At a 5 percent annual interest rate, a penny that belonged to Julius Caesar would have expanded to 3 × 1e+41 dollars today — more than the entire world economic output over the last 2,000 years multiplied by the number of stars in the sky.
Isn’t that something?!
I discovered this statistic while looking up ways of calculating the discount rate in climate change. The discount rate is basically a way of calculating the cost, in terms of money as well as the cost of spending that money at a given time, of making a decision on mitigating against climate change now versus spreading out these costs over time. For example:
The decision of how much to spend now to avert climate changes hinges on assessing how much it is worth to us now to prevent that future damage. Since most of us would prefer money now over money later, economists typically figure that we’re willing to spend only less than a dollar now to prevent a dollar’s worth of damage in a year, or in a decade. The percentage less is called the “social discount rate.”