"Those who cautioned against rising debt levels were dismissed as doom-mongers; after all, asset prices were rising even faster, so balance-sheets looked healthy. And with the economy buoyant, debtors could afford to meet their interest payments without defaulting. In short, it paid to borrow and it paid to lend. Like alcohol, a debt boom tends to induce euphoria. Traders and investors saw the asset-price rises it brought with it as proof of their brilliance; central banks and governments thought that rising markets and higher tax revenues attested to the soundness of their policies. Debt increased at every level, from consumers to companies to banks to whole countries. "
Source: The Economist
"This historic unfolding event can be examined and observed on many scales: individuals, cities, counties, states, regions, countries, and continents. The weakest stumble first."
Random Roving - February 3, 2009