Imagine the Ultimate Business Mega-Deal: Sell the Planet Earth– All Its Resources, Assets… But; What is the Earth Worth?

Your ‘mission’ should you decide to accept it: Sell the planet Earth– to an intergalactic investor… But first, a few facts you need to know: Earth is estimated to be 4.5 billion years old; Earth weighs 6,588,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. tons; Earth travels through space at 660,000 miles per hour; Earth is shaped as an oblate spheroid, flattened at the poles and bulging at the equator…

Earth is the only planet, we know of, that has the means of sustaining human life and in all respects; it’s the unique, priceless– human habitat… How then would you even begin to attach a monetary value for all– resources, life forms… on the planet?

Who would even want it? Is there anyone (or thing) out there, in the intergalactic universe, that would even be interested or qualified to purchase Earth? Billionaires are incredibly wealthy, but their wealth is pocket change compared to the estimated value of all the physical assets of Earth… According to one calculation; Earth and all assets are worth $US 6,873,951,620,979,800. or, nearly ‘seven’ Quadrillion dollars, which includes all the planet Earth’s; oil, diamonds, gold, lumber, water, precious metals, everything on Earth… (Note: one Quadrillion equals 1,000,000,000,000,000. or, one thousand trillion, or one thousand million million, or 1015 prefix peta-)…

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According to Wikipedia; there are several ways to estimate the value of Earth, for example: Estimate the value of life for everything that lives on it… or, estimate the cost of replacing the Earth… or, as a variation, estimate the cost of a smaller habitat, such as ‘Biosphere 2’ and multiply its cost by the ratio between the population of the planet and of the smaller habitat… or, calculate the yield of the ‘natural’ capital and use the size and consistency of this yield to calculate the worth of the planet…

As one might expect, all these estimates produce very high values for the entire planet, usually at least in millions of trillions of US dollars… So then; What is the Earth worth? Since, everything on the planet is legally owned by one entity or other and for most things there should be an estimated worth… Hence, it might be just a matter of adding all of these number together… So as a guess-estimate, the total worth of all assets of the entire planet is roughly– $US1 Quadrillion dollars… In other words, according to one estimate; if a ‘intergalactic investor’ offered to buy Earth; a reasonable starting price is at least $US1 Quadrillion dollars…

In the article Global Wealth Hit $US263 Trillion by Arjun Kharpal writes: According to Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report; global wealth has grown to a record $US263 Trillion in mid-2014, which is $US20.1 Trillion more, an 8.3% increase, over mid-2013. Household wealth has more than doubled since 2000, when the same report calculated it at $117 Trillion… the U. S. boasts the highest average wealth with 34.7% ($US91 Trillion) of global wealth. Europe’s portion comes in a close second with 32.4%, followed by India and China’s 23.7% share, and then the 18.9% concentrated in the Asia-Pacific region… North America has the highest average wealth, and is also the world’s leader in GDP, which the report estimates grew by $12.9 Billion in 2013…

Wealth in the U.S. and Europe was driven by a spectacular year on the stock exchanges. Since the financial crisis of 2008, the U.S. has added $31.5 Trillion in household wealth… global wealth is expected to rise by nearly 40% in the next five years, reaching $368 Trillion by 2018, and emerging market wealth generation is expected to outpace the developed world… Research shows that global wealth has doubled since 2000, which is quite compelling given some of the economic challenges of the last decade… The number of global millionaires could exceed 47 Million in 2018, a rise of nearly 16 Million with China potentially seeing its number double by 2018…

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In the article How Much Wealth is There in the World? by Cameron Ellis writes: It depends on whether you are just counting financial assets (such as, combined wealth of people with invest-able assets greater than $US1M), or if you also counting physical assets, such as; houses, oil and coal in the ground, trees growing on government land, etc…

If you go with the broader definition then the $US47.9 Trillion number estimated by Merrill Lynch is way too small, for example; all residential real estate just in the U.S. was worth over $US23 Trillion, in 2002, and after that boom and bust it’s probably worth that much again… and in addition, all residential real estate around the world is certainly more than $US100 Trillion…

Then the top 10 ‘natural’ resource reserves in the top 10 resource rich countries is worth almost $US300 Trillon… I suspect the grand total of all assets is on the order of $US500 Trillion… As a sanity check you might compare this to global GDP which is about $US74 Trillion. So if all assets are about $US500 Trillion then the ratio to assets to one year’s income is about 7x. This would mean that the value of all assets is equal to 7 times the value of one years total production, which sounds like a reasonable number…

In the article Formula for Valuing the Worth of the Earth by Stephen Messenger writes: According to Greg Laughlin, astrophysicist, who came up with a calculation for valuing planets; Earth is worth a bank-breaking $US5 Quadrillion ($US5,000,000,000,000,000), unsurprisingly the priciest in the solar-system… However, whether or not this cosmic abode retains its value depends on how well; tenants (i.e., humans) maintain, protect, conserve, keep-up… the planet.

According to Greg Laughlin; Earth is the most expensive planet measured, whereas the neighbor on one side; i.e., the planet Mars is estimated at a modest $US16,000, and planet Venus, fairs far worse, is valued at about one penny…  These calculations were based on the sum of the planet’s– age, size, temperature, mass, other vital statistics… However, while putting a value on something as irreplaceable as the place of your existence (i.e., Earth)– it would seem like you are neglecting its true worth, which is its pricelessness for humankind…

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However, the truth is humanity cannot afford to replace Earth; it’s not a– ‘you break it, you buy it’– sort of situation. And picking-up the $US5,000,000,000,000,000 tab would require a century’s worth of the planet’s global GDP– however if humans continue to ignore its vital health signs, Earth is bound to be just a bit less inhabitable, and as it slips into decline and looses much of its value… In still another calculation consider these facts; the world population currently exceeds 7 Billion with about 3 Billion in the global workforce…

Also, the world-wide GDP is about $US74 Trillion dollars, or about $US10,500 per person, or $US 24,000 per worker… then, let’s assume that the average worker works for about 45 years, over a life time, then $US74 Trillion times 45 years is $US3,330 Trillion dollars… Now also consider all stocks and bonds and they are estimated at over $US140 Trillion worldwide… but these estimates are only the value of publicly traded companies.

Then, double that estimate to cover private business world-wide, and probably double it again to cover public property, so that gives something like $US560 Trillion dollars… And, this does not include any of the replacement costs for all the ‘natural’ Earth resources…

Nice try, but how realistic are these calculations? What about Earth many issues, such as; contaminated chemical sites, global warming, over-human population, depleting oceans resources… they all detract from the earth’s value? However, since the value of something is determined in relation to supply and demand, hence the Earth is worth precisely what somebody (something) would be prepared to pay for it…

And, who would this somebody (something) be? In which currency would they pay? But more important; Who does the Earth even belong to? Is it the original inhabitants, God, Queen of England, she (the Queen) is supposedly the largest land owner ever… according to the website; Who Owns The World.Com, and she owns 10.4 million square kilometers, which is a sixth of the earth’s total land surface…

asset we_are_destroying_earth_cartoonIn the documentary; What’s the Earth Worth? it attempts to conduct the largest asset, resource…inventory that was ever done for the planet Earth… and it tries to determine the worth of all the Earth’s commodities using stock exchange valuations, for example; gold stocks, diamond deposits, rare earths, rocks, base metals, oil reserves, every animal and every plant are counted and given price tags… according to the documentary– the sum of all the world’s resources amounts to: €5,341,732,716,000,000, or 5.3 Quadrillion euros… and at €4.3 trillion ($US5.9 trillion) fresh water is the most valuable commodity, and worth 4-times more than all other resources combined; but what if all the fresh water becomes contaminated? 

The documentary even determined the stock of trees, down to last trunk, using a satellite scanner; there are 400,240,300,201 of them; but what if all the trees are destroyed? Basically, any sensible investor, no matter from which planetary system, would surely shy away from purchasing the Earth. The risks and hidden shortcomings are simply too unpredictable…