Most of the time, when economists or Wall Streeters present a continuum of who's worst (or best) in the world, they show just a part of the whole: whether it is total sovereign (public) bonds, total corporate bonds, securitized or non-securitized bank loans, or in some cases, equities, as a percentage of the host nation's economic output, or GDP. The reality is that all these are merely a part of the greater whole, and showing one independent of the others tells at best a small part of the story. For the full picture one always needs to show how all these add up combined to get what in corporate finance is known as "enterprise value", and what in economics McKinsey has dubbed "financial depth" or the value of the world's financial assets relative to GDP. It is here that it is clearest and most visible just how extensive the "bubblification" of the US capital markets - both debt and equity - has been, even despite the relative drop in consolidated "financial depth" in the past five years.
In short: think US is the biggest financial bubble in the world? You are right.
And for those who say there is still a long way to go before the global bubble - the consolidated global bubble, including equity and debt, is reflated back to 2007 levels, guess again - we are now at a new all time high of "financial depth."
Finally, while everyone is bombarded every single day with news that the global stock market is back to "all time highs", what virtually nobody knows is that when expressed as a percentage of global GDP, which in turn is driven entirely by new debt creation mostly by central banks, global equities as a % of global GDP are now 40% lower than their previous high achieved back in 2007!
Those who are familiar with the simplest concept in all of finance - Enterprise Value - will understand why in an environment of imploding free cash flow such as the current one, this is bad to quite bad.