World’s Strangest

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The Rolling Jubilee

The Occupy Wall Street movement is trying a new tactic to help folks struggling with debt burdens. Banks and other financial traders buy debts from each other for pennies on the dollar, but still try to collect every bit of it plus interest from the debtor. There’s no reason that those debts can’t be bought [...]

The Most Indebted City in the USA

A lot of cities in the United States are broke and in debt, but Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, has the dubious distinction of having the most debt per capita of any U.S. city. The city’s 50,000 [...]

City of Berlin Owes Town Trillions of Euros

In 1562, the German town of Mittenwalde loaned the town of Berlin 11,200 guilders at 6% interest, compounded annually. It would now like to be repaid: According to Radio Berlin Brandenburg (RBB), the debt would amount to 11,200 guilders today, which is roughly equivalent to 112 million euros ($136.79 million). Adjusting for compound interest and inflation, the [...]

City of Berlin Owes Small Town Trillions of Euros

In 1562, the German town of Mittenwalde loaned the town of Berlin 11,200 guilders at 6% interest, compounded annually. Mittenwalde would now like to be repaid: According to Radio Berlin Brandenburg (RBB), the debt would amount to 11,200 guilders today, which is roughly equivalent to 112 million euros ($136.79 million). Adjusting for compound interest and inflation, the [...]

Europe Sovereign Debt Crisis: Who Owes What to Whom

If you’re as confused of the European sovereign debt crisis as the rest of us, this link is NOT going to help, but it sure will entertain you to see how these countries all owe [...]

What If The US Government Paid Off Its Entire Debt?

The idea might seem laughable now, but 11 years ago, when the US was running a budget surplus, the government did a secret study to find out what would happen if it paid off its entire debt. The study’s conclusion? Paying off [...]

Generation Vexed

We’ve got the baby boomers, Gen X, then Gen Y and The Millenials … what do you call young peole of today? Tiffany Hsu and Shan Li of The Los Angeles Times coined the term "Generation [...]

Debt Free Zone: How Liechtenstein Manages to Live Within Its Means

As you may have heard, the United States’ gigantic national debt means we’re firmly in our creditors’ pockets. But what about countries on the opposite end of the spectrum? Who’s got the tiniest national debt? In that arena, it’s tough to beat Liechtenstein. The tiny European principality has a whopping external debt of zero dollars. [...]

That Time in 1979 When the U.S. Government Defaulted

© Kristoffer Tripplaar/Pool/Corbis As the Congressional debate over the debt ceiling rages on this week, more analysts are raising the question of what would happen if the country defaults on U.S. Treasury bonds. For finance types, the notion of the U.S. government defaulting is nearly unthinkable; Treasury securities are considered to be effectively risk-free. Murmurs that [...]

The Undead Debt Collector

If you’ve ever had to deal with debt collectors, you know that they’re relentless. How relentless? Let’s just say that they don’t let a little pesky thing like death deter them from getting back every penny they’re owed! Here’s a fascinating story of how a woman who died in 1995 has been “signing” affidavits for the [...]