Analyst Says Britain’s Debt Is So High That, in Effect, The Nation Is Owned by The Banks

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Debt has tripled in the UK since 1980. This means that the banks essentially own Britain, through debt. If you are interested in the charts and statistics that support this conclusion, you will find them all in this article. –GEG

The ten graphs which show how Britain became a wholly owned subsidiary of the City of London (and what we can do about it)

Of all the charts I produced for my new book Can we avoid another financial crisis? (Keen 2017), the one that surprised me the most was the one showing British private sector debt relative to GDP.

The American data showed a perennial tendency for private debt to grow faster than GDP, followed by financial crises in which debt was written off, only for the process to repeat itself later on. Figure 1 shows the level of private debt as a percentage of GDP in red, and credit – which is the annual change in debt—in blue. There were regular occurrences of negative credit, and therefore a falling ratio of debt to GDP, but the apparently inexorable trend in the USA was for debt to rise relative to GDP until a serious crash occurred.

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I expected a similar pattern for the UK. Instead, I saw the pattern in Figure 2. There was no trend in UK private debt to GDP until shortly after the election of Margaret Thatcher. Then, under both her rule and Tony Blair’s, the private debt to GDP ratio more than trebled in less than 30 years.

Figure 2: Private debt and credit in the UK since 1880

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Private debt never exceeded 72% of GDP in the century from 1880 (when the Bank of England’s time series begins) till 1980, and its average value was 57% of GDP. By 2010, when it peaked, private debt had risen from under 60% of GDP to almost 200%. If any chart lets us date when Britain’s economy started to become seriously unbalanced, this is it. The decline in manufacturing had commenced much earlier, but the unconstrained ascendance of finance began in 1981. This was the date on which Britain started to become a fully owned subsidiary of the City of London.

This growth in debt gave The City immense power over the rest of the country, in a Faustian bargain that delivered ever growing demand from credit (which is equal in magnitude to the annual increase in private debt) in return for an ever-growing claim by The City on the assets and incomes of the rest of the country.

For a while, this bargain felt win-win for both sides: as the Bank of England recently acknowledged, bank lending creates money at the same time as it creates debt (McLeay, Radia et al. 2014). This money is then spent, either to buy assets, or goods and services. It therefore adds to total demand, and to incomes and capital gains. So, as banks created “money from nothing”, and the UK private sector spent that money that it got for doing nothing, prosperity seemed to abound. The rising credit-based demand substituted for the decline in demand from actually producing goods and services, and the additional financial claims against the UK’s physical resources grew from a relatively low level. The decline in manufacturing employment was offset by a rise in employment in finance, where the main output was not goods but credit-based money and its Siamese twin, debt. While the debt continued to grow, it boosted both economic activity (see Figure 3) and asset prices (see Figure 4).

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Bill Goode
Bill Goode
5 years ago

I have heard that England is 100% owned by the Queen. Is there a significant difference between the Queen and the Bank of England? I assume the Bank of England is owned by the commercial banks in England, similar to the way commercial banks in the USA own the Federal Reserve.

Carl Hanson
Carl Hanson
5 years ago
Reply to  Bill Goode

Google says that the Bank of England was privately owned by stockholders from its foundation in 1694 until it was nationalised in 1946. In 1998, it became an independent public organisation, wholly owned by the Treasury Solicitor on behalf of the government, with independence in setting monetary policy. Here is an article that explains how Nathan Rothschild broke the bank of England in a scam involving the Battle of Waterloo. The article explains that the bank was nationalized, but then adds, “However even though the Bank of England is now state owned its important to note that up to 97%… Read more »

Cottontail
Cottontail
5 years ago
Reply to  Bill Goode

I’ve heard that the Queen of England has ‘Jewish’ origins.
Nothing to do with the Jews of Palestine.
This whole scenario is getting weirder by the day.
Who needs to read a mystery novel when we are all living inside the mystery pages created by a few greedy, power hungry collectivists who seem to think that they can take their mega wealth to the grave? There are no pockets in shrouds!