980: Money

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Money
There, I showed you it.
Title text: There, I showed you it.

As usual, click the date above the comic to go to the XKCD page, and by clicking on the image on XKCD there is a link to an interactive and much larger image. From there the full image can be found via a link (it is a PNG of considerable size: 12528x8352 pixels).

[edit] Explanation

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Incomplete. The transcript also has to be fixed.
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.

This is another chart comic - a type of comic that Randall does from time to time. He has for instance done maps of the Internet (twice!) and other huge visualizations like this chart for radiation with a similar structure as this chart where money is the subject.

In the chart there are five boxes with items on different scales of monetary value. Each scale of dollar increments are different colors. One dollar increments are green - naturally, because American paper money is green. Thousands are Orange/Red. Millions are gray. Billions are yellow. Trillions are blue. This comic uses the short scale for naming large numbers (so a billion = 1000 millions = 10^9 rather than a million millions = 10^12 as in continental Europe).

In the Billions box there is a vague term called the "Economic Vortex" as well as arrows that flow between different blocks of this box. This is to show where the money goes. Where it is collected from, and where it is distributed to.

The title text is a reference to the phrase "Show me the money!" which originates from the film Jerry Maguire.

Dollars
  • Middle-left: Pet Ownership. The ASPCA is the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
  • Bottom-right: Four boxes indicate that the CEO pay has skyrocketed from $490.31 (hourly) to $5,419.97 (hourly) in the same time period in which the average worker's salary has skyrocketed 10 cents.
Thousands
  • Top-right: Hogwarts degree: a reference to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy from the popular book series by J.K. Rowling about Harry Potter. One box is the estimated yearly tuition for the school and the next is how much seven years at the school would cost. To get a degree at the school, it takes 7 years (starting at age 11, ending at age 18).
  • Bottom: A reference to the song by Bare Naked Ladies entitled "If I Had $1000000" and all the things referenced in the song to buy the love of another person.
  • Bottom: A few items on the marriage of Kate Middleton and Prince William, the major royal wedding of 2011, including:
    • a wedding dress with its own Wikipedia page of 3 times the annual per capita income of the average UK person,
    • an 8-tier wedding cake,
    • and the flowers for the wedding. These re-appear in the Millions section of the graph, where they also list the costs for the security around the event ($20 million).
Millions
  • Middle-right: another reference to JK Rowling, in this case it is MC Front-A-Lot (The creator of the subgenre of hip-hop known as "Nerd Core") who estimated her net worth at $1 billion. But, that raises the question, why do the boxes only add up to $82,000?
Billions
Trillions

As Randall already indicated in the transcript, this is the block for world, continent and nation finances. The numbers are really huge. There are no jokes in here (apart from the fact that Randall tried to make the shapes of the GDP look like the continent), likely because financial values this large aren't funny to start with.

  • GDP is Gross domestic product, the market value of all goods and services produced in a nation.
    • The major chart in the center shows the development of the GDP in the world since the 1940s. So far the US GDP has always grown, except for a small reduction in the early 1980s, a flat line around the 1991 global recession and a flat line in the second half of the naughts. The world-wide GDP is growing more rapidly, but is also much more volatile.
  • In the middle of the box, it shows the worth of all gold ever mined in 2011 prices. This is important because of the concept of the Gold standard, a concept where monetary values are linked to the value of gold. As indicated in the top-right of the box, both the EU and the USA have more debt than the total value of all gold in the world.
  • Derivatives are a complex financial instrument where one is not trading in something tangible, but in derived values - like options. Derivatives thus are dangerous as one trades in concepts instead of values. Critics claim that derivatives are at the base of the 'economic bubble'.
    • The growth of the derivatives market size is incredible - more than doubling every four years. The derivatives market thus is much larger than the GDP of the entire world.
  • We get a reference to a proposed project to power the world by erecting massive solar farms out in the deserts. The area of Texas alone would be enough to match almost all of our modern power costs (though the people who live in Texas wouldn't enjoy being displaced).

[edit] Transcript

[This transcript is only reproducing text visible on the front page comic.]
[Title panel at the top left has one large heading, and then it is possible to read the first and third out of five lines (but not for instance the second line which is just the word "almost"):]
Money
A chart of
all of it
[Below this there are 5 large panels, each with a series of plots, comparing the values of various things. The only clearly visible text is the title of each panel written in white on black background at the top of each panel]
[The first section covers single coffees up to the hourly salaries of CEOs. It is located below the title panel and there are a lot of green groups marked by unreadable text.]
Dollars
[The next section discusses values from around $1000 to $1,000,000, including a dissection of the song If I had $1000000. It is located directly below the Dollars section and has mainly orange groups (but also some gren) marked by unreadable text.]
Thousands
[The third section focuses on $1,000,000 to $1,000,000,000, with a large section on campaign contributions of American political presidential campaigns, values of expensive works of art, and J. K. Rowling. It is located to the right of the Thousands section below the Billions section and there are a lot of gray groups (but also some orange) marked by unreadable text.]
Millions
[The fourth section gets into larger scale finances, profits of various sectors, costs of natural disasters, and net worths of the richest people on the planet. Also, Donald Trump. It is located to the right of the Dollars section and above both the Millions and Trillions section and has mainly yellow groups (but also some gray and red) all marked by unreadable text. There are, however, a few large headings that can be read:]
Billions
Education
The Economic (...?)
US household income
Federal budget
[In the last panel global financial status is described. It discusses derivatives, liquid assets, public debt by nation and GDP by continent, culminating with the total economic production of the human race to date. It is located below the Billions section to the right of the Millions section and has mainly cyan groups (but also one yellow) all marked by unreadable text.]
Trillions
[For the full transcript of the huge image see 980: Money/Transcript.]

[edit] Trivia

  • XKCD comics are usually posted at, or around, midnight Eastern time the day of the comic (Monday, Wednesday, Friday). This one was posted at about noon on Monday
  • Most of the amounts has a source at XKCDS. In the dollars section there is an important note that at every possible opportunity Randall used a scholarly work or government publication as a source.
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Discussion

"Show me the money" was popularised as a quote from Cuba Gooding Jr.'s character in Jerry McGuire with Tom Cruise. 80.254.147.164 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Since 1950s the work of the production workers got largely automated, so there is a much lower skill requirement. The skilled jobs have largely moved to the post-industrial economy. 108.162.245.111 02:26, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

The typical annual housing cost looks like a vast underestimation (by approximately a factor of 2 or more). If not just cities but the whole metro areas are included, it looks closer to reality. 108.162.245.111 02:26, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

The year 2009 was a very pessimistic one for the evaluation of net worth, both stock and housing investments being down. By the year 2014 the stock had rebounded by a factor close to 2, and the housing had grown in price as well (by a lesser factor). A large portion older people's net worth would be kept in bonds which not only didn't lose value but even grew in value in 2009, which would account for the difference in the distribution. 108.162.245.111 02:26, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

The reason why the US state taxes are declared to be regressive on the chart is that a large part of them comes from taxing the consumption (sales tax, real estate tax, excise taxes on alcohol and tobacco, gasoline and vehicle taxes for road maintenance). The higher-income households invest a larger portion of their income instead of spending it on consumption. The actual state income tax rates are universally progressive. 108.162.245.111 02:26, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

A bunch of odds & ends: 1. In the J.K.Rowling reference in Millions, I think what's going on is that MC Frontalot claims that given how her career has gone, her net worth -is- the 1 billion dollars on the left, but if she had been a rapper, it -would be- the $82,000 on the right. 2. In the Book Publishing Industry box in Billions (bottom left), there's a figure of Waldo from the Where's Waldo book series. 3. In Billions, the Coca-Cola related box at top center refers to an ad from the late 1960s. The jingle was based on a then-popular song (I forget the artist), and included the lyrics:

   "I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony,
   "I'd like to buy the world a Coke, and keep it company..."

4. In Billions, under the Coke box, is US State governments' spending. Randall has tried to imitate the states' shapes and relative positions. 5. In Billions, in the Individual Tax Deductions section (top center), one sort of deduction listed is Cafeteria Plans. This has nothing (at least, extremely little) to do with food. A cafeteria plan is a form of benefit offered by some corporations, in which employees can choose from a menu of benefits which ones they want. 108.162.219.40 09:55, 7 March 2014 (UTC) "Show me the money" is also a cheat code in Starcraft. Seebert (talk) 22:03, 9 June 2014 (UTC)


I tried to make a transcript. But Dgbrt did not like that? I have asked why on his talk page. I was planning to do some collapse of the transcript like in the themes for Lorenz. So it would not take up so much space. As the explain is now it is hopeless... Kynde (talk) 15:52, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

In my opinion that belongs to the explain section. The simple, but original, transcript is ok — any further details would shown up twice. The explain section is the right place for your nice adds. --Dgbrt (talk) 20:28, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
I have now moved the transcript out of the explanation. For the full transcript see 980: Money/Transcript (there is a link from the short - visible in small image only - transcript. So far the first two section, Dollars and Thousands are completed. But that was the easy part... So everyone feel free to help. There is an explanation on how I have designed it at the top. Once it is finished it would be possible to use it in the explanation by referring to the sections in this complete transcript.Kynde (talk) 22:25, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
Well I guess no one wished to join in, but at least I can take credit for making a complete transcript of this huge comic. Today I completed the last section I was missing, and it only took me 18 days to finish... I hope it can be used to build up a complete explanation by way of referring to this in the explanation. Please enjoy what amounts to 50 pages of A4 or almost 20.000 words (122.455 signs) Auuch :-) Kynde (talk) 20:49, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
The same vague incomplete tag has been on this comic since february, with more than 50 edits since. Kynde has done an great job with the transcript, and I'm not sure what is left for it to be marked complete. Either we mark complete, or we need to specify clearly what is remaining to do. --Pudder (talk) 15:48, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
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