To make this question answerable in a finite amount of time, let's make a simplification and ask, "how much money is there in the United States?" Since the statistics for the U.S. are easy to come by, we can look at it a couple of different ways.
The first way to look at it might be, "How much cash is there in U.S. currency?" If you took all the bills and coins floating around today, how much money is that? According to the Federal Reserve, the current number is very close to half a trillion dollars! This page shows the total amount of currency available by month since 1959. That sounds like an incredible amount, but think about it this way: In 1990 there were about 250,000,000 people in the U.S. (see this page). If you took all the cash and divided it up equally, each person would only get about $2,000. Obviously there is more money floating around than that.
The rest of the money is held in various types of bank accounts, and the Federal Reserve tracks these funds in three different values: The M1, M2 and M3 money supplies:
See this page for details.
- M1 is all of the currency, plus all of the money held in checking accounts and other checkable accounts, as well as all of the money in travelers checks. As of September 1999, the M1 money supply is about $1,100 billion.
- M2 is M1 plus all of the money held in money market funds, savings accounts and small CDs. As of September 1999, the M2 money supply is about $4,600 billion.
- M3 is M2 plus all of the large CDs. As of September 1999 it is about $6,250 billion.
So if you wanted all of the money in the United States, what you would ask for is M3 and you would get 6 or so trillion dollars! How much money is that? It's a lot... But if you look at the federal budget you will see that it is only enough money to run the U.S. federal government for about 3 years...
Here are several interesting links: