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Thread: How many dollars are there in existence?

  1. #1

    Default How many dollars are there in existence?

    I realize that there is probably not a source that can tell us this (or at least my 10 second google search didn't come up with anything), but isn't this important. To value worth of a stock, isn't it best to know how many shares are outstanding? How is it not the same with dollars? We found out the Fed gave out $16 trillion in loans to people all over the world, presumably out of thin air (no way they had it already just lying around). So is there a way to find how many dollars are outstanding, and if not, any guesses to what number we are at now?



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    This is an older link but according to the NY Fed there is about $829 billion in circulation with the majority being held outside of the United States. That is the only figure I could find.

    http://www.newyorkfed.org/aboutthefe...int/fed01.html
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    $1,028,352,000,000 as of July 20, 2011.

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2...CURCIR?cid=342

    A chart that goes back further:
    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2...URRCIR?cid=342
    Last edited by enoch150; 07-22-2011 at 02:52 PM.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by enoch150 View Post
    $1,028,352,000,000 as of July 20, 2011.

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2...CURCIR?cid=342

    A chart that goes back further:
    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2...URRCIR?cid=342
    Ok I'm a bit confused. How can there only be $1 trillion outstanding when it was discovered that the Fed just gave out $16 trillion over the past three years? Did the recipients of this money not use it and even if they didn't doesn't it still count as in circulation because they are making their decisions based on that amount of money they have existing?

  6. #5

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    If you just want to count the amount of paper dollars and coins in circulation and that which the Federal Reserve holds that can be exchanged for paper dollars on demand (this is known as the monetary base or M0). Then its around $1 trillion.

    If you want to count the previous plus you also want to count the amount that people have in demand deposits at commercial banks then as of July 2011 its $1.956 trillion. (this figure is known as M1)

    If you want to count the previous plus the amount that are in peoples savings accounts, CDs, and money markets then as of July 2011 its $9.127 trillion. (this figure is known as M2)
    Last edited by matt0611; 07-22-2011 at 03:19 PM.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by winston_blade View Post
    Ok I'm a bit confused. How can there only be $1 trillion outstanding when it was discovered that the Fed just gave out $16 trillion over the past three years? Did the recipients of this money not use it and even if they didn't doesn't it still count as in circulation because they are making their decisions based on that amount of money they have existing?
    The 16T in question is just the total loan amount. It's double counted a few times over.

    For example, the FED might have lent 500B in emergency loans. Then got that paid back. Then lent 500B again. Paid back. That totals 1T - but is actually only 500B in new money.

    So there is no way of knowing just from the 16T how much of that was relent many times over. It could only be a trillion in net loans.

  8. #7

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    It's freaking complicated!

    People can't even agree on what should be counted as a dollar. From an Austrian perspective, anything that satisfies the demand for a dollar should be counted in the money supply. I think the M3 number that the Fed used to publish but now can only be found on shadowstats is thought by some to be the best measure of the money supply from an Austrian perspective. But this is way beyond my competence to explain.
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    Quote Originally Posted by winston_blade View Post
    Ok I'm a bit confused. How can there only be $1 trillion outstanding when it was discovered that the Fed just gave out $16 trillion over the past three years? Did the recipients of this money not use it and even if they didn't doesn't it still count as in circulation because they are making their decisions based on that amount of money they have existing?
    It is estimated that only 2% of all Dollars in existence are in Paper Money. The other 98% is digital, IE Checks, Bank Account Numbers, etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DamianTV View Post
    It is estimated that only 2% of all Dollars in existence are in Paper Money. The other 98% is digital, IE Checks, Bank Account Numbers, etc.
    Hmmm....I see. Wouldn't these "digital" dollars still count as part of the money supply since they can be used to purchase things the same way that paper dollars can? So if there are $1 trillion paper dollars, and your percentages are right, then there are $50 trillion total dollars in existence. That's a lot of dollars, I think maybe I should quit holding them.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by winston_blade View Post
    Hmmm....I see. Wouldn't these "digital" dollars still count as part of the money supply since they can be used to purchase things the same way that paper dollars can? So if there are $1 trillion paper dollars, and your percentages are right, then there are $50 trillion total dollars in existence. That's a lot of dollars, I think maybe I should quit holding them.
    Well if you loan a bank $100 and the bank loans out $90 to someone else, how much money do you and this other individual actually have? A lot of it comes down to fractional reserve banking. If banks only held money and made no loans, then the money supply wouldn't explode like this. The economy would also grow at a slower pace.
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    What are you considering dollars? The hard, physical currency produced? Or the other versions it can have- such as bank accounts? The Federal Reserve breaks money down into four main categories (though it is really three now with their decision to no longer track or report on M3- more on that later). What are those "brackets"? Each includes the previous, smaller one. The scale moves up based mostly on liquidity- how quickly that money can be accessed and spent.

    M0- the most basic- is the measure of all currency plus accounts banks have with the Fed which can be exchanged for hard currency. According to the St. Louis Federal Reserve (which is their statistical arm), the currency component was $968 billion as of July 7, 2011. http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/CURRENCY
    According to the Fed:
    The currency component of M1, sometimes called "money stock currency," is defined as currency in circulation outside the U.S. Treasury, Federal Reserve Banks, and the vaults of depository institutions. Data on total currency in circulation are obtained weekly from balance sheets of the Federal Reserve Banks and from the U.S. Treasury
    M1 takes M0 and adds in "demand" accounts- which would be your basic checking accounts. Again, from the St. Louis Fed- the total of that was $1.78 trillion as of 7/11/11.
    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/M1
    Ml includes funds that are readily accessible for spending. M1 consists of: (1) currency outside the U.S. Treasury, Federal Reserve Banks, and the vaults of depository institutions; (2) traveler's checks of nonbank issuers; (3) demand deposits; and (4) other checkable deposits (OCDs), which consist primarily of negotiable order of withdrawal (NOW) accounts at depository institutions and credit union share draft accounts.
    The most reported measure of US money supply is M2.

    M2 takes M1 and adds in savings accounts and time deposts of under $250,000 along with funds in Money Market accounts. As of 7/11, that measure of money came out to $9.26 trillion. http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/M2

    M2 includes a broader set of financial assets held principally by households. M2 consists of M1 plus: (1) savings deposits (which include money market deposit accounts, or MMDAs); (2) small-denomination time deposits (time deposits in amounts of less than $100,000); and (3) balances in retail money market mutual funds (MMMFs). Seasonally adjusted M2 is computed by summing savings deposits, small-denomination time deposits, and retail MMMFs, each seasonally adjusted separately, and adding this result to seasonally adjusted M1.
    M3 In 2005, the Federal Reserve stopped tracking and reporting M3- saying that it did not give them significant additional information as far as monetary policy was concerned and that this limited benefit was ofset by how expensive and difficult it was to calculate it. M3 includes of course M2 plus large corporate accounts along with Euro Dollar accounts (bank accounts overseas which have deposits made in US dollars) and repurchase agreements. These last two in particular were getting too difficult to track accurately enough. Some people attempt to estimate M3- including Shadow Stats. Trying to read one of their graphs http://www.shadowstats.com/charts/mo...e-money-supply they seem to currently estimate M3 to be about $14 trillion.

    Money definitions from both the Fed and Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money_supply Their description of M3:
    M3: M2 + all other CDs (large time deposits, institutional money market mutual fund balances), deposits of eurodollars and repurchase agreements.
    The "monetary base" which some will try to show is not a measure of actual US money supply but can give an indication of what the future money supply may look like. If it is rising, the actual money circulating may eventually rise as well.
    Last edited by Zippyjuan; 07-22-2011 at 07:55 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by winston_blade View Post
    Ok I'm a bit confused. How can there only be $1 trillion outstanding when it was discovered that the Fed just gave out $16 trillion over the past three years? Did the recipients of this money not use it and even if they didn't doesn't it still count as in circulation because they are making their decisions based on that amount of money they have existing?
    A good portion of that comes from multiple counting. The loans made were overnight- just one day. Now if they decided to keep the loan longer, each day was considered a new loan as far as bookkeeping- even if the money they had didn't change. If, for example, a bank borrowed $1 million but kept the money for ten days, that would count as $10 million in loans- not the $1 million they actually had out.

    If the average borrower had their loan for sixteen days, that $16 trillion in reported loans would actually only be $1 trillion. If they were held longer than that, the real level of borrowing would be even lower. If they kept it for 32 days on average, the total lent drops down to about $500 billion. I don't know low long the average loan was out for (that would also have to be given further weight based on how big each individual loan was and how long each one was held for).
    Last edited by Zippyjuan; 07-22-2011 at 08:15 PM.
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    Isnt there another statistic that says that something like 95% of the real wealth of the nation is controlled by the top 2% or something like that?
    1776 > 1984

    The FAILURE of the United States Government to operate and maintian an
    Honest Money System , which frees the ordinary man from the clutches of the money manipulators, is the single largest contributing factor to the World's current Economic Crisis.

    The Elimination of Privacy is the Architecture of Genocide

    You are Ron Paul's Media!

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    lol @ interweb Meme!
    1776 > 1984

    The FAILURE of the United States Government to operate and maintian an
    Honest Money System , which frees the ordinary man from the clutches of the money manipulators, is the single largest contributing factor to the World's current Economic Crisis.

    The Elimination of Privacy is the Architecture of Genocide

    You are Ron Paul's Media!

  17. #16

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    It is extremely complicated to try and determine how much "money" there is in existence. The above definitions cover a certain amount. More Austrian definitions include all credit outstanding as well. And it could be argued to include all assets in existence, as well. If an asset can be used as collateral for a loan - which can be created at the click of a finger - then assets, for all intents and purposes, are money as well.

    If money is understood as simply a means of exchange, then everything is money. You'll never find a complete definition of it for this reason. This makes it impossible and pointless to try and track.

  18. #17

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    I would think congress or someone on the budget committee should be able to figure it out from this chart.



    http://oregonstate.edu/cla/polisci/sahr

    I remember when we used to be able to tell how much nuclear testing was being done by the Russians by measuring the radiation in the air. We subtracted ours and the remainder was theirs. The same thing should be possible with the dollar.

    See how in early times of war fiat money was introduced into the system and the value of the currency as a whole dropped about fifty percent. That should equate to a doubling of the money supply.

    If congress knows how much it has created and put on the central bank credit card of theirs they should be able to subtract that and see how much has been created out side of our country by the central bank and other counterfeiters.

    Keep in mind though that the trillions upon trillions of recent debt and the devaluation created by it haven't been included in the chart by Mr. Sahr.
    Last edited by Carson; 07-23-2011 at 08:57 PM.

  19. #18

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    The real question is how much dollar denominated debt exists spanning the entire planet.

    I'd guess something like...4,600,000,000,000,000. I'm sure the GDPs of the world can suffice, dont you?





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