That's the number of dollars the super rich have hidden in off shore tax havens, according to a recent report written by James Henry for the Tax Justice Network:
Mr Henry said his $21tn is actually a conservative figure and the true scale could be $32tn. A trillion is 1,000 billion.
Mr Henry used data from the Bank of International Settlements, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and national governments.
His study deals only with financial wealth deposited in bank and investment accounts, and not other assets such as property and yachts.
The report has generated some skepticism, given its sponsors. However, given what we know of the one percent, that number should not be surprising. More importantly:
The report highlights the impact on the balance sheets of 139 developing countries of money held in tax havens that is put beyond the reach of local tax authorities.
Mr Henry estimates that since the 1970s, the richest citizens of these 139 countries had amassed $7.3tn to $9.3tn of "unrecorded offshore wealth" by 2010.
Private wealth held offshore represents "a huge black hole in the world economy," Mr Henry said.
For more than thirty years, Conservatives have peddled the nostrum that if you give the wealthy a break -- a tax break -- they will use that extra money to create jobs. It would appear that they have squirrelled that extra money away in offshore accounts.
Milton Friedman sold world leaders the idea that tax breaks encouraged altruism among the wealthy. He also claimed that tax breaks encouraged "rational" behaviour. The truth was quite the opposite. And thousands of years of human history have simply confirmed a simple truth. The wealthy do not act out of altruism. Giving them a break simply encourages more greed.
Is it any wonder that our economy has collapsed and our eco-system is on the verge of collapse?