Sunday, March 3, 2019

Reparations -- Idle Computing

Disclaimer: there are a few assumptions in the calculations below. In addition, I often make simple arithmetic errors, and with big numbers, I often lose track of the number of zeroes involved. This is for my own use trying to figure out what reparations might cost the nation. Your numbers may vary.
  • Slave generations, 10: 1776 - 1865 (wiki says either 10 or 12 generations; I used the more conservative number of 10)
  • 10 generations x 40 years of work for each generation
  • average: 10 cents/day for wages across all generations
  • 40 years * 365 *10 cents = $1,460 * four family members per generation = $5,840 for one family across ten generations of slavery
  • the family would have taken their earnings and invested the $5,840 in the British and US stock markets over the years and the portfolio would have grown to $8,650 by 1865
  • the family’s portfolio would have grown to $1,467,045 at the height of the “Roaring 20’s” (1920s)
  • fortunately, the family would have had the foresight to sell before the  market crashed; the family would have kept the $1.5 million in cash until WWII
  • the family then would have invested the $1.5 million in the US stock market during the post-war boom, growing the portfolio to $2.3 million by 1955
  • spotting IBM, the company would have invested much of the $2.3 million in IBM in 1955, which then grew to $230 million by 1984
  • in 1984, the family would have spotted a small company called Apple and would have sold most of their IBM to buy shares in AAPL; the portfolio grew to $2.14 billion as of 2015
  • so, by all rights, this family is owed a “reparations” check of $2.14 billion 
  • since “every” African-American can trace his/her heritage back to a  slave family, the 37 million African Americans * $2.14 billion = $79 million billion or 79 thousand thousand billion or 79 thousand trillion or $79,000 trillion.

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