Thursday, 19 May 2011

Top 5 Sovereign Debts (by % of GDP)

Struggling with your home mortgage? Having a hard time paying off that last credit card bill? Or maybe that car loan is getting you financially bogged down. Well, you ain't got nothing on these 5 nations...

5. Greece



Like the US, Greece had a financial boom in the naughties but then crashed in 2009 and it's GDP has been falling since. Is this the reason for it's whopping 142.8% of GDP debt? Of course not. No this is an issue that has long been largely ignored by the respective Greek governments. Greece is a country rife with political and economical corruption so it is no surprise that they have done little to stem the rising tide of debt until they were recently faced with the possibility of defaulting on their loans. The International Monetary Fund agreed to bail them out in May 2010 provided they curb their spending .

4. Zimbabwe



The cause of Zimbabwe's 149% of GDP debt is simple: Robert Mugabe's mismanagement of the economy and the government budget. Mugabe was never particularly good with balancing the budget and when he started nationalizing Caucasian-run farms, the economy took a rapid downward spiral and hyperinflation took root which of course resulted in exponentially decreasing tax receipts (in terms of real value, as opposed to Zimbabwe dollars whose value is approaching zero faster than a Kenyan running down to the local KFC).

3.Lebanon



In third place is Lebanon with a debt that is 150.7% of its GDP. AS to the cause of it's debt, look no further than its war with Israel in 2006. Wars cost money, and this war was no different.

2.Saint Kitts and Nevis



Surprisingly in second place, with a debt of 185% of its GDP comes these two islands in the West Indies. Never heard of them? No? Neither have I.


1.Japan



 No surprises here. Japan's debt is 225.8% of it's GDP. How did it get so high?
Japan's debt is primarily demographically driven. Remember how Japan was an economic superpower back in the 80's? Everything remotely technological was made in Japan during that time. Well the generation of young Japanese entrepreneurs and power workers that fueled that boom have all grown old. Too old to pay their taxes. Instead of reacting to this by curbing their spending or raising taxes, the successive Japanese governments have resorted to borrowing more and more money. It is interesting to note that a lot of it comes from the US...


Speaking of the US... Did you think it would be on the list? I would have thought so. But in a material world like the one we live in, the US comes a lousy 36th when it comes to public debt. It only has a measly 58.9% debt as a % of GDP. Which means that it can realistically pay of it's debt unlike some countries...

My home country, Australia is 107th on the list which doesn't give me any relief in the slightest. A debt of 22.4% of our GDP is not going to be easy to pay off. Thanks a lot Kevin Rudd. Thanks for stimulating our debt with your little package.

Source: Wikipedia of course! all figures are from 2010

14 comments:

  1. Well i am only surprised that my country aint in top 5

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  2. Wow, Japan? I knew they were in debt but not THAT bad.

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  3. So...USA isn't in the most debt? Awesome!

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  4. Debt make the business world go around. Honestly, nowadays economy won't work without debts at all.

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  5. Damn... poor Japan. :( I'm also surprised that the U.S. isn't on the list. O_O

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  6. 14 trillion dollars in debt. Dunno if thats going to ever be paid off.

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  7. Debts are never paid, they are always rolled...

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  8. Wow, never knew Japan was that bad off lol. Great post as usual Gman!

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  9. Japan is number 1 while the US is only 36th? That's actually some rather surprising info. Great read, thanks.

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  10. AS long as it's under 40% it's ok by EU standards :]

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  11. Poor fucking Japan. Not even joking. Really sucks for them.

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  12. Wow, I'm surprised by Japan

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  13. seems like every country is in dept

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  14. wow, i knew greece had it bad! but not that bad

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