Back during the Asian credit crisis in the 1990s, MIT-trained economist and hedge fund manager Nandu Narayanan took a close look at the ratio of a country’s credit to its gross domestic product, BusinessWeek Online reports. In Malaysia, for instance, it was 220%, meaning $2.20 worth of debt for every dollar of economic output.

Looking at the U.S. market late last year, Narayanan, manager of the $100 million Trident Investment Management fund, found that the ratio was between 370% and 440%, which he called “well north of anything ever seen in most countries of the world.”

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