Global Public Debt Clock, from The Economist:

click for interactive graphic


Track and forecast public debt in countries around the world, is now live on the Buttonwood Gathering website. The Global Public Debt Clock provides a graphic perspective on an important and much discussed global economic issue.

Global public debt for 2010 is close to $40 trillion and is predicted to rise to over $42 trillion in 2011. In 2009, global debt was just under $37 trillion:

-US public debt is currently at $8.5 trillion, 58 % of GDP. It is predicted to rise to $9.5 trillion in 2011, which will be 63.1% of GDP.

-Japan’s public debt is currently $10.6 trillion, 196.1% of its GDP

-Greece’s public debt is currently $374.6 billion, 127.8% of its GDP.

-Chinese public debt is approximately $949 billion, 17.3% of its GDP.

Now if The Economist would make this an embeddable widget, they would be on to something . . .

Category: Credit, Digital Media

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

19 Responses to “Global Public Debt Clock”

  1. ZedLoch says:

    I didn’t know Canada was in so deep

  2. Chief Tomahawk says:

    Oh yeah, being colored (or coloured in Economist English) pitch black in the USofA invokes just a tad bit of symbolism! [Whatever happened to dark red to show 'overheated', akin to over-indebted?]

  3. It looks like public debt is synonymous with capitalist development and the accumulation of private wealth.

  4. Unless people really would chose to live in (not visit) East Africa over France and Japan.

  5. clove says:

    Does this take into account future obligations like Medicare, Social Security, etc?

  6. xynz says:

    According to the graphic above: a country with $1000 public debt/capita & $1000 GDP/capita is better off than a country with $40,000 public debt/capita & $40,000 GDP/capita. This is very misleading.

  7. willid3 says:

    why didn’t they include things like GDP, average income per person? it might not look so good for some countries that look good here, but the average income is really low, and the debt per capita might be unrealistically high. also did a few countries default? and where are they now?

  8. ab initio says:

    It always amazes me how everyone uses a different set of numbers under the category “Public Debt”. The US Treasury claims on their Treasury Direct website that the “Total Public Debt Outstanding” is $13.468 trillion as of yesterday (September 27, 2010).

    It seems every one who publishes these info-porn charts should define the terms precisely because otherwise one is apt to be mislead.

  9. DrungoHazewood says:

    Check out the fiscal restraint stretching from Ethiopia to Mozambique. Must be the stuff food riots are made of.

    Romania is crumbling under an austerity program for those Romanians that haven’t left for Italy. I waited too long to visit quaint, but crumbling countries like Bulgaria and Moldova. You think we’ve got corruption!

  10. Jim Birch says:

    Looks like a map of preferred migration destinations.

  11. willid3 says:

    well the treasury site is probably including debt that government agencies owe each other as debt also. which it is

  12. DrungoHazewood says:


    Interesting. When I was a lad we lived in Egypt, and one day the plumber, Mr. Ibrahim, came to fix a leaky pipe. I started talking to him as he spoke perfect English. He was using some fascinating plumbing tools that belonged in a museum. He told me he left Turkey and came to Egypt many years prior. I knew Turkey was a hellhole, but Egypt was worse, so I asked him why he moved. He said he’d heard the streets in Egypt were paved with gold, but when he arrived he found out they were actually paved with donkey doo. Hopefully we can get out of this without going the donkey doo route.

  13. mock turtle says:

    clove Says:
    September 28th, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    Does this take into account future obligations like Medicare, Social Security, etc?


    to do that fairly one would have to take into account future fica tax revenues which would off set most, but probably not all, of the future medicare and ss obligations

  14. So since 2007 the total world debts has been going up by about 10% per year? Have our incomes kept pace? That is pure insanity

  15. mathman says:

    This chart may correlate well with military/security spending.

  16. Of course, it’s largely irrelevant. Debt/GDP is a meaningless, apples/oranges ratio. It compares a one-year measure (GDP) with a many-years measure (Debt), and does not indicate anything.

    For a monetarily sovereign nation, like Japan, China and the U.S. this ratio does not indicate ability to service debt, as these nations have the unlimited ability to service debt. It does not indicate any aspect of economic health. It simply is meaningless.

    Perhaps deficit/GDP might have some evaluative meaning, as at least that compares one year with one year. But even here, it does not tell anything about the health of an economy. It merely shows how much money a government has added to the economy compared with total production.

    In any event, I truly wish economists would stop using Debt/GDP. It’s total nonsense.

    Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

  17. ToNYC says:

    It is no conspiracy to simply calculate the persistent $40-50 extra dollars per barrel x 6 million barrels per day cost or tax on our freedom and ability to pay our domestic neighbors for their goods & services. Sure BushArabia will buy 60 Billion every so often but the pipe direct to the Military-ndustrialI Complex is well-maintained.
    Terrorism as the Enemy is the final battle in this march to Serfdom. No citizen is free from suspicion and must be monitored. The Government is in complete charge and a swat team in your neighborhood will report what it needs to about any particular individual to keep it all so real. This HSA happened under Bush, get it? Obama’s small change ran out when they read him the riot act on day one and he needed to pay to play.

  18. franklin411 says:

    Somalia has no national debt and they have no government.

    By Republican standards, this makes them the freest and most prosperous society in the world.

  19. kaleberg says:

    A more interesting metric would be an economic efficiency indicator which would point out the economies that can provide goods and services with the least financial system friction and overhead. There are lots of places with relatively small financial sectors, but without people living in shacks.