"Santa could be carrying up to $44 billion of help for the economy in his sack this year," according to Dr. Benjamin Akande, economist and dean of the School of Business and Technology at Webster University in St. Louis, Mo. Each year, Dr. Akande and the faculty at Webster work up some numbers for Santa's travels to determine just how the Big Guy will make it to everyone on the good list in just one night.
But this year, with the economy in a shambles, the economists looked into what Santa could bring to the world if he stuffed stockings with gift cards. "If Santa is carrying gift cards this Christmas he could really help the economy," said Dr. Akande. "Just $10 could mean billions."
That's due to the multiplier effect of the money, according to Akande. If 2.2 billion stockings receive the $10 card, and spend it, that money could potentially double as stores spend it to restock inventory, pay staff or make store improvements. Santa will in effect help stimulate the world economy to the amount of $44 billion. "In a better economy, the multiplier could bring us much more," said Dr. Akande. "But this year's financial situation means we won't get as much bang for Santa's buck."
Other numbers Dr. Akande and his faculty at Webster's School of Business and Technology considered was the time Santa has to make his deliveries. For example, given a world population of 6.7 billion, 1.23 billion households, and assuming that Santa delivers to everyone regardless of their religion or their location around the world, and if there is an average number of 3.5 children per household, then Santa will deliver gifts to a total of 2.2 billion children worldwide.
Assuming that Santa travels east to west, he will have 31 hours to complete the job, thanks to the different time zones he will need to navigate. This amounts to 11,022 visits per second. Santa has 1/11,000th of a second to park his solar-powered sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings with gift cards, eat cookies, drink milk, get back up the chimney, and then head off to his next delivery.
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