The Political and Economic Impact of Debt: Accelerating Interdependence, Globalization, and the Reallocation of Influence

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1 The Political and Economic Impact of Debt: Accelerating Interdependence, Globalization, and the Reallocation of Influence

2 Australia Brazil China Czech Republic Egypt France Government Debt Germany Greece Hungary India Italy Japan Mexico Poland Russia Saudi Arabia Singapore South Africa Spain Sweden Turkey UK US A country s government debt (also known as national or public debt) is a reflection of how much it has borrowed to cover the gap between what it has produced and what it has spent Public Debt as a % of GDP Meanwhile, many developing nations have managed to keep their government debt below 50%. China and Russia in particular are relatively very unburdened by debt. The data shows that the countries of the G7 all endure a government debt to GDP ratio of over 50%. 2

3 Government Debt Here is a map of the same indicator, government debt as a percentage of GDP. Countries in blue have a ratio of under 50%, countries in orange have a ratio between 50% and 100%, and countries in red have a ratio of over 100%. The map illustrates how debt is dispersed in the world. Generally speaking, the traditional industrial economies endure a high debt burden, while many developing economies do not. 3

4 Australia Brazil China Czech Republic Egypt France Government Deficit Germany Greece Hungary India Italy Japan Mexico Poland Russia Saudi Arabia Singapore South Africa Spain Sweden Turkey UK US Government debts are primarily informed by yearly budget surpluses or deficits. A large government deficit to GDP ratio indicates that a country continues to add to its government debt. The data shows that not only do the selected countries (below) of the G7 have larger debt burdens than major developing economies, but that they are generally adding to their debt at a faster rate too Government Budget Surplus or Deficit as a % of GDP

5 Reallocation of Influence What does the accruement of government debt mean for governments and the global economic and political order? At the most basic level, a high debt ratio indicates that future economic capacity must be requisitioned towards repayment. Therefore countries that endure a high government debt to GDP ratio like those of the G7 are limited in their ability to execute a growth agenda in the present, and this inability to execute will increase as their debt ratio grows. High debt also has other capacity-limiting effects, such as a higher borrowing rates. As the mature industrialized countries accrue more debt, their position as the world s economic decision makers will necessarily erode. This change in the global economic power structure will be reflected in organizations like the IMF and the WB. Conversely, the relatively lightly-indebted developing economies like China, Russia, Mexico and Saudi Arabia will enjoy more of a say in global economic fora like the IMF and the WB. Some of these countries are/will become major donor nations, further increasing their ability to execute their international economic agendas. 5

6 Government Debt as a % of GDP Example: Debt and Influence at the IMF This graph illustrates how decisions are made now at a major international economic forum, the IMF. It shows the current relationship between government debt and IMF voting power of selected countries. 200 The countries of the G7 generally enjoy a relatively higher percentage of the IMF s total voting shares than their developing counterparts, despite the G7 countries higher debt-to-gdp ratios This imbalance will change in the future if the IMF is to remain an effective and relevant organization. The developing countries are likely to see their influence increase at the expense of the developed nations. The macroeconomically-healthier developing nations have a relatively smaller voice % of Total IMF Votes 6

7 7 Thank You

41 T Korea, Rep. 52.3. 42 T Netherlands 51.4. 43 T Japan 51.1. 44 E Bulgaria 51.1. 45 T Argentina 50.8. 46 T Czech Republic 50.4. 47 T Greece 50.

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