Thursday, February 4, 2010

Bankrupt Britain and so on and so on

To listen to many people who talk about British debt, you'd think the sky was falling and we were going to have to accept socks and bits of straw for our old age pensions. The Economist's Buttonwood has an interesting set of tables comparing GDP growth with debt costs over various time periods. In the very short term, Ireland comes off the worst, and of course Greece is obviously viewed with much suspicion - I await the result of the farmer's attempt to squeeze more subsidy with interest - but the interesting thing is that countries like the US and UK do pretty well out of these tables. Partly, of course, that's a reflection of how their debt has historically been perceived, and the tables don't reflect "real" interest (taking into account government assets), but nonetheless it's a little reassuring to know I don't need to start stocking up on the sheet plastic and shotguns just yet.

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