The United Nations of Debt


Saturday August 15th, 2015   •   Posted by Craig Eyermann at 11:32am PST   •  

Jeff Desjardins of Visual Capitalist has created a unique visualization of how the world’s nearly $60 trillion of money borrowed by various governments, at all levels, is distributed among the world’s nations:

world-debt-60-trillion-infographic

Desjardins describes some of the bigger numbers and where they came from:

Today’s visualization breaks down $59.7 trillion of world debt by country, as well as highlighting each country’s debt-to-GDP ratio using colour. The data comes from the IMF and only covers public government debt. It excludes the debt of country’s citizens and businesses, as well as unfunded liabilities which are not yet technically incurred yet. All figures are based on USD.

The numbers that stand out the most, especially when comparing to the previous world economy graphic:

  • The United States constitutes 23.3% of the world economy but 29.1% of world debt. It’s debt-to-GDP ratio is 103.4% using IMF figures.
  • Japan makes up only 6.18% of total economic production, but has amounted 19.99% of global debt.
    China, the world’s second largest economy (and largest by other measures), accounts for 13.9% of production. They only have 6.25% of world debt and a debt-to-GDP ratio of 39.4%.
  • 7 of the 15 countries with the most total debt are European. Together, excluding Russia, the European continent holds over 26% of total world debt.

Combining the debt of the United States, Japan, and Europe together accounts for 75% of total global debt.

In February 2015, the McKinsey Global Institute reported that in the seven years from the end of the fourth quarter of 2007 to the end of the second quarter of 2014, the amount of debt accumulated by the world’s various governments increased by $25 trillion. Or rather, of all the public debt owed in the world today, around 42 percent of it has been borrowed in just the last seven years.

What could possibly go wrong?




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