In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Fowl Math For A Chicken-Based Health Care Economy

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Total U.S. health care costs in 2008: $2.3 trillion
US population: About 300 million
Average cost of health care per person: $7,681
Average weight of a chicken: 5.9 lbs
Market price per pound: 85 cents
Average spot price per chicken: $5.02
Average number of chickens per resident needed to cover health care costs: 1,530 chickens
Total number of chickens needed to cover United States health care costs: 459 billion chickens
Estimated worldwide chicken population: 16 billion chickens
Current worldwide chicken shortage to cover U.S. health care: 443 billion cluckers

Of course, it should be noted that chickens are only one of many commodities, and are thus only one component of a barter economy -- for example, Tennessee state Rep. Mike Bell (R) has referred to Mennonites paying for health care with vegetables. There are also the options of beef, pork, turkeys, sugar, metal ore, or even finished products like iPods or gasoline. What would really help here is if there were some kind of single, universally accepted commodity, which could be used as a medium of exchange for all the others...

(Hat tip to TPM reader EH, for inspiring us to look up the numbers and do all this math.)