|Looking through the Internet for an illustration of cliffhanger I discovered that others had the idea of a person falling off the cliff earlier (©Cardow Cartoon)|
The following table presents the financial situation in 2012 for a couple of countries. For sake of comparison figures are given in US$ (source Wikipedia):
|Country||Debt in TriUS$||Per cap US$||% of GDP||2012>13 in %|
|The world's burden of debts (©The Guardian, UK)|
Leverages shown in the table range from 83 to 237% of the Country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The classical view had it that a country is considered bankrupt when this figure exceeds 100%. Here the number for Greece sticks out in particular in view of its projected increase from 171 to 182% in 2013 whilst Cyprus will decrease its leverage from 93 to 86% possibly due to the massive financial help the European Union recently gave to the country.
There were times when financial situations were worse as in Freiburg in 1477. With the choir of its Münster church still under construction the city had a debt per capita of an equivalent of 23 000 US$ for a population of only 6000. The leverage was 1000% such that 50% of Freiburg's budget had to be earmarked to pay the interest on the accumulated debt. There was no hope of paying off the loans. To remedy the financial situation at that time, Freiburg's master, King Maximilian, increased the city's income by placing the trade of iron and salt under its control.
Today people complain about Freiburg's "enormous" indebtedness of an equivalent of 280 MioUS$. This however amounts to a debt per capita of only 1200 US$ and corresponds to 35% of the city's current budget. These figures are not negligible but low in comparison with cities in some regions of Germany where unemployment rates are permanently high: Duisburg, a city in the Ruhr district, has a debt of an equivalent of 2,9 BioUS$ or per capita US$ 5860.