Mercator Dejection

The Economist maps the world's burgeoning debt.

A little doom and gloom before the weekend.

The Economist has drawn up an interactive map of approximate world debt, year by year, and country by country, since 1999.

As you would expect, the overall total global debt ($39 trillion) is rather large, and rising.

There's something perturbing about seeing Ireland, the UK and Iceland suddenly swamped in red by 2008. It's also salutory to remember that Greece's debt has been over 100 percent of it's GDP for ten years now.

The country that remains most constant is (Red) China, whose unwavering commitment to keep the value of the renminbi low by hoovering up US treasuries may be about to spark an intercontinental currency war. After all, China and the US can't keep propping each other up like two drunks forever.

Before you atart seeing red, remember folks, a lot of soveriegn debt (especially in the UK) is at least in part a bag of self-loaned IOUs, and there's not necessarily anything wrong with running deficits in hard times and paying them back in the good (a learning to Alan Johnson, and a fail for Gordon Brown).

More hearteningly, scrolling through debt as percentage of GDP over the years shows Africa (Sudan excepted) gradually emerging from the red.

I wonder what it will look like next year?

 

Photo: Getty Images/Christopher Furlong
Show Hide image

A dozen defeated parliamentary candidates back Caroline Flint for deputy

Supporters of all the leadership candidates have rallied around Caroline Flint's bid to be deputy leader.

Twelve former parliamentary candidates have backed Caroline Flint's bid to become deputy leader in an open letter to the New Statesman. Dubbing the Don Valley MP a "fantastic campaigner", they explain that why despite backing different candidates for the leadership, they "are united in supporting Caroline Flint to be Labour's next deputy leader", who they describe as a "brilliant communicator and creative policy maker". 

Flint welcomed the endorsement, saying: "our candidates know better than most what it takes to win the sort of seats Labour must gain in order to win a general election, so I'm delighted to have their support.". She urged Labour to rebuild "not by lookin to the past, but by learning from the past", saying that "we must rediscover Labour's voice, especially in communities wher we do not have a Labour MP:".

The Flint campaign will hope that the endorsement provides a boost as the campaign enters its final days.

The full letter is below:

There is no route to Downing Street that does not run through the seats we fought for Labour at the General Election.

"We need a new leadership team that can win back Labour's lost voters.

Although we are backing different candidates to be Leader, we are united in supporting Caroline Flint to be Labour's next deputy leader.

Not only is Caroline a fantastic campaigner, who toured the country supporting Labour's candidates, she's also a brilliant communicator and creative policy maker, which is exactly what we need in our next deputy leader.

If Labour is to win the next election, it is vital that we pick a leadership team that doesn't just appeal to Labour Party members, but is capable of winning the General Election. Caroline Flint is our best hope of beating the Tories.

We urge Labour Party members and supporters to unite behind Caroline Flint and begin the process of rebuilding to win in 2020.

Jessica Asato (Norwich North), Will Straw (Rossendale and Darween), Nick Bent (Warrington South), Mike Le Surf (South Basildon and East Thurrock), Tris Osborne (Chatham and Aylesford), Victoria Groulef (Reading West), Jamie Hanley (Pudsey), Kevin McKeever (Northampton South), Joy Squires (Worcester), Paul Clark (Gillingham and Rainham), Patrick Hall (Bedford) and Mary Wimbury (Aberconwy)

Stephen Bush is editor of the Staggers, the New Statesman’s political blog.