October 17, 2011
By now everyone has had a chance to play with the US debt clock. But what about its global cousin? Courtesy of The Economist, we now have a convenient way to track the hundreds of millions in dollars added each and every hour by the global governments who see to spur global deleveraging by, you guessed it, adding more debt. Yes, in the process the world’s sovereigns are transferring default risk away from global corporations to sovereigns, but few in the #OWS crowd appear to have yet figured out this rather disturbing and very insidious usurpation of sovereignty by the global corporatocracy, so said risk and leverage transfer will continue until such time as any and all paper backed by these insolvent corporate shells (f/k/a countries) is completely worthless. Regardless, one should not forget that like in the sandalone case, the “debt clock” below only tracks on balance sheet debt. Should one add the NPV of all “welfare state” obligations (pensions, retirement, healthcare), the number will be well over quarter of a quadrillion dollars. Have fun funding that, never mind paying it off…
From the Economist:
The clock is ticking. Every second, it seems, someone in the world takes on more debt. The idea of a debt clock for an individual nation is familiar to anyone who has been to Times Square in New York, where the American public shortfall is revealed. Our clock shows the global figure for all (or almost all) government debts in dollar terms.
Does it matter? After all, world governments owe the money to their own citizens, not to the Martians. But the rising total is important for two reasons. First, when debt rises faster than economic output (as it has been doing in recent years), higher government debt implies more state interference in the economy and higher taxes in the future. Second, debt must be rolled over at regular intervals. This creates a recurring popularity test for individual governments, rather as reality TV show contestants face a public phone vote every week. Fail that vote, as the Greek government did in early 2010, and the country can be plunged into imminent crisis. So the higher the global government debt total, the greater the risk of fiscal crisis, and the bigger the economic impact such crises will have.
This article was posted: Monday, October 17, 2011 at 3:34 am