A Penny For Your Thoughts

Rodica O Portfolio: Golden Planet ( or just a marble )

There is an old Chinese curse –  “May you live in interesting times.”

As I was sitting back and watching the global banking meltdown of 2008, I was reminded of the “interesting” riddle, or parable, of “Joseph’s Penny,” which clearly indicates why the US and world economies are now trillions of dollars in debt, and, have no way out of complete financial collapse, or the more likely complete economic reorganization, within the next decade.

The riddle goes like this. If, at the time of the birth of Christ, Joseph had invested one penny in a bank, and the bank had given him an annual interest rate return of 5%, how much would be in the account if Jesus returned today to check on the account?

Any idea?

Think big astronomically big.

By now that solitary penny would have, in Canadian dollars, earned an amount equal to 63 followed by 39 zeros.

Take a moment, or an hour, to comprehend that last sentence. The dollar amount is 63 thousand, trillion, trillion, trillion dollars. That is a value equal to the mass of the planet earth, in solid .999 gold, calculated at $2293.05 Canadian per ounce, times 148 billion. In other words 148 billion planets, the size of the Earth, comprised of solid gold stretching out into the universe.

Now, isn’t that just the best example of the magic of compound interest we were all taught in school?

To further stretch your imagination, since the Earth has a diameter of about 8,000 miles, imagine a trail of gold balls stretching 1.184 quadrillion miles out into the universe.  That’s a cool 201 light years!

This means if you left the Earth now, and traveled at the speed of light, it is now theoretically impossible to travel from here to the end of that trail of gold, since the number of golden planets, and therefore distance, is now increasing faster than the speed of light.

Being a bit of a skeptic, when I first heard the story, I didn’t believe the amounts, so, I prepared an Excel spreadsheet, which confirmed them.

In examining the exponential growth rate of one penny at 5% compounded interest, I noticed that during the first 100 years one cent grew only to $1.25. By 200 AD, it had grown to $164.69. But, by the 300th year, it showed over a 2 million times increase over the original investment of a penny to a total of $21,657.10

It was at that point I finally understood why any monetary system, which has an “interest” component attached to it, is doomed to eventual collapse. I also immediately understood why many religions consider the charging of interest a damnable sin – Islam, Judaism, and, for centuries, Christianity. That was just before the banking industry was formed and I suspect, Christian church leaders of the day were persuaded they could perhaps increase the wealth of their coffers by simply saying the charging interest is now approved by God.

Now consider for a moment that instead of a penny collecting interest, imagine millions, and billions and trillions of dollars collecting 2, 5 or 10% interest per year. Just how long do you think it would take for the temples of the money lenders to come tumbling down by themselves, without the helping hand of Jesus? And, just how long has our current economic system been in play?  A few hundred years, at best.

Yes, the “den of thieves” is now shaking at its foundations, and, while the baling wire bail-out in the aftermath of the 2008 meltdown may have stilled the economic waters for the time being, the global devaluation of the US dollar has now begun in full force. The printing of trillions of dollars is now inevitably leading to the Great Reset through the transition to cryptocurrency as hyperinflation takes its toll.

This collapse was inevitable and will likely play out over the next few years.

Some people predict Jesus will return “like a thief in the night.” That makes me kind of wonder if he’s planning on closing out bank accounts. Regardless, one thing you can certainly trust is the interesting mathematics of this penny for your thoughts.

Copyright 2014 Eric Booth (Updated November 25, 2021)

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