To whom is international debt owed?

A question from Yahoo! Answers:

If every country in the world, including the USA, has a foreign debt, to whom, where or what is it all owed?

It seems to me that some entity – at some time, uh, I don’t know when – must be in for a large windfall!

Do you believe that a lot of deception exists in the world of finance?

Is it realistic to believe that a nation’s wealth is stored in gold bullion in a vault somewhere?

Is Fort Knox really a lot of BULL-ion?

Why isn’t some of that alleged bullion being used to pay off some of the foreign debt of the United States or even to feed and look after its own people, as well as others? Isn’t it really a waste of gold chains that could be made out of it? After all, gold only has an ascribed value due to its status as a precious metal, not a major intrinsic one.

Do you believe that money is really created out of thin air in the form of credit, issued by the major world bankers, who have chiselled some kind of monopoly (over what, I don’t know, maybe hot air)?

First of all, what you call a country’s international debt is in fact the government’s international debt. Governments borrow from private sector, and some of this borrowing just happens to be international.

So your question about nation’s wealth and gold bullion is irrelevant. The wealth that creditors count on when they lend to a government is tax revenues, not gold bars.

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