I’m going to state a couple of facts.
- Russian GDP in 2021 on an exchange rate basis was about 1.71 Trillion dollars
- Russian GDP in 2021 on a Purchasing Power Parity basis was about $2.6 Trillion dollars.
- Depending on how we do our calculations, Russia’s daily GDP is between $4.7 to $7.1 Billion
- Russia’s 2021 military budget was about $42 billion dollars for the year
Let’s keep that in mind when we look at the following viral tweet.
Given the previous facts, is $20 billion dollars per day even in the plausible realm of reality? That is 2 to 4 times daily Russian GDP or 50% of the annual defense budget.
Is that $20 billion per day estimate plausible?
I don’t think so.
UPDATE 1 The 20 billion in the original document was RUBLES not DOLLARS. The math then is extremely plausible. My apologies. I stand by the rest.
Everyone is looking for information. I am looking for information. Just be careful about what information and who is reporting and analyzing what.
- Look for people who have been thinking long and hard about particular problems for years or decades instead of a few hours, days or weeks on Google or Youtube.
- Look for people who aren’t routinely experts of the week on whatever is in the news
- Don’t look at pundits who are expected to be a mile wide and a millimeter deep.
- Look for people who have specific subject area expertise.
- Look for people who have gotten major questions right in the past.
- Look for people who are very well aware of the limits of their knowledge and can flag when they are switching from analysis to opinion.
- Look for people who are capable of saying “I don’t know” and “I was wrong about X for these reasons…”
- Look for people whose numbers are in the realm of plausibility.
This applies to the invasion of Ukraine.
This applies to COVID and public health measures.
This applies to almost everything.
Finding legitimate expertise is challenging. It is tough. The sudden spike of sustained public interest in a field that typically has a small cluster of practitioners and professionals speaking only with themselves to a massive opportunity space for grifters and cranks and enthusiastic amateurs (all non-mutually exclusive) to fill with incredible information and story telling.
Be careful about the information environment out there. It is ugly.