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Time Lapse Interactive Video Of Global Debt: 1870 - 2010

Tyler Durden's picture


Ever wanted to run a Sid Meyer Civilization end of game recap scenario on the world and see which country, region or continent had built up the most debt the fastest? Or, far simpler, just to watch a time lapse video of total debt/GDP by country or by region? The IMF now allows you to do both. The international monetary organization has released a Data Mapper tool which not only shows a snapshot map chart of instantaneous sovereign leverage at any given moment, but also shows just how global debt levels have changed through the ages. Of particular note is total debt/GDP at advanced countries in the post-WW1, Great Depression and WW2 period. And while back then the result was either hyperinflation (Weimar) or various stages of removal of the gold standard (until all currencies became freely floating under Nixon), we now no longer have the option of a relative devaluation, and the only chance left for a world levered to its gills is either absolute revaluation of a brick of gold, accelerating, rampant inflation or outright default. Have fun playing with the drilldown function.


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Mon, 02/07/2011 - 18:04 | Link to Comment Hephasteus
Hephasteus's picture

Wow it's true. Applying geometric debt equations to linearly accounted money creates a huge byproduct. Meaningless debt that can never be repaid. Just like 1/x can't ever derive to 1/x^2. What we need is zirp with geometric money. I want a 100*e^2 bill.

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 18:46 | Link to Comment CPL
CPL's picture

Is there an accuarial in the house?  Or theorectical mathetician with a focus in chaotic numbers?

Tue, 02/08/2011 - 01:13 | Link to Comment SilverIsKing
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Sorry for going OT on ya but what happened with this?  Was supposed to start today.

Tue, 02/08/2011 - 02:20 | Link to Comment TruthInSunshine
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We will all be Icelandic soon. Bank it like J. Paul Getty III's severed ear.

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 18:03 | Link to Comment jus_lite_reading
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Well, debt = wealth. Who knew?

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 18:05 | Link to Comment EscapeKey
EscapeKey's picture

This is only public debt, however. If private debts were included, they'd have to invent a new colour for the UK. "Brown" would be suitable.

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 18:06 | Link to Comment scratch_and_sniff
scratch_and_sniff's picture

skid-mark beige.

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 22:43 | Link to Comment Admiral Douchebag
Admiral Douchebag's picture

US private debt to GDP is 300%, which puts the "75% or more" category to shame.

Australia is in brown town too - private debt up around 150% of GDP, and most of it in housing through variable rate mortgages.


Mon, 02/07/2011 - 18:05 | Link to Comment scratch_and_sniff
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I often wonder what the world would be like if no one had ever borrowed anything.

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 18:47 | Link to Comment CPL
CPL's picture

Less people and people would have lived within their means?

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 18:10 | Link to Comment Segestan
Segestan's picture

Say good bye to the hapless third worlder. Because the cost of attempting to industrial humanity, sell democracy has cost the west into bankruptcy.The socialist have spent everything they could on a dream...Maybe the Libtards( Reds) can pick up the mantel??

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 20:08 | Link to Comment Dr. Sandi
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Damn that Comrade Nixon and his socialist lackies

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 18:15 | Link to Comment apberusdisvet
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someone secure our southern border ASAP

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 18:22 | Link to Comment In Fed We Trust
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get right on that.

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 18:25 | Link to Comment Careless Whisper
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the southern border is wide open while they strip searchin' your grandma at the airport.

looks like the vultures at the i.m.f. got lots of red meat to go after.

wonder why peru is doing so good;


Tue, 02/08/2011 - 01:00 | Link to Comment DoChenRollingBearing
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Cocaine is indeed Peru's scourge...

But, without US (and European) demand, the country would not be supplying.

Stop using cocaine, bitchez.

Tue, 02/08/2011 - 04:24 | Link to Comment Dr. Sandi
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Stop using cocaine, bitchez.

So that's what mama meant when she told me to keep my nose clean.

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 19:03 | Link to Comment johnQpublic
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'someone secure our southern border ASAP' of some chinese government type in 30 years ....

"Mr President, tear down that wall"

i'll take Reagan references for 200 Alex..


i'm long red ink...

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 23:47 | Link to Comment Drag Racer
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It is not the border that is the problem, it is the benefits. Remove the enventive and they will leave on thier own. 'They' don't want producers here any more. Hey, it worked for corps...

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 18:26 | Link to Comment Finite Supply
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Mad props for the Civilization reference. That high-speed replay end sequence was great for the ego.

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 18:34 | Link to Comment fast mover
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At least I could sell my barracks before a change of government...where's the Civ audio?

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 18:38 | Link to Comment Quinvarius
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Yeah.  But we got spaceflight first.  Suck it Aztecs!

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 19:23 | Link to Comment Rainman
Rainman's picture

This chart needs more color categories. Japan is 200%. The over fell into miscellaneous territory. God, why must they spin everything ??

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 19:27 | Link to Comment InconvenientCou...
InconvenientCounterParty's picture

Must be a bug in the SW somewhere. The transition from green to red takes awhile but the transition from red to green is instant in most cases. hmmm.


Mon, 02/07/2011 - 21:24 | Link to Comment snowball777
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Mon, 02/07/2011 - 21:31 | Link to Comment Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

Nice you popped up again. For lack of better context?

Tue, 02/08/2011 - 06:53 | Link to Comment Hephasteus
Hephasteus's picture

Suddenly NO DEBT.

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 19:30 | Link to Comment bullandbearwise
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Public debt is meaningless. The right metric is total credit market debt per sovereign currency.

The world still consists of sovereign states, right?

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 21:07 | Link to Comment CPL
CPL's picture

Only if debt determines sovereign placement...otherwise we are back at feudalism.  We fight on land ownership and the tithes that can be raised.  Basically any sovereignty was replaced a long time ago with the concept of "interests".  Just like the US is right now closing in on Egypt with two war ships and a couple platoons of soldiers.  In this situation, how is the sovereign interests of the independent country of Egypt being maintained?

It isn't.  What is being maintained is the "interests" of those that hold the debt.

Sovereignty and constitutions are in all cases, regardless of country, are written in pencil.  With a little rubbing of an eraser, that country with it's sovereign rights vanish instantly by the interests of the debt holders.

The people living there are a side effect of that accumulation of debt.  Now what you should be asking yourself is, do the debt holders own the people.  Like slaves.  By looking at the reactions of bond holders, sending in the marines to put their foot up people's asses is the solution.  If a couple of uppity slaves talk back, kill a couple and the rest fall in line.

Egypt is an interesting case study in how a rock and hard place happen.  What happens when the slaves revolt against each other, the control mechanism of the local army refuses to get involved to control the situation and a third party decides to intervene and meddle in another country's sovereign decision.

This isn't going to end well in the twenty or so chain reactions that can happen from it.  15 of the 20 end game options involve Israel dropping a nuke on someone. <sigh>  Which turns into another chain reaction of options.

Sovereignty is an odd thing.  It requires power to keep it, power to enforce it and the will to keep it.  Whoever gets to keep the power is up to the nation.

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 22:06 | Link to Comment bullandbearwise
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I don't think you need to extrapolate all sorts of end games to sovereignty. The effort here is to measure how much debt is created for a given sovereign currency. It's a simple math exercise that gives you an objective state of a currency. The political ramifications not as easily quantified or necessary.

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 22:23 | Link to Comment CPL
CPL's picture

True, but a currency is a reflection of the state of a nation's debt and by proxy the sovereignty the nation.  If someone owns most of your debt does it engratiate the country holding the debt to debt holder.

I think it does.

It's the primary reason for taxation.  The taxes are there to pay debt...with debt (how that works is still beyond me).

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 23:20 | Link to Comment bullandbearwise
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I suppose. Which is worse, going broke or giving up sovereignty? Would you rather have folks standing in food lines or working for Chindia?

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 23:27 | Link to Comment CPL
CPL's picture

I'm afraid that both options are the correct answers most days.

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 23:46 | Link to Comment bullandbearwise
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The way I see it, Republicans want the food lines and Democrats want to work for Chindia. Menawhile the Founding Fathers are rolling over...

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 20:33 | Link to Comment Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

Ok. Here it is Reduced population. Technology. Energy use. Education. Transportation.

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 21:07 | Link to Comment THE DORK OF CORK
THE DORK OF CORK's picture

Here we go with the "sovergin" debt meme again - thats not the problem if they are sovereigns which they are not as Governments if independent could decide to print debt free currency if they wish - only obeying previous obligations so that people would not get their knickers in a twist.

Within a decade or two most of this problem would be gone .

You've got to Love these Man from Uncle types - they would charge interest on a blowfly filled carcass if they could make it sovergin.

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 21:37 | Link to Comment jmc8888
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ROFL, great game...and yes I have wondered that...sort of (more of a  general theme amongst most/all economic games from Taipan on). That was a fun game for a 5 year old. Damn typhoons. (but no snow..sorry Ben)

Superpower 2 is probably the closest thing to this IMF data in a game. Maybe Rulers of Nations (newer)? But the graph (definitely Civ, but more reminiscent of the graphs and historgrams of Civ: Revolution title that was great, except for broken multiplayer).

Other good ones include; Aerobiz Supersonic, Global Agenda, Tycoon games, Wall Street trader games, Balance of Power, Sim games (i.e. Sim City, Sim Tower, etc), Conflict Middle East Political Simulator, Hidden Agenda, Crisis in the Kremlin, and probably the best for the time era bang for the buck......Shadow President. 

So thanks ZH for pointing this out.  Of course in the end it seemingly isn't telling me anything I  (all of us really) didn't already know, and like those games, doesn't indicate what the future of our situation is based on these numbers. (which I think was the point of ZH bringing it up).  It sure looks pretty though.

It's funny I used to think those games were a little off when I was kid.   Now(lack of a better word) I know it was probably recreating rather faithfully the idiocy, it was just a game built around well, bullshit.  Seemed close, which in monetary bizarro world seems to be sufficient as opposed to the reality of any situation.

The flaws inherent in them, replicated themselves (or vice versa) in the real gov't that also used a similar economic 'cracked' foundation.  Of course a game is a game, and real life is real life, but I think people can understand what I mean.

These games are games.  It's ok if they're off.  But our monetary masters game's (using similar flawed ideologies), are not games....even if off the record they ARE considered games.

So the real faux question is....who is better Ben Bernanke or some video game coder's work from 1989?  Is it sad that both are on the same level of being 'right'?  We know one is bullshit, too bad not the other as well.


Mon, 02/07/2011 - 22:15 | Link to Comment Atomizer
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Mon Feb 7, 2011 4:21pm EST

         FEB 07   FEB 04                 FEB 07   FEB 04

U.S.       1.55852  1.56350   IRANIAN     16107.30      N/A

EURO       1.14994  1.14702   KUWAIT       0.43467  0.43504

U.K.       0.96778  0.96997   NORWEGIAN    9.01388  8.95544

AUSTRALIA  1.53776  1.53495   S. AFRICAN   11.3304  11.3823

JAPANESE   128.157  127.550   SWEDISH      10.0758  10.0924

CANADIAN       N/A  1.54802   SWISS        1.49462  1.48298

DANISH     8.57236  8.55030   SAUDI        5.84447  5.86311


Figure out the scam

SDR Interest calculation

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 22:24 | Link to Comment Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

Symmetry. Keep the numbers coming.

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 22:20 | Link to Comment rlouis
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A simple default and the whole world can go green - just like Russia (did).

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 22:45 | Link to Comment JustPrintMoreDuh
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Watch out Zibabwe ... USA is gaining

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 23:33 | Link to Comment Buck Johnson
Buck Johnson's picture

The US is in big trouble, just like England and the Empire of Russia (also Italy) during their reign.  They where hot as hell (red) and was cooking up alot of debt then they started to fall in and what England did was to use the US as a debt dump and it's economy to help it out of a problem.  Russia essentially folded in and Italy did it also but more slowly.  These places became overextended and in so doing couldn't afford empire anymore.  We are going into this dark place and it will be nasty.  Also remember at the time most of those places besides Europe and the US weren't even emerging economies, they where just their to be exploited and these places still went down.

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 23:52 | Link to Comment Mr. Mandelbrot
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"absolute revaluation of a brick of gold"


Tyler is reading  

(the snowball is snowballing)


Tue, 02/08/2011 - 01:05 | Link to Comment DoChenRollingBearing
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Everybody should be reading FOFOA.

Tue, 02/08/2011 - 01:27 | Link to Comment redrob25
redrob25's picture

FOFOA wants fiat on top of gold.

FUCK THAT SHIT. It didn't work the first time, bitches.

Methinks FOFOA works for big banking.

Tue, 02/08/2011 - 06:56 | Link to Comment Hephasteus
Hephasteus's picture

Fiat works.

It's fractional reserving and compounding interest that is always and I mean ALWAYS at the heart of failure.

Tue, 02/08/2011 - 10:57 | Link to Comment snowball777
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Tue, 02/08/2011 - 06:37 | Link to Comment Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

now we know what the IMF gets up to. It's like join the dots and colour-in kiddies exercises only this is for adults with numerical difficiencies to 'picture' the debt... brilliant IMF brilliant!!

Tue, 02/08/2011 - 08:46 | Link to Comment wkwillis
wkwillis's picture

The Swiss do relative devaluation all the time. It's easy. You just pay negative interest on all loans from overseas.

Your balance of payments balances itself very quickly when you do that. Exports rise, imports fall, and the higher the negative interest you stick them for, the faster they get rid of your money in favor of theirs.

Switzerland isn't about to let their money be a reserve currency. That way lies unemployment and social chaos.

Not in Switzerland.

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