Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Cover New Hampshire and Vermont in gold leaf

For the price of the Iraq War, we could've covered the land area of Vermont and New Hampshire in gold leaf.

1 square meter of gold leaf can be generated by 2 grams of gold. At current prices, gold is worth $884 per troy ounce (31.1 grams). So it costs $56.85 for a square meter of gilding. New Hampshire is 24,239 square kilometers, while Vermont is 24,932 square kilometers, for a total area of 49,171 square kilometers or 49,171,000,000 square meters. Gilding the entire land area of these states comes to $2.80 trillion, which is less than Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes' estimate of over $3 trillion for the cost of the Iraq War.