The financial crisis was more-or-less about debt-fuelled (i.e. leveraged) economic growth that screeched to a halt when loan defaults caused the credit markets to seize.
The post-crisis era has been characterised by countries, corporations, and individuals deleveraging their balance sheets.
Some entities have been able to grow while deleveraging. Others have seen growth stagnate or fall.
At its Global Economics & Strategy Day last Friday, Morgan Stanley circulated a 97-page slide presentation that included this chart fixed income analyst Neil McLeish.
It shows total debt (government, household, financial and corporate) as a percentage of GDP. Two things jump out: 1) debt-to-GDP has been on the rise for decades and 2) the U.S. has been doing a much better job of deleveraging than Europe.