Just how serious is the government debt of nations? Consider the following statistics.
The International Monetary Fund’s 2012 figures find the gross government debt of Greece to be around 153 per cent of GDP. Other nations include Italy where the figure is 123, for Ireland 113, for Portugal 112 and for the United States 107. Britain’s debt is approximately 88 per cent. Japan is the world leader with a government debt of 236 per cent of GDP, triple what it was twenty years ago.
These figures do not consider private and corporate debt. If this debt is added to government debt, the figures are even more frightening. In this case, Japan would head the list with 512 percent of GDP, Britain 507 percent, France 346 per cent, Italy 314 per cent, the United States 279 per cent, and German 278 per cent.
Cited from Niall Ferguson, The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies Die, Allen Lane, London, 2012, p. 40.