As bad as the Greek financial crisis seems, the land of Pericles is only the second-most-indebted nation in the world. The government of Japan holds top honors: Its debt equals 234% of its GDP. The reason Japan hasn’t been in financial-crisis mode is that it owes most of that money to itself. By contrast, the U.S., seventh on our list, owes $4.4 trillion to foreigners. To China alone Uncle Sam owes a cool $1.1 trillion. Of course, when measured by total debt, the U.S. has the biggest IOU: $14.3 trillion.
By Brian Dumaine / Graphic by Nicolas Rapp