Friday, August 22, 2008

Trap Osama in Afghanistan with a giant wall of $100 bills

For the price of the Iraq War, we could've trapped Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan by surrounding the country with a 100-foot wall made entirely of hundred-dollar bills.

Afghanistan's borders are 5529 kilometers long. Since a hundred dollar bill (like all of today's paper money) is 156 mm long, it would take 35.4 million of them to surround Afghanistan. Since a hundred dollar bill is 2.61 inches tall, it would take 460 of them to make the wall 100 feet tall. This means it would take 16.3 billion bills to create a 100-foot wall around Afghanistan. Given the face value of each bill, surrounding Afghanistan and Osama in a giant wall of Benjamins would cost $1.63 trillion, which is less than Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes' estimate of $3 trillion for the cost of the Iraq War.


Ursula said...

I was pretty excited about this one because I imagined the wall being built out of bricks of $100 bills- but I guess that would have to be more of a fence? Maybe if you worded it as 'a wall papered with $100 bills'?
Anyway, you're a genius. Keep up the good work!

Neil Sinhababu said...

Thanks, Ursula :)

I thought about whether to make a wall of $1 bricks or a huge fence (as you properly put it) of $100s. The hundreds seemed more impressive so I ran with that.