When you think of the most indebted countries, who do you think of? You probably think of African countries such as Ethiopia, Malawi or Chad.
Those countries are all on the IMF’s list of heavily indebted countries, all places that are struggling under a heavy burden of public debt.
If you add personal and public debt together, both government loans and private loans, credit card debts and mortgages, the results are a little different. The total amount owed to parties outside the country is called ‘external debt’. The top ten most indebted countries in the world by external debt looks like this:
- United States – $13,703,567 million
- United Kingdom – $10,450,ooo
- Germany – $4,489,000
- France – $4,396,000
- Netherlands – $2,277,000
- Ireland – $1,841,000
- Japan – $1,492,000
- Switzerland – $1,340,000
- Belgium – $1,313,ooo
- Spain – $1,313,000
As the government regularly tells us, it’s not the amount of debt that’s important, but the ability to pay. It does tell us something about our wealth however – it is created out of debt. For that wealth to continue or to grow, we will need to take on more debt, as we’ve seen repeatedly over the last few months. (the figures above are October 08 and out of date already)
Does that sound like a sustainable way to run an economy?
PS – I have had to close comments on this post, as it was being spammed by debt management websites – sorry!