­come an over \$500-trillion-dol­lar global in­dus­try” (should be billions) or “The benefits of au­to­mated and au­tonomous ve­hi­cles \$1.3 quadrillion” (should be trillions)).

So how can you con­cep­tu­al­ize \$1 trillion? 1 trillion is 1,000 billion. 1 billion is 1,000 mil­lion. Houses of­ten costs ~1 mil­lion. So 1 trillion ≈ 1 mil­lion houses—a whole city.

Some of the figures might be wrong. For in­stance, be­cause I op­ti­mized for se­lect­ing very high figures (I had a Google Scholar alert for things like “USD * trillion”), they are more likely to be in­flated than other num­bers (c.f. op­ti­miz­ers curse).

Also note that not all of these figures are nec­es­sar­ily di­rectly com­pa­rable (some figures are stock and some are flow, some of the large figures are no­tional).

I hope this is in­ter­est­ing or even use­ful to some peo­ple here.

Graph

• It is cer­tainly amaz­ing the the world nom­i­nal and PPP GDP are smaller than the Global Debt in the non fi­nan­cial sec­tor, which is at the same time smaller than the Global House­hold Wealth. I am a bit con­fused: how can de GDP be smaller than the Global House­hold Wealth?

• Wealth is ac­cu­mu­lated money, while GDP is per year. Debt is also ac­cu­mu­lated, while deficit is per year.

• Why isn’t GDP also ac­cu­mu­lated? I mean, GDP is wealth in any given year (per­haps dis­count­ing debt some­how?)

• I think the term GDP by defi­ni­tion means in one year.

Like if some­one asked me what my salary is, and I said “I have £10k in the bank!”, I wouldn’t be an­swer­ing the ques­tion. I should say “My salary is £30k per year” or what­ever it is. If some­one asked about my wealth or net worth, then the amount I have saved would be rele­vant.

• Also like this idea! Con­fused about Moody’s rev­enue—it’s \$1T? Is it not ~ \$4.2BN with 12,000 em­ploy­ees (as op­posed to 1,300)?

• Nice, you found an­other blun­der in the liter­a­ture!

“First, and clas­si­cally, rat­ing agen­cies’ fees tend to be high. The rev­enues of rat­ing agen­cies come from new rat­ings and from the re­ex­am­i­na­tion of former ones, as it is very difficult for a com­pany, once it has been rated, to with­draw its rat­ing from the mar­ket. It means the op­er­a­tional risk of rat­ing agen­cies is quite low, just as the volatility of their rev­enues. We don’t know much about the prices of rat­ings and the prof­its of agen­cies. Nev­er­the­less, in 2011, the op­er­a­tional profit of Stan­dard and Poor’s and Moody’s was about 40 %; and Fitch’s was 31 %. For the first nine months of 2011, the rev­enue of Stan­dard and Poor’s reached US\$ 1.3 trillion for about 1,400 an­a­lysts. The figures for Moody’s were US\$ 1.2 trillion for 1,300 an­a­lysts. Th­ese figures make for an an­nual rev­enue per an­a­lyst higher than US\$ 1 mil­lion, which is quite high.”

from this pa­per on re­form­ing rat­ing agen­cies: https://​​sci-hub.tw/​​https://​​link.springer.com/​​chap­ter/​​10.1007/​​978-3-319-44287-7_12

So this should be billions, not trillions.

I had ac­tu­ally in­ter­preted the figure differ­ently and thought that rat­ing agen­cies an­a­lysts rate trillions in value or some­thing.

Have deleted these from the dataset.

• In­ter­est­ing idea! It might be nice to em­bed the image, or maybe mul­ti­ple images. If you don’t know how to do that, you can do that by up­load­ing the image to imgur, writ­ing a word like photo, se­lect­ing it then choos­ing the image icon. You can then re­size the image by drag­ging it.

• done! thanks for the suggestion

• In­ter­est­ing idea!

I no­tice that many of the largest num­bers are deriva­tive no­tion­als. It is im­por­tant to note that this is a to­tally ir­rele­vant num­ber; deriva­tive no­tion­als are es­sen­tially ar­bi­trary up to a scalar mul­ti­ple.

As an ex­am­ple, sup­pose you and I want to make a bet about overnight in­ter­est rates on the first day of 2021 - speci­fi­cally we agree that I will pay you \$1 for ev­ery 1% the Fed Funds overnight rate is above 2%, and you will pay me \$1 for ev­ery 1% it is be­low 2%, capped at \$2 ei­ther way. The way we would for­mal­ise this as a con­tract would be:

• An in­ter­est rate swap with 2% rate, one day tenor and \$36,500 no­tional.

• A re­ceiver swap­tion with a 4% strike, one day tenor and \$36,500 no­tional.

• A payer swap­tion with a 0% strike, one day tenor and \$36,500 no­tional.

In to­tal this is over \$100,000 worth of no­tional… for a \$2 bet! What mat­ters is the eco­nomic ex­po­sure of the deriva­tives, but this can be hard for non-spe­cial­ists to calcu­late, so peo­ple of­ten sub­sti­tute the eas­ier but ir­rele­vant ques­tion of gross no­tional. Un­for­tu­nately this can in­clude reg­u­la­tions, which has caused a va­ri­ety of prob­lems in the mar­ket.

Separately, you list ‘global debt in the non-fi­nan­cial sec­tor’ as \$1,521 trillion, but the source pro­vided sug­gests it is \$152 trillion. I sus­pect your scrap­ing tool may have mis­taken a foot­note for an or­der of mag­ni­tude.

• Thanks—I fixed the global debt in the non-fi­nan­cial sec­tor figure!

And yes, you’re right that no­tion­als need to be in­ter­preted care­fully—I ini­tially had a para­graph in my post that no­tion­als should be in­ter­preted care­fully, but then I cut it out. Your ex­am­ple is a good one and shows that, in the­ory, a world with a high no­tional value of deriva­tives trad­ing can be one with a sta­ble fi­nan­cial sys­tem.

How­ever, I dis­agree that it is a “to­tally ir­rele­vant num­ber” and that the in prac­tise no­tional to­tal vol­ume might be (a not en­tirely very bad) proxy mea­sure for eco­nomic sta­bil­ity.

See Wikipe­dia:

“To give an idea of the size of the deriva­tive mar­ket, The Economist has re­ported that as of June 2011, the over-the-counter (OTC) deriva­tives mar­ket amounted to ap­prox­i­mately \$700 trillion, and the size of the mar­ket traded on ex­changes to­taled an ad­di­tional \$83 trillion.[9] For the fourth quar­ter 2017 the Euro­pean Se­cu­ri­ties Mar­ket Author­ity es­ti­mated the size of Euro­pean deriva­tives mar­ket at a size of €660 trillion with 74 mil­lion out­stand­ing con­tracts.[10]

How­ever, these are “no­tional” val­ues, and some economists say that these ag­gre­gated val­ues greatly ex­ag­ger­ate the mar­ket value and the true credit risk faced by the par­ties in­volved. For ex­am­ple, in 2010, while the ag­gre­gate of OTC deriva­tives ex­ceeded \$600 trillion, the value of the mar­ket was es­ti­mated to be much lower, at \$21 trillion. The credit-risk equiv­a­lent of the deriva­tive con­tracts was es­ti­mated at \$3.3 trillion.[11]

Still, even these scaled-down figures rep­re­sent huge amounts of money. For per­spec­tive, the bud­get for to­tal ex­pen­di­ture of the United States gov­ern­ment dur­ing 2012 was \$3.5 trillion,[12] and the to­tal cur­rent value of the U.S. stock mar­ket is an es­ti­mated \$23 trillion.[13] Mean­while, the world an­nual Gross Do­mes­tic Product is about \$65 trillion.[14]

At least for one type of deriva­tive, Credit De­fault Swaps (CDS), for which the in­her­ent risk is con­sid­ered high[by whom?], the higher, nom­i­nal value re­mains rele­vant. It was this type of deriva­tive that in­vest­ment mag­nate War­ren Buffett referred to in his fa­mous 2002 speech in which he warned against “fi­nan­cial weapons of mass de­struc­tion”.[15] CDS no­tional value in early 2012 amounted to \$25.5 trillion, down from \$55 trillion in 2008.[16]