But over the same period, Bank of England stats show an annualised average increase in M4 bank lending of c. 13.5%, which suggests that lending grows at 4.5% p.a. above GDP. If that's right, UK bank lending as a proportion of GDP doubles every 16 years.
Can that be right? And what about the ratio of credit to the total of all national assets? Is that increasing, too? Because it looks as though eventually, the banks must own everything.
I reproduce below a graph from a mid-August post on Marc Fleury's blog. This shows the long-term ratio of total credit to GDP in the United States, and the current level of indebtedness seems to be way, way above the Great Crash situation in 1929.
Somebody please put me right and/or direct me to authorities and information sources.
My mind keeps saying, "This cannot be right, surely everything is sort of normal, really, we'll muddle through." I find myself discounting even McCain's Churchill quotation ("This isn't the beginning of the end of this crisis. This is the end of the beginning") and the politicians' use of the word "meltdown" to bounce Congress into accepting the bailout package proposals. I have spent years warning about a possible crash, but I've never, I think, allowed myself to get apocalyptic. I prefer my disaster movies to stay safely in the cinema.
So, how bad is it really, and does the banking system really have a tendency to acquire everything?