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"We Are Number One!", Or Why At Least Broke Greece Is Not America

Tyler Durden's picture


A rather curious phenomenon that has been observed in the popular press lately is that on those rare occasions when total global public debt is demonstrated correctly on a country by country basis, i.e., including contingent liabilities, as well as various trans-national, public-sector backed guarantees (such as EFSF backstops), and most importantly the Net Present Value of pensions and healthcare, or the cost of the welfare state expressed in current dollars, there is one country that is  systematically excluded. That would be the United States. Today we set the record straight by adding the US to the list where it rightfully belongs, and also answer the rhetorical question of why the US just so happens to be consistently omitted from such column-chart based, hair-raising classifications. Simply said, it is quite clear why the now defaulted Hellenic Republic could and should be forgiven in saying that “at least Greece is not America…”

Keep in mind this is purely a documentation of public debt in its broader definition. When one adds private financial and household debt, things get truly hilarious, as seen on the following chart also from Morgan Stanley (which unfortunately excludes such critical components of public debt as contingent and NPV of pension and healthcare) which shows why the UK, with its 950% global consolidated debt/GDP, is quite fond of infinite rehypothecation, or the iterational “fractional reserve” creation of credit money from one asset (most likely robo-signed away to someone, unclear quite who: just ask Jon Corzine how fiat money can evaporate when one tries to match it with the “asset” that spawned it), as many times as necessary to pay those record banker bonuses.

Incidentally, the reason why the US is again mysteriously underrepresented from this chart is not only due to ignoring the elephant in the room, or NPVed welfare costs, but because for a proper apples to apples comparison basis on total, consolidated cross-sector debt, one would have to also account for all the shadow banking system debt, a number and concept which modern monetary theory still refuses to acknowledge, which was the primary source of thoroughly unregulated and deposit-free credit expansion in the US in the past 20 years,  and which per Citi estimates from several years ago based on total assets held by custodial banks, would be well over double the US GDP alone!


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Sun, 04/29/2012 - 03:04 | 2383248 Fips_OnTheSpot
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Waiting for the day when 'reserve currency' becomes 'reverse currency' .. wait a minute... :D

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 03:33 | 2383262 Rahm
Rahm's picture




Sun, 04/29/2012 - 08:25 | 2383439 peekcrackers
peekcrackers's picture

LOL plus 1

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 08:50 | 2383450 Harlequin001
Harlequin001's picture

I don't see the problem. All the US has to do is to raise the qualification for healthcare for Americans (like introducing a requirement for a third leg or twelve fingers for example) and as if by magic, no unfunded healthcare costs...

Whereas Greece is totally screwed since it can't do anything about it's excessive government debt.

And there you go, Greece is not America...

Fixed it for ya.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 09:36 | 2383489 GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture



The Greeks can gloat all they want but they're still not Icelanders.


Sun, 04/29/2012 - 10:30 | 2383535 Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill's picture


With real GDP growth of 0.08%,using the correct deflator.

Actual debt at 101% with interst at 3%.

Greece squared(or phucked).

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 11:01 | 2383570 Stuck on Zero
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As far as I can see Greece is further ahead than the U.S. and others in getting it's economy straghtened out i.e. defaulted.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 11:27 | 2383583 AssFire
AssFire's picture

Greece is not saddled with the "reward the most horrible people" system. The system many find that their destruction of "Little Whitey's" wealth via state-supported negritude does not bring the desired result of reducing Whitey to a pack of fearful and compliant serfs, but instead produces a substantial stratum of competent, responsible, organized and totally alienated people with a fervent desire to see the system crash. With the policies of the USan regime growing ever more brazen in their overt expressions of contempt and ice-cold, calculated hatred for Whitey, multitudes are daily adopting this attitude.

Whites need to start thinking in 'Atlas Shrugged' terms. The game most are attempting to play - described so well by Paul Kersey's above article of working like hapless galley slaves to foot the bill for BRA - is simply not winnable as long as we play by the slave power's rules. Stop playing by their rules and stop paying for your own destruction. The sooner the system collapses - the better.

Stop thinking that the R-jerseys of the single ruling party are on your side. They are most assuredly not. The sole purpose of the Repuke party (known to its admirers as the Gay Old Pedophiles) is to deflect money and energy away from any genuine opposition to the system described above. The black flag must be raised - it is the only banner under which we have a chance at survival.


Sun, 04/29/2012 - 15:22 | 2383818 Stack Trace
Stack Trace's picture is greedy "Whities" hiring the slave-wage "Brownies." Look at all the off-shoring, importing of brown skinned labor, etc. Those are "Whities" doing those things.

Slavery is alive and well. The problem is most of the "Whities" are also slaves and just as incapable of organizing and fighitng back as the "Brownies." How about we throw out the whole skins thing and focus on the real problems.... massive inequality and institutions bent on keeping 99.9% of the population enslaved.

Anyway, I don't normally write in these terms but I figured if I stooped down to your level you might understand.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 21:49 | 2384170 AssFire
AssFire's picture

You "stooped down" only after stealing my money for years.\ what level do you expect?

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 14:25 | 2383659 francis_sawyer
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Forget that... Let's look at this from a mathematical or scientific perspective...


"We're #1"

- If PISS = #1

- & if SHIT = #2

Well... I'd basically say that... "We ain't shit"...

Conclusion: we're NOT #2

"We're #1"!

There... fixed it...


EDIT: I guess that 'pissed' someone off...

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 16:00 | 2383843 Whiner
Whiner's picture

Scatological, Bitchez! Bullish!

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 09:19 | 2383474 Fox-Scully
Fox-Scully's picture

USA! USA! USA!  oops wrong game.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 13:12 | 2383694 vast-dom
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       US Military Expenditures > Greek Military Expenditures

US Penis Enlargement Expenditures < Greek Penis Enlargement Expenditures



Sun, 04/29/2012 - 09:02 | 2383461 evolutionx
evolutionx's picture

Learn from the ECB!


ECB accepts Portugal Bonds due Dec. 31, 9999

No joke: the European Central Bank accepts a Portuguese bond from the year 1943 as collateral due for repayment on Dec. 31, 9999. The ECB has turned into the dumping ground for European banks' junk bonds. The practice could harm the central bank's reputation as well as the Euro. The ECB issues Euros for almost everything.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 03:12 | 2383251 barliman
barliman's picture


That's odd ...

... no matter how you look at these charts and try to analyze the individual sources contributing to each bar, in the end, they are really just dominoes - stood side by side and waiting for the slightest shock to send them falling against one another.

I wonder how long till this proves to be the case?

Soon, I think.


Sun, 04/29/2012 - 10:44 | 2383552 TheSilverJournal
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The dominoes fall when inflation pops the bond bubble. As long as more can be printed and bond yields can continue to be lowered, the ponzi will stay intact. But at some point, so much printing has to occur that negative real rate of interest will grow so absurd and then counterfeiting of gold fiat ponzi scam will be over.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 11:30 | 2383596 economics9698
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Yep, I second that.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 12:29 | 2383650 TheSilverJournal
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That inflection point may have just been crossed. Real rates are already negative (even when taking the governments considerably kind to inflation numbers) . And with all of the bad data lately, the market still hasn't sold off. After all, if you sell something, you have to buy cash or, according to the market, the move out of stocks or commodities to buy bonds because of the faltering economy might just not happen.

That's not to say that rates can't go lower. The Fed can print an infinite amount and literally put rates wherever it wants. What it does mean is that commodities and equities are set to soar. The money always has to flow somewhere.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 03:23 | 2383254 fourchan
fourchan's picture

5 more years of obama should tip the scales.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 03:45 | 2383268 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

And why not go Kim Jong Obama on America after his second term?
President For Life!

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 09:24 | 2383482 Red Raspberry
Red Raspberry's picture

Obamney 2012!!

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 17:24 | 2383921 upWising
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Once upon a time, when the Great State of Utah was going to execute you, you got a choice.  A State Official would come into your cell and ask if you preferred to be shot or hanged.  [Urban Legend is that one condemned man opted for the option that cost the Great State of Utah the most money.]

Kim Jong Mitt or Kim Jong Bark.  Shot or hanged.  Result is indistinguishable.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 03:27 | 2383259 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

Graph is from 2010... Debt is up 3 trillion since than..

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 03:51 | 2383269 Triple A
Triple A's picture

if the UK financials are so bad why do i not here more about them?

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 04:54 | 2383291 hooligan2009
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The UK is a global banking centre with most non-UK global banks representing their headquarters in London. There are a few UK banks left, but they are either under UK Government ownership (like RBS c.80% and Lloyds c. 40%) or aren't predominantly UK banks at all (HSBC) or are the UK equivalent of Goldman Sachs (Barclays). Each of the major US, German, French, Italian, Japanese banks' liabilities are represented in these charts as being claims on the UK, which of course they are not. The amount of assets in custody of $30 tn five years ago or so is interesting. As is the amount of these assets that custodians lend out to finance the Government debt of bankrupt Governments like the US, UK, Japan and France. I think we all should pay attention to the welfare state of Germany also. These unaccounted for liabilities in welfare spending are at least double that of the US and no-one is talking about those either.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 05:59 | 2383343 Debtman And Robbin
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I don't think the UK is a global banking centre. 

But I think the City of London is.

That would be a huge difference.


And I don't think that German welfare liabilities are double that of the US. Even if, the Germans might be diligent enough to cope with that. At least they produce some useful stuff.

These charts are misleading as long as you don't know which liabilities are included. What about GSE liabilities? Actually, without more information, e.g. on the maturity structure of welfare liabilities, these charts provide a shit.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 15:22 | 2383819 Sandmann
Sandmann's picture

If German GDP is lower than US GDP and 80 million Germans do not have more Assets than 313 million Americans it is hard to see how a nation with $3 Trillion GDP can have higher welfare liabilities than a $14 Trillion economy unless Americans have medical and retirement provision at levels of Chinese peasants

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 06:38 | 2383367 Marco
Marco's picture

Bank liabilities are not a claim on a country? Tell that to the Irish ...

Iceland is the outlier, only a single moral person in an important position managed to steer them clear of the position TPTB wanted them in ... most countries won't be so lucky.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 06:50 | 2383372 hooligan2009
hooligan2009's picture

they arent and never have been..ask the icelanders and ecuadoreans..the irish ploy of guaranteeing banks is somewhat akin to you or i guaranteeing student loans...

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 07:38 | 2383404 Marco
Marco's picture

And how close did the Icelandic government get to taking over the burden of the banks? TPTB have their claws deep ... in principal it's not a claim on a country, in practice it is. No more debt will be allowed to repudiated as we march on to neo-feudalism, it's only a matter of time before debt becomes completely hereditary again as well.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 09:08 | 2383466 cossack55
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"Go tell it to the Icelanders"

            King Leonidas the Frozen

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 15:12 | 2383811 Sandmann
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In an Island Tax Haven controlled by the powerful Corporation of The City of London whose Officer - The City Remembrancer - sits behind the Speaker in The House of Commons to ensure compliance and where Shriti Vadera of UBS is key Adviser to Gordon Brown and his Secrtary Sue Nye is the wife of Gavin Davies, former Partner of Goldman Sachs, and where  Goldman Sachs had enjoyed inside-track access to the Treasury for the Labour era - it was very hard to imagine the British State telling banks to renege on foreign derivatives exposure. In fact it would have been healthier for Britain to have done a Super Lehman and legislated to seize control of domestic banks under Civil Contingencies Act 2004 and let the banks default on international obligations - but The Corporation would simply not permit it - and The Corporation has the power









Sun, 04/29/2012 - 15:27 | 2383822 Sandmann
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I do worry hooligan2009 that you have no idea what you are talking about

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 15:55 | 2383840 TheGardener
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Nor do I and I have been watching British scheming for decades, it just eludes me how they always got away with it by their design ...

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 16:19 | 2383852 GeneMarchbanks
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For one, the story has stayed mostly hidden from the public. Especially the US public, which isn't exactly the most intellectually curious. Since the hyper-hypothecation article (also MFG) last year it has finally surfaced as the final frontier. Don't expect much in way of coverage and scandal, the confrontation never arrives since every single 'adversary' would rather try to gain in its influence rather than expose or potentially subvert the operation.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 11:23 | 2383590 Absinthe Minded
Absinthe Minded's picture

The UK is global banking centre because they have no rehypothecation rules. Long live the Ponzi !!!

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 04:45 | 2383301 Sandmann
Sandmann's picture

Why would you ? It is THE major global financial centre - Bankers are not going to piss on themselves. If they attack London they expose the Root Cause of the whole disaster. They don't make money shorting themselves - they make money by squeezing sovereign states in Greenmail through Bond Trading and Derivatives.  When Thatcher allowed Arab terrorists to make London their Headquarters the deal was they don't foul the nest and keep terrorism out of London. It is the same with Banks. If they attacked their main base where would they go ? There is nowhere on earth as hospitable for Banks as London - they pay no Taxes, their Staff pay no taxes, and they get English public schools like Eton and Marlborough for their children.........go look at Non-Dom deals. They have a captive Government which does NOt prosecute, a tame regulator in FSA, and no other country would want to be as exposed in Balance Sheet terms as the Offshore Island -


Britain is simply Jersey magnified

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 07:10 | 2383386 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

excellent comments - got to look up the Tatcher reference

there is nowhere on Earth a place as hospitable as the "Square Mile" for banks: witness infinite rehypothecation

and of course you have to remember that the force is strong in the City of London, witness the arrival and reception of The Murdoch at Westminster (music video here), with MPs grovelling at his feet, hilariously happy to be chided affectionately by The Great Old Man in what were supposed to be parliamentary hearings in a sordid tale of blackmail, wiretapping and assorted criminal activities in the media/political intersection.

The FT and others are also furiously explaining that he was just very polite to meet every seriously important politician on Bog Island without ever addressing how or how much they want to be friendly.

Which in a twisted way it could be even true: young politician meets The Murdoch, all the newsies of the globe notice it and that's it folks, spontaneous sychophant forces are applied: "this is the young future, we got to give this person lots of positive coverage and friendly spin, I mean, he was allowed in His Presence, this is the Mark of Greatness". Reapply for a short boost like Cameron did - visiting The Murdoch on his yacht for added intimacy - he can't kneel to His Presence in public, can he? Not yet.

Note that Bilderberg (though a lesser Nexus compared to The Murdoch) works on a similar principle: You have been Noticed, please have a friendly, open chat with us so that we might know you better (note the open discussion club rules and how the minutes don't mention who said something, only what has been said). That's it. Reporters don't need detailed instructions, just a wink.

All Hail the Global Fourth Estate and The Murdoch. All Hail the Bank Cabal and the Holy Vampire Squid.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 08:33 | 2383445 GMadScientist
GMadScientist's picture

I hope that asshole dies screaming riddled with bone cancer.


Sun, 04/29/2012 - 15:04 | 2383805 TheGardener
TheGardener's picture

In praise of you Ghordius and Sandmann`s comments I may add, The Murdouch is an old school robber baron, most fellow
robbers of this former Australian being either dead or jailbirds.

Great scams though they pulled off in the 20th century just as if it were the 18hundreds, down under means behind and ahead at the same time in a wicked sense.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 08:30 | 2383443 GMadScientist
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"if the UK financials are so bad why do i not here [sic] more about them?"

Because they have their own currency.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 10:50 | 2383561 Matt
Matt's picture

+1 as surrogate for above.

Starting post with italics blocks arrows.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 03:52 | 2383270 dogismyth
dogismyth's picture

It really doesn't matter what the graphs represent, nor does it matter what the debt is.  The monetary system is merely a tool to transfer more and more power and control to those destined to be rulers over the people.  It really has nothing to do with money.  All debt could be forgiven worldwide regardless of who owes what.  And how would that change the world?  And how would we start anew?  That's the freshest virtual reality I can think of.  What we are experiencing is utter nonsense and depravity of our evolution.  There are enough intelligent people to pick up pieces to rebuild a better tomorrow.  Pray the system crashes and the generational leaders and inbred family members are neutralized.  That's the only real hope for your progeny. 

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 10:23 | 2383532 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

I'd like to change their destiny

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 03:55 | 2383272 l1b3rty
l1b3rty's picture

let's not forget about the shadow military and intelligence spending, or the black budget. The US funds today not only the world's lending system via WB, IMF, etc., but also its modern NKVD.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 10:03 | 2383509 RiverRoad
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And we'll blow anybody away who disses our dollar.  sarc/

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 04:25 | 2383283 Clashfan
Clashfan's picture

Hate and War, the only thing we are today.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 04:24 | 2383284 Peter Pan
Peter Pan's picture

The message of these graphs is simple. We have overspent in the past and our expectations from the future outweigh the means. In other words we are stuffed in both directions.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 04:27 | 2383289 falak pema
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Being Caesar's country, being lead player and most creative innovator whose legions ARE the armies of the Global Corpocracy, aka Apple, Google, Facebook, Walmart, Banksta cabal, MIC and Foodocracy, does imply that there is a downside which is the hidden face of the Empire. All Empires have their Liabilities otherwise they wouldn't be empires! 

And the ongoing game of this Empire is to keep running ahead of the wave of "barbarian" revolt, that the current NWO calls "world terrorist order"; as it has morphed over time, whether it be Evil Empire of USSR, or clash of civilization Al-Qaeda, or rising serpent of CHindia. 

Thieves always fall out and EMpires aways die for the same reason; they implode from inside under the weight of their own people's expectations and their inablity to satisfy them, all the while they rape the world for their hubristic ambitions as an elitist structure. No legions, no Empire. Today this EMpire, as it loses it own home population's support by projecting economic misery on them,  will continue to subcontract its needs to foreign mercenaries, whether they be FOxconn armies of slave labour or CIA/Blackwater recruited spear carriers on all five continents, fighting to defending the EMpire's far frontiers.

Drone technology will help but is a two edged sword as 9/11 showed. Boots on the ground presence has to stay the final answer wherever the "barbarans" get restless. Costly, very costly...and law of diminishing returns if the Empire is intransigeant and stays hostile to local needs. Playing at "end justifies the means" is a hundred headed hydra that comes back to bite you. 

MIC/Industry mercenary labour means that the core structure of the Empire hollows out; as the mercenaries only fight for money NOT Empire ideology. That is the beginning of the end. Just read history.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 05:21 | 2383323 IBelieveInMagic
IBelieveInMagic's picture

Good points, Falak. Unfortunately, with agricultural productivity making employment of 95% of population redundant in agriculture, societies have had to create all this make-work to provide grounds for consumption by the 95% (useless eaters) and appearance of employment (of course some of it has enriched life).

Also, the global trade evolved such that US and OECD countries primary function is to keep, on one hand, the resource countries producing at an unsustainable level (with military encouragement) and on the other hand, the commodity deficit but hugely populous countries employed in producing the junk that we consume in exchange for some of the commodities for their own consumption that is being "ensured" by the US/OECD. Trying to cut out the US/OECD from the middleman role by the other parties will result in war as US/OECD's entitled population will suddenly be faced with lowered living standards which they will not tolerate. The threat of this war is what is keeping all the parties still trying to make the current system working while attempting to make changes at the margin.  But, it takes only one significant player to defect from this game for the whole global arrangement to fall apart. We are at 11:59.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 07:54 | 2383413 Marco
Marco's picture

Just curious, do you have a solution?

Consumption creates demand as well ... if not for servicing the useless eaters even most engineers and technicians would be useless eaters themselves and automation won't stop. In the end we will all become useless eaters.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 10:40 | 2383548 IBelieveInMagic
IBelieveInMagic's picture

I am not making a judgemental statement, just an observation. The use of the term "useless eaters" is just for effect...

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 12:48 | 2383673 Caviar Emptor
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You're right about the middleman role for OECD (US). That was the theme of latter-half 20th century global politics. It went into deep off-road territory once the US decided that being middleman for real goods was no longer necessary (sooo British Empire) and it was cooler, convenient and quick-profitable to become a "service-economy" middleman aka export the skill of glorified bean counting and explode the growth of global financialization (of everything including the 3d derivative of the sum of all future global production of anything real). 

It's now a high-wire act to justify the existence of an empire of nothing, lead by an emperor with invisible new clothes. If the world loses all of its virtual beans (all of the 1s and 0s contained in the server in the basement of the Fed), if they all vaporized overnight, then what are the consequences really? A headache for a day or a week? The truth that they don't want us all to know is that if all of that virtual money disappeared overnight, the world would wake up refreshed and ready for a new day without shackles. It would all vanish into the annals of very obscure and marginal history like a bad dream that is quickly forgotten as people move on. 

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 04:40 | 2383293 Sandmann
Sandmann's picture

It is bemusing that the UK with its huge Offshore Banking Empire run from The Corporation of The City of London has saddled the UK Taxpayer and Citizenry with an Unlimited Obligation to Backstop these Offshore Loans yet is starving its domestic economy of credit and imposing huge tax increases on the Plebs whilst cutting tax rates for London Bankers (most people paying 50% tax rate are in London) from 50% to 45%.

The Cameron-Clegg-Osborne Clique is a Banker-funded grouping which has basically seen the Offshore Banking Sector take over the domestic economy and seek to reduce the support costs of The City by cutting back the cost base of the population and facilitating lower tax revenues from the Banking Sector to the Exchequer over coming years as Deferred Tax Credits kick in in a major way. Having churned the real economic base - utilities, schools, hospitals, FTSE corporates - through PFI and Trade Sales to foreign entitiies - Britain now has its electricity supplies owned by the French Government and its airports part owned by the Singapore and Dubai Governments and is trying to sell RBS to Qatar.

The Ruling Elite is basically a sposored Administration working for the Offshore Banking Clique created by the Bank of England after 1955 to operate a "State within a State" through the Conservative Party. It is only different from Greece in that the Bankers already have their Government because The City is The Offfshore Banking Shadow Government.  Britain is simply an Island with a Financial Island in London - rather like The Vatican State - though far older - it is part of London yet separate from London and superior to Parliament with a rigged election system made more undemocratic by Tony Blair with Corporations have more weighted votes than the 9000 human voters.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 05:43 | 2383336 hooligan2009
hooligan2009's picture

i think that's a little is a global trading hub with vast trading links. after all that's where banking and insurance started. but where there is corrupt business practices globally, london will be disporoprtionately represented becuase of its signficance in global trade.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 06:07 | 2383345 Sandmann
Sandmann's picture


You must start reading. London does not have 950% GDP involved in Trade by definition

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 06:28 | 2383361 hooligan2009
hooligan2009's picture

You can only read the UK GDP internals if you like. I look at things from a global perspective. you might try adding up the non-finance turnover of british companies and see if that changes your persepctive on UK GDP. UK companies operate globally and not in the (somewhat tiny) British Isles. The ratio of external (non-UK GDP) trade counted in other countries GDP probably amounts to some 40-50 times that counted in UK GDP. Same as counting foreign obligations as UK debt. It simply isn't true. Welfare democracy liabilities sure. Debt of foreginers with no claim on British liabilities...not.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 10:11 | 2383521 Sandmann
Sandmann's picture

That is bonkers. UK companies hold overseas companies through Dutch tax-mixers for tax averaging but they are obliged to consolidate or both tax authorities and shareholders would sue. I don't really see CALPERS saying it doesn't care if Royal Dutch parks turnover in NIgeria and runs a second set of books. You also confuse GDP with GNP and appear to have little notion of corporate life outside the banking sector.

The green bar indicates bank liabilities loaded onto UK taxpayers - RBS alone has a balance sheet larger than UK GDP. Brooks Newmark, MP wrote a paper listing all Britain's exposure with PFI (hed by banks through tax havens)and cumulative debt obligations - he reached 950% before Morgan Stanley

Bank Debt alone is 600% GDP

British Companies ith the exception of Oils are small in global terms - certainly smaller than German or Japanese or US corporates. Also from having major companies such as telcos - only BT and Vodafone are quoted companies all others being subs of foreign corporates - so in fact your argument would shrink British GDP were it even logical

The fact is Britain is a Rentier Economy acting as an invoicing centre just as Cayman or Jersey or Cook Islands - it is as ACET says eloquently


Sun, 04/29/2012 - 09:45 | 2383500 myne
myne's picture

That book is totally mindblowing.

The City of London has existed in its current political form since at least 1066.

When the Normans invaded, they disarmed before entering The City of London.

It is literally a medieval state, possibly the only medieval state to have survived. A throwback to a bygone era, and perhaps a millstone around the neck of human progress.

If banking has not changed in 1000 years, it's worth considering that it may not be because it is the best way, but because every single attempt to reform it has been thoroughly de-fanged by The City of London. Such reforms as Keynes' Bretton Woods agreement were arguably derailed by the changing of a few key words to remove expectation, and instead replace it with suggestion. Rather than law, it became 'best practice' (ie meaningless).


Seriously, if you haven't read this book, expect that once you start, you wont sleep until you finish. Even when you finish, it might take quite a while longer before you can get to sleep.


If it is accurate, and there is every indication that it is, it is utterly staggering how so much misery and power can be defined for so long by so few with no one knowing.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 06:24 | 2383359 Acet
Acet's picture

London was a global trading hub with vast links ... in the times of the British Empire.

Nowadays products don't pass by the UK. All the cities that grew around the great shipping ports are in decay along with those ports and have been since the last century.

London survives on it's legacy infrastructure of commercial law and other trading-support activities. This is slowly decaying and loosing relevance, which is why the UK had to become the "light touch regulation" capital of the world to keep attracting trade support work.

The problem is that the financial industry "evolved" from it's traditional trade-support activities (which added value to the economy by indirectly boosting productivity in other sectors) to gambling like financial trading (which is a zero sum game and adds nothing to the economy) and setting themselves as the gatekeepers of most financial activities (which actually leeches value away from the wider economy).

This is very much the decay stage of an Imperial power, when the actual engine of growth is not working anymore, but value can still be extracted from the momentum of having been a trading empire as the whole thing slowly grinds to a halt. Egypt was there once upon a time, Greece, Rome, Portugal, Spain - look at them now.


Sun, 04/29/2012 - 10:29 | 2383534 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

well said

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 09:58 | 2383505 JOYFUL
JOYFUL's picture

Good Lord man[or whatever persuasion yu may follow], if you honestly think that london is a global trading hub with vast trading links, you must get your suits made on Cork St, and your wigs powdered fortnightly! 

As a genuine time traveller, apparently able to solve that knotty(naughty?) problem of time loops, would you be good enough to disclose to us the very next sailing of a vessel commodious enough to carry a party of eight accustomed to voyaging in comfort with a destination somewhere east of the Bay of Bengal?  I've got a yen to see the Far East before it develops out of it's colonial stage!

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 10:10 | 2383518 RiverRoad
RiverRoad's picture

And what is the possibility the Transaction Tax will replace the guillotine?  The natives are getting restless.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 17:13 | 2383905 Sandmann
Sandmann's picture

England has had a Transactions Tax since 1694 - it is called STAMP DUTY  - the reason the American Colonies broke away in 1776

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 05:00 | 2383305 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

Ah yes, those contingent liabilities.

The much bigger liability we have in the U.S.S.A. is the morals/ethics/rule of law deficit.

When you abandon the rule of law and morality and ethics, human beings figure out fairly quickly which way the wind is blowing and tack to the wind.

The powers that be in the U.S. have NO IDEA how badly the past ten to twenty years has damaged a formerly patriotic and duty bound populace.

When it becomes obvious that your "contributions" and responsibility are being pissed away or your blood sucked by vampire squid, it is time to stop contributing and time to start killing squid.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 10:19 | 2383530 Calmyourself
Calmyourself's picture

Lack of ROL works both ways. +1

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 12:34 | 2383655 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

+ 1

Very good observation.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 20:08 | 2384083 Boxed Merlot
Boxed Merlot's picture

When you abandon the rule of law and morality and ethics, human beings figure out fairly quickly which way the wind is blowing and tack to the wind...


Absolutely, and to add to this simaly, gold serves as the balast.  Unseen and hidden from view but absolutely necessary to stablize, direct and counter the negative prevaling winds effect of rampant cb printing efforts.


Sun, 04/29/2012 - 05:20 | 2383324 putaipan
putaipan's picture

hey guys- little help/feedback please.... it seems to me this is the capstone seeing eye of most conspiracy theories but no one dares utter it for fear of snickers and giggles. what say you?

not the best presentation, but almost everyone that does comment seems to design their web pages with a crayon anyway. at least this one is short and "pulpy". if you won't go without knowing where it's headed-think: natural persons,corporations, admiralty flags,capital letters etc

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 07:14 | 2383388 Optimusprime
Optimusprime's picture

On your link--some of the information is relevant, but an idiot put it together.  "The Holy See" has NOTHING to do with "sea".  Fail.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 16:00 | 2383842 putaipan
putaipan's picture

thnx. about our "idiot"...yes i know. that's what i meant about the "web site designed with a crayon" reference....usually hosted in a trailor park.

but, but, but .... anyone else?

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 05:52 | 2383339 capitallosses
capitallosses's picture

I'm confused. Who wins, US or UK???

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 06:25 | 2383360 guiriduro
guiriduro's picture


Sun, 04/29/2012 - 06:40 | 2383354 tim73
tim73's picture

Just wait, you Yanks. Brits will come from behind once again, those island monkeys will do anything to win when it comes to losing!

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 07:14 | 2383389 mh505
mh505's picture

These figures (in the chart: Public Finances: Too Much Debt Everywhere) don't look right.  In fact, they are probaby much worse.  There is study from Jagadeesh Gokhale at the Cato Insitute (forgetting about their politics for a moment, their stats are usually not far off the mark) which shows that back in 2004 "true" debt for the US was already at 500% (see chart here: Debt vs GDP.jpg).  So how can the figure for 2011 stand at 300%, after the debt load has more than doubled from 2004?

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 09:28 | 2383418 JustObserving
JustObserving's picture

" Public Finances: Too Much Debt Everywhere) don't look right"

It is not right -US debt to GDP is 894% per USdebtclock, not 310% or so. It is about 3 times higher than the graph shows.  

The graph is from Morgan Stanley - when could you trust anything from them?

Also, US debt and unfunded liabilities to GDP are now increasing by 55% every year.  So the 310% number shown in the Morgan Stanley chart cannot possibly be right - that represents under 3 years worth of growth (compounded).

The president of the Dallas Fed, Richard W Fisher, backed the USdebtclock numbers in a speech he gave in 2008 when he estimated US unfunded liabilities at $99.2 trillion (they are $118.4 trillion today).

"Add together the unfunded liabilities from Medicare and Social Security, and it comes to $99.2 trillion over the infinite horizon"

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 09:37 | 2383490 mh505
mh505's picture

"The graph is from Morgan Stanley - when could you trust anything from them?"

Well the graph is published here; even with a favourable mention.  Shouldn't we expect a little more fact checking from Zero Hedge?

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 09:54 | 2383501 JustObserving
JustObserving's picture

"Shouldn't we expect a little more fact checking from Zero Hedge?"

If the Morgan Stanley graph is correct, then US unfunded liabilities are about $31.5 trillion now.  That is patently absurd.  In contrast, US debtclock has them growing by $6.63 trillion a year.

The numbers are so large that most people cannot grasp them. 

In an economic war of defending fiat currencies and the status quo, truth is the first casualty. 

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 14:41 | 2383778 epwpixieq-1
epwpixieq-1's picture

And just put in addition that US has the worst food quality of every industrial nation, I mean A LOT and A LOT of Sugar. The healthcare cost will explode and nothing will stop it. Unhealthy diet will bubble GDP, and will look that we are getting reach by "being sick", but, of course, it will also bubble A LOT the healthcare cost, so we will get even more "wealth".

The best healthcare, is healthy food that cost very little and everyone can adjust their habits, to have it, and it does not cost a dime. It "costs" something that very few individuals have: A SELF DISCIPLINE and THE TRUE KNOWLEDGE about the natural world. But of course, you can not TAX that, and here is the real truth about the system. Everything that is of a TRUE value costs very little and can not be taxed, so it is no NO USE in a debt based system.

So one basic thing is to adjust your food habits, and in this way you will get wealth that the system can not touch.

Everything else is Gold, Silver, Magnetic and Dielectric Energy.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 08:02 | 2383419 Motorhead
Motorhead's picture

Bar charts, bitchez!

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 09:27 | 2383483 Hungrypirana
Hungrypirana's picture

I'd like to see Jaoan on this chart....they are worse than US.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 09:27 | 2383484 Hungrypirana
Hungrypirana's picture


Sun, 04/29/2012 - 09:34 | 2383487 BigDeuceLittleToilet
BigDeuceLittleToilet's picture

Have we been greeced? Look at our Debt:GDP ratio :(

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 09:37 | 2383491 Monedas
Monedas's picture

We emerged from WWII as the world leader !  The possibilty of a world fiat ponzi scheme was laid on our doorstep !  We had a sound money system to build the Ponzi upon ! No country would have, could have, should have walked away from such a "gift" !  Thank you stupid, backward Socialist world for favoring us with such an opportunity !  We seized it and have been "riding dirty" on the whores of the world !  After our fiat feast we can position ourselves to triumph in the return to hard money !  Americans and our allies are fortuneate to have easy access to PMs ane we are hoading !  I see the US dominance and Pax Americana poised for another 100 years of good life on the backs of stupid Socialist miscreants ! Thank you very much !  The rich are getting richer ! Me happy !   Monedas  1929    Comedy Jihad I Shit On Your Poor Stupid Face  

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 15:52 | 2383820 falak pema
falak pema's picture

well this has the merit of being crystal clear. Unless you r tongue in cheek which I doubt, as you post your stuff often. Jihad and Crusade are two faces of same coin. And socialist is like saying christ was a faggot 'cos he was socialist. The Evangelists were all socialists until the Empire, Caesar, paddocked them into the "fascist" structure of the Imperial chruch. 

I'm glad you like the Vatican better than the dirty clothes of an evangelical, stupid socialist. You would be happy to be in the Vatican, in the Kremlin, in DC, in the Eternal City, in the Louvre or Versailles of the Bourbons, in Windsor or Buckingham Palace of Rule Britannia; anywhere, everywhere where the imperial team lives. Your credo is the opposite of Jefferson and Washington, it being on the side of their enemies; the imperial brigade. Good for you Monedas. During the Spanish Civil War you would have been a Franco Shill. During the Spanish Inquisition days a Conquistador, killing those mindless Amerindians, another version of dirty, feeble minded socialists. Well, your kind have always existed, just like your opposites. Its black and white. And its a never ending fight. 

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 21:52 | 2384173 Monedas
Monedas's picture

Unlike Christ, I would have invited the money changers into the temple to set up shop in the back, unused pews !  Money changing is a legitimate service ! Christ did not turn the other cheek to the money lenders....he was a Socialist !  Passing out free loaves of bread and fish is not accepted Capitalist procedure !     All religions are Socialist ! Socialism IS a religion !    Monedas  1929    Comedy Jihad Humour Is Funning People With Their Reality Mirror Of Truth ! 

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 09:40 | 2383495 orangegeek
orangegeek's picture

And more QE means more market movement up on declining volume.

And more QE means fortifying the "number one in debt" position right up to and eventually over the edge of the cliff.

The markets are indicating the edge of the cliff is near.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 10:12 | 2383502 q99x2
q99x2's picture

Wonder if the CIA is going to give the Indonesian a new wife and set of kids for this year's campaign or are we going to have to be stuck with that stinking Michelle again. He did so bad these last four they might only replace his dog.

The reason I mention Michelle so much is that she is looking at right now as I type this. The poor sucker, instead of straightening her teeth they just put a crooked pearl necklace on her photo so she appears less lopesided.

The NWO symbol (blue circle with the red airline stripes at the bottom) seems to have been replaced by the George Clooney/Kony 2012 Jolie face on the Barak Obama for president ad--not much of an improvement.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 10:12 | 2383512 Rainman
Rainman's picture

John Browne was on Cavuto's show Friday. He questioned the true strength of the Euro, suspecting that the Fed is secretly propping it to unrealistic levels.

"The US Congress has no idea what is going on ".

3 1/2 minutes

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 10:23 | 2383533 RiverRoad
RiverRoad's picture

Of course the Fed is/has been propping it up all along.  The Euro was created as a place for big business to hide their money (untaxed!) while "they/the Fed" brought the dollar down to compete with the rising third world.  The Euro is a joke upon the world.  We'll see who laughs last.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 10:06 | 2383513 JOYFUL
JOYFUL's picture

Thanks for this nugget of truth, ZH, with which you have made up for the pecadillo of posting the putrid ponderings of too many poseurs in your top columns who consider dumping on any European nation south of Marseilles or west of the Isle of Man to be a easy way to score points and look saavy, while pushing their products of dubious value.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 10:17 | 2383527 xela2200
xela2200's picture

Don't forget contingent liabilities. AIG learned about them the hard way.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 10:50 | 2383559 Dixie Frank
Dixie Frank's picture

OK, non-financial wizard/economist, banker, average dude question... What is the PTB end game? With Fiat world-wide slowly self-murdering itself...Japan's debt unpayable, US debt unpayable, Italian debt, etc, etc.. What is the puppet master plan for all of us useless eaters? Seems to me all Illuminati, Bilderberg, Rothschild, etc, wealth is all tied up in fiat.  Or, do they have a giant stash of gold and silver somewhere? If it all collapses, how do TPTB pay their army of body guards? I can't wrap my brain around the plan.. all fiat's die and a new Earth Reserve Note is introduced? Massive economic collapse, we all starve and or kill each other via neighbor eating neighbor? Currencies world wide collapse, all debt wiped out, month or two later new Federal Reserve Notes, new Pounds, new Yen introduced? Anyone? Thank you. 

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 11:38 | 2383603 RiverRoad
RiverRoad's picture

Seems to me the central bankers have been accumulating gold agaist the day the farcical fiats and especially the Euro (their creations) collapse of their own weight.  So the globalized bankers' cabal ends up holding all the cards either way:  Gold pays the bodyguards/armies.  Only glitch is how much the Sheeple will take in the process.  The European natives are getting restless and the Transaction Tax may become the new guillotine.  The new world currency, whatever it's called, will have to be backed by gold or the whole process starts again....

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 13:18 | 2383702 Diogenes
Diogenes's picture

The best explaination I have ever seen comes from Orson Welles.

It helps to watch it more than once.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 11:29 | 2383595 Everybodys All ...
Everybodys All American's picture

Nothing worse than seeing that mf'er Krugman on the television again this morning spouting his Keyensian BS. With all the evidence on the otherside he still thinks he's 100 percent right. I never think it's right to wish ill will on anyone but Krugman needs to go and go now and take all this financial engineering with them. What a liberal asshole.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 12:01 | 2383624 Dr. Gonzo
Dr. Gonzo's picture

One tiny difference is we borrowed most of our money to build the war machine that controls the world's oil that all the other nations need. Also we are deep into debt with several of these nations that need this oil and they understand that if they protest we will act in a similar way that Joe Pesci did in the movie Casino when he would not pay his bookies when he lost but threaten to kill them if they didn't pay him when he won so everyone goes along like everything's cool til we self destruct and in the mean time they make other arrangements like barter for oil until we finally can't afford to pay for our war machine and self destruct but they keep in hush hush because they don't want their heads crushed in a vice. What I'm trying to say is America IS Nicky Santoro. London IS Ace Rothstein and Israel is Ginger. 

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 12:08 | 2383630 Snakeeyes
Snakeeyes's picture

The UK has similar problems to ours: high debt, high unemployment, too many entitlements, etc. I ate dinner with some friends last night in DC and one was a died in the wool Keynesian. Claimed US and UK MUST do much more stimulus and what does it matter? Bernanke and King can just print the money. With rates near zero, its free!!!!!!! AND this guy is famous.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 13:31 | 2383713 matt_chart
matt_chart's picture

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Sun, 04/29/2012 - 14:18 | 2383760 engineertheeconomy
engineertheeconomy's picture

Those that are not in Precious Metals, unless your future wages are based on an exponential parabolic curve upwards that meets or exceeds the rate at which they are devaluing paper currencies, will be getting poorer and poorer no matter what you do.

Protect yourselves from what is coming

Physical Gold, Silver, Palladium, Platinum, Rhodium.

Also Copper and Aluminum

When the shit hits the fan it's going to go everywheres

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 16:28 | 2383859 smiler03
smiler03's picture

I'm curious as to how you hold physical Cu & Al. Ingots?

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 14:23 | 2383767 loveyajimbo
loveyajimbo's picture

China and/or Russia introduce a legit gold-backed currency and "POOF" goes the dollar and the US goes into hyper-inflation and the economy, what's left of it... rolls over and croaks.  Krugman will have to buy a cheaper brand of KY for his boy toy Timmy...

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 15:42 | 2383835 CryingBear
CryingBear's picture


Sun, 04/29/2012 - 15:50 | 2383799 falak pema
falak pema's picture

when contrarians fall out :

How does this fit in with the perception of TD and ZH; given that HH has been an iconic Hedge funder for them.

Something is contradictory or someone is crossing their wires.

Here is the gist of it :

The momentous nature of recent advances in shale oil and gas extraction and America's acceptance of the unpleasantness of debt and labour price restructuring looks to us as if it is creating yet another historic turning point.

Read more: I Know that Flakmeister, whose opinion I respect has posted a lot about the depletion gap of current liquid oil, the declining rate of frak gas production rates, and the EROEI ratios of shale and incidental non conventional discoveries. As well the high price of unconventional sources. If you take into account the increased requirements of new economies, we are in big trouble.  So this bullish analysis hits a raw nerve that is not easy to rationalise based on say Oil Drum type mathematical model extrapolations. Are we missing something BIG?

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 15:07 | 2383807 granolageek
granolageek's picture

The actual situation is bad enough, but, like all the other hyperbolic claims I've seen, this one is garbage.

First, contingent liabilities are by definition liabilitys of which only a fraction will have to be paid. That's how flippin' insurance works. There is not an insurer in the world that would not go under if it had to pay off all its policies at once. Yes, most governments/central banks have all sorts of guarantees out on random stuff. But even if the deals go bad, there will be some recovery,. Even ZH's favorite, Solyndra, still has a factory, inventory and a bunch of patents, all of which will bring in some money towards the nut, even though not all of it.


Then there's the medical crap. Every time I've actually looked into one of the claims that Social Security is underfunded by tens of trillions, there has always been a hidden assumption that everyone will stop paying taxes right now, but will show up to collect when they turn sixty whatever. That is bogus--the vast majority will keep paying. Two or three trillion is legit and bad enough. Twenty trillion is a self discrediting crock.

There isn't enough data here to let me check, but I'll bet a six pack that the medical liability number is cooked exactly the same way: we all stop paying medicare tax right now, but expect to get paid at 65.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 15:38 | 2383834 CryingBear
CryingBear's picture


Sun, 04/29/2012 - 15:52 | 2383838 Matt
Matt's picture

Not a big history buff, I see. Lincoln was a Republican.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 17:01 | 2383886 earleflorida
earleflorida's picture

lincoln was a survivalist. he was originally a member of the  'whig party' [a second tier democratic wanna-be?]. the whig party [~1834-1856] was not the party of choice, if you longed for a happy and long life? president harrison, a whig, died shortly after being elected. similarly, president taylor, also a whig died early in his term.

the writing was on the wall? at least, that's the way lincoln surmised it, and changed his political affiliation pronto, to a republican.

unfortunately, that didn't help,... for he was assasinated.

american politics are riddled with misfortune for uncooperative [?] presidents.



Sun, 04/29/2012 - 17:51 | 2383948 granolageek
granolageek's picture

The whig party imploded after electing a succession of worthless presidents. Fortunately senators Clay, Calhoun and Webster were able to run the country for 20 years

The Republican party was formed as an alternative for non-losers who didn't want to be democrats.

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 16:46 | 2383872 bankruptcylawyer
bankruptcylawyer's picture

what is this crap of an article relying on debt statistics as a measure of gdp. the only reason to measure debt by a fraudulent yardstick is to decieve. 


surprise surprise, look who the sources are of these so called predictive stats. 

it's all about controlling the story.....gdp is the story . 

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!