How Much Do We Owe?

Western capitalism operates on credit. The fiver in your pocket is a promissory note. Its value goes up and down accordingly to how bad someone else wants it.

Coins used to be silver and gold. Paper money used to be convertible into gold. Now GBP is a thing in itself. It is traded. Supply and demand affects its value and governments can be very naughty and print more of it.

I mention this because:

a. I saw a post recently which stated the global debt is greater than the amount of currency to pay it. If every debtor tried to call in their debt at once, the world economy would collapse;

b. It's a useful lesson for the starter businessman. People and institutions operate on credit. Got credit? You're in. Seen as a bad risk? You're out.

There is more than one kind of credit. Prestige is hard to quantify, but opens more doors than gold.

c. I'm a 'bear', in economic terms.

It seems very likely that a major depression is a matter of when, not if. The party goes on until someone tries to call in a fat debt, gets gipped and then panic sets in.

Here are some tickers which show current national debt values:

UK: http://www.nationaldebtclocks.org/debtclock/unitedkingdom
US: http://www.nationaldebtclocks.org/debtclock/unitedstates
Ireland: http://www.nationaldebtclocks.org/debtclock/ireland
China: http://www.nationaldebtclocks.org/debtclock/china

Now, of course, debt is a matter of proportionality. It I owe £20 but I'm sitting on assets worth £200 and have £40 in the bank, I'm solvent. But if I only have £10 in the bank, I'm skating on thin ice.

The lesson I draw from this is: take chances, put on a good show, but, watch the bottom line.

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