Unexpectedly Intriguing!
January 17, 2014

Suppose politicians were free to spend money in ever increasing amounts, and that the only rule they had to follow is that each additional expenditure they make would have to be exactly one dollar more than their previous highest expenditure. So, if they started off with a \$1 expenditure, they would spend \$2 for their next line item in their budget, then \$3 for the next item, and so on, until they've spent an infinite amount of money.

Now, what would we have to show for all that spending if we added it all up?

Well, to do that, we'd first have to sum up all that spending. Believe it or not, after doing the math, we would have less than nothing, which is to say that we are all worse off than we were before all that spending was allowed to happen. And that is just another way to say that all that spending wasn't anything other than an infinite waste of money. Here's the math that proves it:

This is, by a wide margin, the most noodle-bending counterintuitive thing I have ever seen. Mathematician Leonard Euler actually proved this result in 1735, but the result was only made rigorous later and now physicists have been seeing this result actually show up in nature. Amazing.

The physicists in question would be those working with string theory. Which, if you need a basic primer, here you go:

Looking back at government spending, while the results so far are only preliminary, it does appear that today's politicians are on track to achieve that ultimate result.

Labels: ,

is good for you

Welcome to the blogosphere's toolchest! Here, unlike other blogs dedicated to analyzing current events, we create easy-to-use, simple tools to do the math related to them so you can get in on the action too! If you would like to learn more about these tools, or if you would like to contribute ideas to develop for this blog, please e-mail us at:

ironman at politicalcalculations.com

Recent Posts

Applications

This year, we'll be experimenting with a number of apps to bring more of a current events focus to Political Calculations - we're test driving the app(s) below!

Most Popular Posts
Quick Index

Site Data

Visitors since December 6, 2004:

JavaScript

The tools on this site are built using JavaScript. If you would like to learn more, one of the best free resources on the web is available at W3Schools.com.