Y’know, maybe I should stop just writing ‘alskfjasld;fjasl;dkfj’ in this space as a placeholder and trusting Future Me to remember to put something else here. That guy can’t be trusted! He isn’t even born yet.
If You Had A Billion U.S. Dollars, How Would You Spend It?
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First, an important note: humans are bad at numbers, and we get worse at them the larger they get. Case in point, we don’t see much of a difference between a millionaire and a billionaire, considering the latter to be just like, a version of the former that ate a Mario Super Mushroom or something, but in reality a billion is a million times a thousand, and a million is a hundred thousand times a thousand. To put it in slightly more grippable terms: A million seconds is roughly 11 days, and a billion seconds is roughly 31.5 years. This is why many people, myself included, voice a belief that billionaires should not exist, because not only is it impossible for any one person to ‘earn’ that much money without exploiting others, there’s no way in hell a reasonable person could meaningfully spend that much money in one lifetime, unless they just wanna set it on fire by buying Twitter or something. That’s why the only good billionaire is Dolly Parton, who is worth several billion but gives away so much of it that it keeps her below b-level.
BUT BLOGANUARY GIVETH AND BLOGANUARY TAKETH AWAY, and this is what it giveth me to-day, so LET US SPECULATE.
AS IS MY CUSTOM, I’ve decided to overcomplicate things and answer this for two scenarios:
I get this money in this, the actual physical human world we live in.
This answer is pretty simple: put all of it where it’d do the most good for the most people, which means taking as big a swing as possible at climate change. A billion dollars is certainly not enough to “fix” the problem, not least because that’s not how that works and even if it was we’re well past that point anyway, but I also bet that one solid billion-dollar fist could do a much more significant chunk of damage to the problem than millions of smaller donations, or at the very least could help a lot of very vulnerable people with infrastructure and support they’ll need as the weather continues to get weirder and meaner for the rest of our lives.
A World Without Climate Disaster, Starvation, Wage Theft, Etc., In Which It Would Somehow Be Morally Okay To Just Do Something Selfish And Fun With It
There are a few levels to this one, so let’s break it down:
- Personal: Almost all of what I wasn’t isn’t stuff but time, so Item One is absolutely quit my job so I have free time to get in shape on my own terms (meaning mostly weight loss for heart health), and get my various long-term medical problems taken care of, like my lifelong sinus woes. I have a feeling most Americans would give depressingly similar answers. I could also do so much writing, and catch up on my backlog of reading, video games, and podcasts, devote real time to learning languages, etc. I could get another degree, or collect degrees, or just take all the classes I wanted about whatever struck my fancy. Tattoos! Ooh I want tattoos. As you can see, my thinking on this is fairly small-scope, not for me the mansions, the Lamborghinæ, the holographic Jim Croce, the real sandworm from Dune that they don’t want you to know about; I am largely content with my life the way it is and wouldn’t change much about it save reclaiming my time from The Man, and I’m very grateful for the things that make that true.
- Spousal: Listen I would buy a fleet of satellites to spell out a request for my shorter half to marry me again so we can be doublemarried in the night sky above wherever in the human world she wanted to go, but I know her, she doesn’t want stuff, she MIGHT want to do a little traveling, but she would stab me with a fondue fork if I didn’t dump cash into prepaying the adoption and sterilization fees for every shelter animal in the country, and arrange for every one of them to go home when they get adopted with food and toys and, however impractical it may seem, for her to meet and name each and every one of them personally.
- Social: I wanna fund all my pals’ project ideas! I know so many AMAZING creatives who could be making incredible art of EVERY kind if they only had the support, and I could be that support! Me! This idiot!
I’m resisting the urge to say I’d start a production and publishing company of some kind because I honestly think that would limit my scope; I’d want to be the Deranged Tycoon who cruised the socials for people soliciting donations to their favorite causes and help getting their ideas off the ground or paying their medical or school debt. Maybe I could just buy like, all the medical and educational and school lunch debt I could? No wait, that’s a Scenario Primus answer, but honestly helping people is fun, we just usually have to weigh it against our own resource management and well-being; I sincerely believe that without the artificial garbage restraints of predatory capitalism pitting us against one another so we don’t eat those who presume themselves our betters, there would be very few unhelpful jerks out there. Not none, ‘cause there’s always one, but.
Well that was more fun than I thought it would be!