Here is a list of the top 20 debtor nations in order of rank: USA, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, Japan, Spain, Ireland, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, Sweden, Austria, Australia, Hong Kong, Denmark, Portugal, Norway, China, Russia. The US is in very bad shape indeed, but look at whom they owe that money to. Approximately $2 trillion is owed to Japan - but Japan is the 7th largest debtor nation. Another 1-2 trillion is owed to the UK - but the UK is solidly #2 in national debt. The US owes another 800 billion -1 trillion to China - but even China is 19 on the list, another big debtor nation. So where is the creditor nation? What country is net positive? The answer is that there isn't one. US owe Japan, they owe China, China owes the UK, the UK owes France, France owes the US, etc. Nobody has a net credit - all debtors. The statistics for the US are similar for the world overall, in that the top 1 % of the population owns 90% of the wealth. Thus, 1% of the population is in fact the 'creditor' for the national debts of every country in the world.

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(Item supplied by Doug Lever)

from The Guardian Political Review, NZ, Spring 2006