You Can’t Solve A Debt Problem With More Debt

January 2, 2012 07:28

Some countries must choose between difficult and very bad, and others are faced with either disaster or calamity. Greece simply gets to choose what it wants to be the cause of a depression. Long and slow or fast and deep? Choose wisely. – Business Insider


John Mauldin, Thoughts From The Frontline| Dec. 31, 2011 via Business Insider




The economic travails of much of the West are reaching a decisive stage as the year ends.


Total debt-to-GDP levels in the 18 core countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) rose from 160 percent in 1980 to 321 percent in 2010. Disaggregated and adjusted for inflation, these numbers mean that the debt of nonfinancial corporations increased by 300 percent, the debt of governments increased by 425 percent, and the debt of private households increased by 600 percent. But the costs of the West’s aging populations are hidden in the official reporting.


Could the West simply start saving and paying back its debt? If too many debtors pursued this path at the same time, the ensuing reduction in consumption would lead to lower growth, higher unemployment, and correspondingly less income, making it more difficult for other debtors to save and pay back. This phenomenon, … can result in a deep and long recession, combined with falling prices (deflation).





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