Antiwar site lets you spend $3 trillion your way

A clever way to illustrate the opportunity cost of the war.


Farhad Manjoo
April 19, 2008 12:05AM (UTC)

Three trillion dollars is a lot of cash. You know that, but it's more than you think: For the last three hours I've tried to spend $3 trillion and I barely cracked a trillion. Can you do better?

My playground was 3Trillion.org, an antiwar Web site set up by Robert Greenwald's Brave New Films.

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In his new book, the economist Joseph Stiglitz estimates that the Iraq war will cost, in total, $3 trillion. The Greenwald site aims to illustrate the opportunity cost of the war -- other things we might have done with the money.

The site is populated with items from Amazon and other shopping sites -- ordinary items, things like the "Full House" box set and Oprah books -- but users can also add their own big-ticket things.

These are fascinating -- many are well-meaning, though more than a few betray the same kind of money-will-make-it-happen wrongheaded idealism that got us into Iraq in the first place (for instance, even spending $500 billion will not "replace all media with guaranteed truth only" -- that's just crazy talk.)

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Here's my shopping list -- my total was $1,262,141,869,322.10. Yours?

F/A-22 Raptor
1 purchased for $100,000,000.00 each
Virgin Mary Sandwich
1 purchased for $28,000.00 each
Parmigiano Reggiano Aged 18 months - 2lb wedge
1 purchased for $24.00 each
Make a Hollywood Movie
1 purchased for $106,600,000.00 each
Full House - The Complete Series Collection
1 purchased for $99.00 each
Lost - The Complete First Season
1 purchased for $37.00 each
The West Wing - The Complete Series Collection
1 purchased for $179.00 each
Grand Theft Auto IV
1 purchased for $56.00 each
Dinner for 4 at The French Laundry
1 purchased for $800.00 each
Broadband To Every U.S. Home
1 purchased for $100,000,000,000.00 each
MacBook Airs for everyone in the U.S.
1 purchased for $546,649,000,000.00 each
"True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society"
1 purchased for $17.13 each
Send Your Mom a Letter from Abraham Lincoln
1 purchased for $3,400,000.00 each
The Hope Diamond
1 purchased for $250,000,000.00 each
Hanes Classics Men's 6 pack cushion crew Sock, White, 6-12
1 purchased for $7.99 each
BLUE ICE Glitter Barbell Tongue Ring
1 purchased for $1.00 each
Colonix - Internal Cleansing Program (Liver, Kidney, Colon, And Parasite Cleanse) - FREE UPGRADE TO EXPEDITED SHIPPING
1 purchased for $86.00 each
Buy the Beatles' Back Catalog
2 purchased for $1,488,820,000.00 each
A Vacation
1 purchased for $20,000.00 each
New York Yankees
1 purchased for $1,027,000,000.00 each
Go On Vacation to Space!
1 purchased for $20,000,000.00 each
Achieve the Millennium Development Goals
1 purchased for $60,000,000,000.00 each
Mooning Garden Gnome
1 purchased for $14.98 each
Food, Shelter & Vet Care for Unwanted Pets
1 purchased for $15,000,000,000.00 each
Secret Island Fortress
1 purchased for $15,000,000.00 each
Harvard University
1 purchased for $35,000,000,000.00 each
Housing for America's homeless
1 purchased for $74,000,000,000.00 each
Achieve Universal Literacy
1 purchased for $5,000,000,000.00 each
End Third-World Debt
1 purchased for $422,000,000,000.00 each

Farhad Manjoo

Farhad Manjoo is a Salon staff writer and the author of True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.

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