10 World Powers That Are Totally Broke

August 21, 2015—All is fair in love and war, or so they say. But when debt is under the spotlight, we look the other way. Could it be that academic bodies never emphasized the importance of home economics curriculum? Or is that we trust elected officials so much we forget to keep them in check?

Whatever the reason, most world powers are currently broke. But as governments borrow their way into further debt, we remain silent. So next time you share that Politico piece on how steep your share of the debt is, don’t just hashtag the hell out of it. Get to work, because your politician of choice needs more dough to blow.

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Here’s a handy list of ten world superpowers who are just way too broke to stay afloat (yet they do, don’t ask me how.)


“Debt? What’s that?”

France’s national debt has already surpassed the 2 trillion euro mark. Yes, that’s trillion with a ‘T.’

To some, it’s puzzling to see the birthplace of enlightenment drowning in debt. In the decades to come, millions of French citizens will be scratching their heads as they sip on a glass of bordeaux, wondering why they’re perpetually in the red.


The debt clock is ticking in the country famous for its citizens’ love of beer, no wonder nobody cares! With its national debt nearing France’s, German nationals are on the hook for $27,364 each. With that kind of money, they could all get a new Volkswagen Käfer each. Too bad Germany is just too generous toward the European Union.

United Kingdom

Who’s hot and who’s not?

To UK’s Queen Elizabeth, mo’ money doesn’t necessarily mean mo’ problems. With over $2 trillion in debt, each UK citizen owes $39,371, yet the country just can’t get enough of its royal fam. So much so that a major chunk of UK revenue is devoted to keeping the royals’ palaces in good shape. It sounds like the birthplace of liberalism has some ‘splaining to do.


If you can’t beat them, stare at them.

Japan has had its share of tragedy. After the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the country had to find a way to make $1.2 billion to cover [PDF] the damage costs. But as it stands, Yoko Ono’s homeland owes over $10 trillion, making each Japanese responsible for over $79,000 of his country’s national debt. That’s enough cash to get the big guy to step down so the tot may win.


Since its foundation, Israel has received over $121 billion in aid from the United States. Unfortunately for over seven million Israelis, Uncle Sam’s borrowed cash is not the answer to their government’s problems.

According to Israeli officials, the government is over $200 billion in the red. That means Israelis owe over $28,000 each. For such a small country, debt that accounts for over 79 percent of its GDP sounds somewhat irresponsible.

Just imagine how heartbroken your parents would be if they learned you owe over $350,000 to the bank while making a little over $50,000 a year. Not cool.


If China’s debt had a face, it would look like David Hasselhoff’s getting caught drunk.

Currently, the People’s Republic of China owes over $5 trillion. But do not fret. China is so populous, each individual Chinese owes only a little over $3,000 each. I wonder how many decades of sweatshop work they must put in to get that kind of bill paid.


The US may have Hollywood, but Brazil has Copacabana—and its tanned goddesses in tiny bikinis. But what the US has that Brazil does not is a strong military presence everywhere in the world. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “How in the world did Brazil make it to this list of world powers?” Thing is, I have no idea.

Back to the debt. The country where soccer and drug lords rule is the same country with over $1 trillion in debt. Without having to foot any major national defense bills, one must wonder where all that money is going. Fighting an imaginary enemy, maybe?


Italians love meatballs and spaghetti, but what you may not know is that they also love to drown in debt. With pensions eating up their revenue, Italy’s debt has reached the $2,5 trillion mark, making it one of the most interesting countries in this list. Not because it keeps its promises, though. Instead, it might just go bankrupt pretending it does.


In mother Russia, debt owes you.

All I’m going to say about Russia’s comparatively small debt is that… oh my God, is that a puppy!?

United States

Let’s face it, the United States of America is deep in debt. Things are so bad that the country is not even done paying for World War I, how can it even think about starting a new war with Iran!?

Over $18 trillion in the red, the US doesn’t even have enough to pay for Bo’s curlers. I heard Obama pays the first dog groomers in selfies. Not bad!

Is the world in a race to the bottom? Comment below!

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