Monday, November 17, 2008

Buy Uranus at the per acre price of Alaska

For the price of the Iraq War, we could buy the planet Uranus at the per acre price we paid for Alaska in 1867, adjusted for inflation.  

Uranus, the seventh planet in the Solar System, has a surface area of 8.084 billion square kilometers, about 16 times that of Earth.  The total purchase price of Alaska in 2008 dollars is $360 million.  At 1.72 million square kilometers, this comes to $209 per square kilometer. Buying Uranus at these prices would cost $1.69 trillion, which is $1.31 trillion less than Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes' estimate of $3 trillion for the total cost of the Iraq War.