The world is a maze of debt.  Debts layered on debts.image of debt

The Earth and its productivity is roughly the same or better than prior years.  What is the problem with the economy then?

The problem is this: there are entities that made bad loans in the past that expect to be paid back in full.  They assumed the future would be far better than it turned out to be.  There is no way that the loans will be paid back in full.  The solution is paying back at a discount, whether through compromise or insolvency.

Wait. Many of the lenders are leveraged as well, and can’t take significant losses.  Paying back at a discount will bankrupt a number of banks, which will in turn bollix the economy.

So, we have to go slow?  Does this bring us back to the problem of how one eats an elephant?  “One bite at a time.”  That is the method of Japan, leaving an over-indebted government, and reasonably indebted private sector.  But it took two decades.

Whether it is in the Euro-zone, China, or America, it would be better to let entities fail, and deal with the mess.  Yes, GDP will drop a lot, but it will rocket out of the troubles 2-3 years out, the way that Eastern Europe did post-Warsaw Pact.

Ending  the economic malaise means ending the debt overhang.  Where is the government, or set of governments willing to attack this and reduce debts economy-wide?  I know it is a tough prescription, but economies don’t work well when they are overindebted.