The United Kingdom has recently entered a double-dip recession, due to the double-whammy of the euro zone crisis — which is endangering its biggest trading partners — and an aggressive austerity program instigated by the conservative government of Prime Minister David Cameron. But the British economy may have been able to survive Europe and austerity if its corporations and households weren’t leveraged to the hilt as well. Consumers, businesses and especially financial institutions are unable to spend freely given their current debt levels. You might think U.S. banks were irresponsible, but by most measures British banks fared much worse during the financial crisis, requiring bigger bailouts by the U.K. government — especially when compared to the size of its home country.
Total Debt as a percentage of GDP: 507%
Nonfinancial Corporations: 109%
Financial Institutions: 219%