January 21 2010|08.51 AM UTC

Stan Reybern

The Global Problem of National Debt

Category: UncategorizedTags: , , ,

Although the United States’ economic woes remain the most commonly discussed since the great collapse of 2008, the U.S. Is far from the only country experiencing tough times. Here we take a look at how the U.S. stacks up against many other countries in a variety of different debt-related categories, as well as how the debt was accumulated in the first place. Some of the results may surprise you.

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The Global Problem of National Debt

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Red January 21, 2010 at 7:00 pm

there is a typo on this repeated twice… under What Is External Debt & What Is Public Debt


shouldn’t this be internally?


LeanPocket January 21, 2010 at 8:33 pm

Sources please


BobG January 21, 2010 at 8:46 pm

The graphic is inconsistent at best.

Public debt > External debt, UK has external debt of 365% of GDP, but largest debtor, Zimbabwe, has public debt of 265% of GDP???

US has -$706 TRILLION balance??? No possible. That’s over 10 times all the money in the world.


Chris January 21, 2010 at 8:58 pm

New Zealand is missing from that map.


rupert January 21, 2010 at 9:17 pm

when did you think that using different colours for the corresponding colour and the the colour of the font in the legend for the pie chart was a good idea? its very confusing.


Jeff January 21, 2010 at 9:43 pm

Sorry, I had a few beers tonight and economics is not one of my strong points but is this saying that the US’s debt is over 99% internal?


spellnazi January 21, 2010 at 9:53 pm

spelled internally wrong… twice


Cory January 22, 2010 at 2:01 am

Ok. I agree. This is poorly put together and very confusing in places. There is consistency in neither spelling nor numerical values given. I can’t help but wonder if this was birthed in a board meeting.


TonyS January 22, 2010 at 5:44 am

at first I was like…what no way. Then I found the info on the cia world factbook…which is cited in the picture in the lower left hand corner.
How the heck do we have an account balance of -706 trillion dollars??
Link for account balance: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2187rank.html
Link for gdp, external debt, public debt:


Tonys January 22, 2010 at 6:08 am

Per cia world fact book we are dead last in account balance but its -706 billion not trillion…that combined with the other issues mentioned above make this chart fairly unreliable…maybe they should proof read??


Mike January 22, 2010 at 6:19 am

How do you put Tasmania on a map without putting on New Zealand. Yanks are constantly rewriting history now they are redoing all the maps…


chewbie January 22, 2010 at 7:18 am

what do you mean by “monetary authorities” ?

when the debts are due are they actually payed via abstracting funds or is there money “printed” out of nothing to cover the costs?


Jon January 22, 2010 at 5:32 pm

BobG – That says -$706 billion, not trillion.


Troika37 January 23, 2010 at 8:00 am

Comment by BobG — January 21, 2010 @ 8:46 pm

No BobG, that’s Billion, not Trillion.



Jason Doege January 23, 2010 at 12:56 pm

So, Billion might mean something different to a Limey than a Yank. “Billion” in the Queen’s English often (though not always) means “Trillion” in American English. So, if you follow the convention that “Billion” mean a million millions, know that in the CIA factbook, a “Billion” means a thousand millions.


Hans Kohler January 23, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Nice Graph. And I’m sorry to say that, but someone did a lousy job.
Comparing debt with GPD is nothing more than a tool of manipulation, trying to whitewash the real numbers.
Would you dare to ask your bank for a loan presenting your personal debt-to-GDP ratio?


Croaker January 24, 2010 at 1:53 pm

“Would you dare to ask your bank for a loan presenting your personal debt-to-GDP ratio?”

Considering that your existing debts and your annual income are some of the first things a bank looks at when you ask for a loan, I’d say, of COURSE I’d expect my bank to look at those numbers. After all, they’re a key component in knowing whether or not I’ll be able to pay back what I’m asking them for.

This is exactly the kind of comparison that people need to see and understand before letting themselves get panicked by doomsayers like you, Hans.


Hans Kohler January 26, 2010 at 2:28 pm

“… After all, they’re a key component in knowing whether or not I’ll be able to pay back what I’m asking them for. …”

A debt-to-GDP (or debt-to-income) ratio doesn’t tell you enough about risks, or the ability to pay back without getting another loan.

So, tell me Croaker, will the Americans ever be able to pay back their debts? What would a reasonable time frame be, and how exactly would you propose doing that?


Ursandy January 26, 2010 at 2:54 pm

The funny thing is that no yank can ever believe that their country is one of the worst moneylenders of all.

They will do anything to try to distract from this fact, by pointing to faults in this article (it is, but the main principles are correct) and attack the author. Rather pathetic.

I’ve also commented on the insanely high gun crime in the country, but every American must puke out some random garbage about the author or other countries, to look good.

Of course, since it’s one of the bigger countries, things can be done in a proper, ballsy way: pay off debt, reduce gun crime by stopping 15-year-olds from buying automatic weapons. Blurring the facts won’t work forever.

You are now free to flame with random (pathetic) insults.


Sean January 27, 2010 at 5:40 am

Part of the issue is there are 3 missing 0s on all the numbers on the external debt tab, which I think is not helping on the confusion of comparing those numbers to the numbers below.


Anonymous September 12, 2010 at 8:59 pm

New Zealand actually is on the map, you losers. Learn geography.


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