Eight Other Ways to Spend $44 Billion

What can $44 billion buy you, other than the little blue bird? We look at some alternative ways - both silly and serious - you could splurge that kind of cash. 

Elon Musk 44 billion

What can $44 billion buy you, other than the little blue bird? We look at some alternative ways – both silly and serious – you could splurge that kind of cash. 

Someone bought something earlier this week, no big deal. Well a $44 billion sized deal, but the world didn’t lose their mind about it or anything.

I was actually surprised Twitter only cost $44 bil. Much has been written and said in the last few days about the platform’s flawed commercial model and limited user base, but still. It’s Twitter. It’s an institution. The process of sharing on Twitter has become a verb in and of itself – people tweet now, not birds.

It’s the chosen platform for politicians and journalists and really anyone serious that has anything serious to say publicly. It is the cesspool and the infinity pool – both filthy and wonderful and, for so many people now, an utter necessity. And you can own it all for just $44 billion? 

elon musk 44 billion

Perhaps we’ve just been desensitised to these gargantuan numbers. For years, Bill Gates was the world’s richest man with an unfathomable fortune of 60-odd billion dollars. Suddenly, there’s two new blokes, both with net worths north of $200bn, and the forty-fours and sixties of the world seem commonplace. 

So, to put the absurd amount that is $44 billion back into perspective, here are eight other ways you could spend it. 

120 million years of Pret Subscription

Let’s start with a coffee. Now, as endless as your money may be, you’ve still got to cut costs where possible, and as any frequent caffeine consumer in London knows, the Pret A Manger subscription is a bargain. £25 a month for basically bottomless hot and cold drinks. That’s £300 quid a year. Divide that by £36 billion (I’m roughly trying to stick to currencies here, but I apologise in advance for any imprecise maths) and you get 120 million years of unlimited coffee with Pret. 

Say you use each and every one of your drinks, for all 120 million of those years, you’d get two hundred nineteen billion cups of coffee. It’s about 20p a coffee. What a deal. 

Enough Lightsabers to Arm Pakistan

Good replica lightsabers come in at $219. Bulk order, I think we can bargain them down to $200 a pop. If we can pull that off, we get 220 million in total, which, I believe, is the population of Pakistan – the world’s fifth most populous nation. For $44 billion, we could arm each and every Pakistani citizen with a lightsaber. Now there’s a sentence. 

lightsaber 44 billion

If you’re more of a lightsaber purist, Mark Hammill’s original prop is valued at between $150,000 and $200,000. Maybe if we don’t arm the babies under 3 months or something, we’d be able to buy the ultimate lightsaber as well. 

I suppose the other side of this coin is you could give $200 to every person in Pakistan. Probably a better use of the money. 

Palace of Versailles

This one’s a bit of a stretch, Versailles coming in at $50.7 billion, but I reckon with a bit of bartering we could knock 6 bil off the price. The land alone costs $40 billion, then you get a palace on top. And it would be fun, wouldn’t it? Become Louis XVII, swan about the place, eat foie gras, maximalist opulence. You wouldn’t even have to worry about causing a revolution – Marine Le Pen can handle that. 

Versailles would hardly be the most ethical way to spend your $44 billion. I suppose you could give a palace wing to scientists and use the income from tourists to fund research into solving climate change? It still doesn’t sound great when you put it like that.

palace of versailles

Reduce Global Hunger by 13.33%

Sadly, even $44 billion dollars would not be enough to end global hunger at this stage. $330 billion bucks is what that would take, according to a 2020 study backed by the German government, tasked with eradicating the issue by 2030. 

According to the Global Hunger Index, 47 countries have extremely alarming or serious levels of hunger. Ten of the countries have higher GHI scores in 2021 than they had in 2012. Though $44 billion wouldn’t be enough to end the problem, it would dramatically reduce an ever growing problem.

110,000 Jaguar E-Types

If I could have any car, I’d have an E-Type (in forest green). If I had $44 billion, I could have a fleet of E-Types (in forest green). 

jaguar e type 44 billion

For the sake of convenience, reliability and production practicality, we’ll target the 2020 Jaguar E-Type Reborn. These retail for $400,000, meaning our budget makes room for 110,000 of them. What a car collection that would be.


Let’s stay indulgent. Chelsea’s ownership fiasco has been much publicised, with £3 billion the listed price. You could comfortably buy the reigning European Champs with their prime West London location. 

Now, use your tens of billions left over to run Chelsea into the dirt. Everyone wins.  

The Mona Lisa – plus Jets and Tanks for Protection 

Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is valued at $900 million. This estimation makes it the most valuable painting in the world, and you could buy it 50 times over.  

mona lisa 44 billion

Of course, however, the Mona Lisa’s magic is its singularity. Rather than stupid postulations – absolutely none of that around here – let’s work out a practical way to spend $43.1 billion to protect your new masterpiece. You could, as we’ve found out, arm a nation with lightsabers. In case you want to go in a more sensible direction, let’s look at fighter jets and tanks. 

Nothing but the best for us, so for a little over half our budget, we can get a fleet of 163 Lockheed Martin F-35Bs – the most expensive fighter jet in the world. We’ll then purchase 2,352 K2 Black Panther Tanks, again the industry leader. That leaves us a billion left over. Let’s spend it on lightsabers. 

Should be enough to keep the Mona Lisa safe.

Sri Lanka

#CeylonMusk. The internet came up with this one after Musk’s initial Twitter bid became public. It followed the South Asian island nation faulting on its mountain of international debt earlier this month. The country described it as “the last resort.”  

For all the jokes, I think there’s something quite sad about this. Sri Lanka has endured a difficult 50 years and domestic unrest is rising again – a result of the deepening economic crisis. It has led to protests, and in turn curfews across the island of 22 million people. Meanwhile, Musk throws around these kinds of sums seemingly just because he wants to. I don’t know. It just doesn’t sit right. 

Protect Endangered Species

In 2012, it was estimated that £50 billion a year was needed to protect endangered animals. I’m surprised the number is that eye-watering, though that only confirms the extent of the issue at hand. 

mona lisa

The vast majority of that sum consists of building the infrastructure needed – hopefully some of which has happened in the last decade. Working to reduce the risk of extinction alone is still £3bn, a sum our budget could provide for the next 12 years. 

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