Editor: Crass Cash
We all know the story about how some Native Americans sold the island of manhattan for the equivalent of $24 in beads and other goods. We all chuckle at the nativity of the unsophisticated savages who were taken advantage of. But were they really that stupid? Or were the financially savy Dutch the ones that got had?
Yesterday day was the 388th anniversary of this transaction. So how would the Native Americans have done if they earned a 10% return over the past 388 years? Not too shabby as it turns out. That $24 would have compounded into $267,000,000,000,000,000. Now I don't know the net worth of manhattan island, but I doubt it's this big.
To give you an idea of how much money that is, it's 184 times the GDP output for the entire United States! Looking back I'd say the Native Americans did quite well for themselves.