980: Money

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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 there is a link to the much larger (Google Maps-like) version. Go find something interesting, don't worry, the wiki will still be here.


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: 980: Money
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.

Well, that's why this one is late. It is MASSIVE. This is another chart that Randall does for xkcd from time to time. He has done maps of the Internet (twice) and other huge visualizations.

Dollar increments are different colors. Dollar increments are green. (Naturally, because American paper money is green.) Thousands are Orange/Red. Millions are gray. Billions are yellow. Trillions are blue.

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'.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 begs the question, why do the boxes only add up to $82,000?


  • 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
  • Each amount has a source at http://xkcd.com/980/sources/ In the dollars section there is a statement that at every possible opportunity Randall used a scholarly work or government publication.



all of it

(this transcription is only reproducing text visible on the front page comic. There are 5 large panels, each with a series of plots, comparing the values of various things.)

  • Dollars
    • (This section covers single coffees up to the hourly salaries of CEOs)
  • Thousands
    • (This section discusses values from around $1000 to $1000000, including a dissection of the song If I had $1000000)
  • Millions
    • (This section focuses on $1000,000 to $1000,000,000, with a large section on campaign contributions of American political presidential campaigns, values of expensive works of art, and J. K. Rowling.)
  • Billions
    • (This 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.)
  • Trillions
    • (Global financial status is described here. 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.)
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"Show me the money" was popularised as a quote from Cuba Gooding Jr.'s character in Jerry McGuire with Tom Cruise. (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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 09:55, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
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