When we talk about debt and its economic impact, we usually centre on "government debt," and overlook the debt owed by individuals and firms that is vital to truly understanding the economy. In this iconoclastic book, Richard Vague examines the assets, liabilities, and incomes of the American economy as a whole, not just of the government. The book shows that debt growth in excess of GDP growth is a feature of modern economic systems, not a bug-and thus ever-increasing leverage is built into the very structure of the economy. Vague uses the data presented in the book to show that rising debt is the primary source of economic growth, new money creation, and wealth creation-but that it also brings heightened inequality and can bring economic calamity when left unchecked. Vague also compares and contrasts the financial data of the U.S. to the world's other largest economies. As an expert on the role of private debt in the global economy, Vague offers an innovative set of policies to try to manage this debt paradox. Whether you are a policymaker or a private citizen looking to understand these dynamics, this book is an indispensable guide.