The World Debt Clock

The Economist has something pretty interesting up on its website: a global debt clock. The clock measures global debt held by the public (different from the U.S. debt clock), showing that in total global public debt is near $40 trillion (it's unclear whether this counts municipal/local debt as well as national debt). This number is incomplete, since many countries do not have data available on public debt, but it seems to be about as good a measure as one can find. The page also comes with a map that allows viewers to compare different countrys' levels of indebtedness.

As you can see, the U.S. is about in the middle--if slightly above average--in terms of indebtedness (though obviously this says nothing about the future debt trajectory). We look better in this measure than, say, Greece, Japan, or Italy, but worse than countries like Sweden, China, and Australia. 

It's starting to look like if we and other countries continue along our current fiscal paths, we may have to look beyond our earthly confines to finance our debt...