The New Illions

Written by Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser

Times were when everyone counted the same way; one thousand, one million, one billion, and so on. But this is no longer the case. In fact, it has not been for quite some time, though few people noticed. Depending on where you are, a billion can be a billion, or one thousand times as much.
 
Coming with the never-ending loss of purchasing power of most currencies, due to governments “printing money” ad libitum, many numbers have gone from millions to billions, to trillions, and beyond, all over the world. But that is the problem. Not everyone counts the same. In European and most other countries, the system of nomenclature is different than in North America, though some of the identical words are being used. It is best described with a table, as follows:
Kaiser Numbers
 
As you can see in this short table, the terms billion and trillion occur twice, but with different meanings in Europe and the US. Obviously, such different meanings of identical terms can (and will) lead to confusion, misunderstandings, and consequently to problems in commerce, science, etc.
 
With both systems heavily entrenched over a long time, there is no easy way to come to common definitions now, even if the world desired that. So, what is the path forward? I can see only one solution, in principle, namely the creation of new words, which could be adopted by everyone without problem. As we all have become familiar with “..illions” of some sort, a new term should incorporate that part of these words for numbers, at least. A numerical term, describing unequivocally the number could be the count of zeros. For example, an US billion could be called an “Illion-9”, an European billion could be called an “Illion-12”, and so on, as shown in the last column of the table. This proposal is just one of many possibilities.
 
The time has come when universally accepted and clearly defined terms are needed to describe the “gadzillions” of currency units floating about in the world, not to mention astronomical distances and other values of the multi-illion type.
 
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Comments (3)

  • Avatar

    DougCotton

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    It’s time for the Europeans to come into line, rather than invent a new terminology like illions. As best I can remember, Australians have followed the US billions and trillions terminology for at least half a century. The European system is just such a mouthful, for example: twenty seven billion, seven hundred and fifty six thousand, four hundred and thirty three million, two hundred and sixteen thousand, five hundred and twelve. Did you work it out? 27,756,433,216,512

    • Avatar

      F.Ketterer

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      [quote name=”DougCotton”]It’s time for the Europeans to come into line, rather than invent a new terminology like illions. As best I can remember, Australians have followed the US billions and trillions terminology for at least half a century. The European system is just such a mouthful, for example: twenty seven billion, seven hundred and fifty six thousand, four hundred and thirty three million, two hundred and sixteen thousand, five hundred and twelve. Did you work it out? 27,756,433,216,512[/quote]

      You miss-spelled it:

      27 billions 756 milliards 433 millions 216 thousands 512.[full stop; not dot]

      So we have 2 abigous systems and a clear system as used in sciencs:
      10^3 =k
      10^6 =M
      10^9 =G
      10^12 =T
      10^15 =P
      10^18 =E
      10^21 =Z
      10^24 =Y

      but thus you’d use SI

      duck and cover

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