P2): Debt-Fueled Growth

A graph comparing the ratio of debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and annual change in GDP over time. The graph illustrates exploding debt and declining growth in GDP.
What We Have To Pay Back

Growth in the American economy has been debt-fueled since the 1930’s. Debt has become an even more prominent driver of the economy since the “blossoming” of financial speculation in the 90’s.  The fact that the economy is debt-fueled doesn’t mean that the economy doesn’t grow and contract. It just means that over time, debt becomes the most important way the economy grows, leaving innovation and increases in productivity behind.

The crash of 2008 was based on a speculative bubble in housing and we apparently learned nothing from that. Current personal and private corporate debt in the US is above the level just before the 2008 crash. This time it is not just housing debt or primarily housing debt. Instead, it includes much more unsecured debt like credit cards and “investment” through debt by corporations. If a crash occurs there won’t be houses that can be foreclosed, bought, refurbished and resold. Just debt.

That can’t be a good thing since we effectively have no other way to grow. Student debt is also playing a larger and larger role every day in the brittleness of our economic system, and, whether the economy grows or not, student debt defaults will increase over time.

We seem completely incapable of doing anything about this rolling disaster. In April of 2018, world GDP is roughly $75 trillion, and world debt is $250 trillion. I’ll update this as I get new figures of meaningful change.

Author: disabilitynorm

hubby2jill, 2dogs, advocate45+yrs, change strategist, trainer, geezer, pa2Loree, gndpa2Nevin

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