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Tom West

With teh original chart, I am torn between the idea of having two-way arrows (borrow/lend) and one-way arrows (net).
My main objection is that it is hard to relate teh size of the discs to teh size of the arrows.. at first glance, it looks like 80-90% of Italy's debt is owed to France, when really it's a bit more than half.

The other way would eb to scale things by % of GDP... the original chart fails to bring home the fact that Italy and Greece's debt as a % of GDP is similar (which I only know form elsewhere). However, it does show France has the most to loose (though I wish they had been consistent about the order Britain/France/Germany are listed). (Oh, and it should be "UK" not "Britain".)

It also implies that the UK seems to make money out of borrowing at a low rate (UK being AAA), and then lending at a higehr rate (to Greece etc.)...

Peter H

Nicely done!

Cory Padfield

Your pentagonal diagrams at the bottom are excellent.


I agree with the other comments; the pentagrams are very nice. I have an idea and am curious to know what you think about it. At the moment the lines have two sizes: short if the countries share an edge on the pentagram, long if they don't. Would it be worthwhile to make the length of line proportional to the net amount?


The difference between "lent" and "owes" would suggest that ireland has the biggest problem. But the eye is drawn to Greece because of all red arrows.


I think my question above is answered by your point 2): since each debt is expressed in per capita of the borrower, it doesn't make sense to compare a black line with a red line in the same pentagon. The only set of lines completely comparable within a pentagon is Greece's, since all of them are expressed in per capita of Greece.

If only I would have realized this earlier. I could have saved all the time I just put into making what I thought were some great-looking graphs.


JF: You identified a flaw in the graph... that the borrower and lender nations have different populations.
Here is the fix:
1) Fill the empty cells in the DEBT PER CAPITA table. Where you see a blank cell, fill in the correpondingly debt between the countries divided by the population of the lender. Say between Portugal (row) and Ireland (column), it would be 16.6 billion divided by 10.6 million (=$1566)
2) In plotting the chart, for each pentagon, use the number that has that country's population as the base (for both red and black lines). Because of this correction, the size of per-capita lending is not the same as that of the per-capita borrower for any given pair of countries. For example, the black line on the Portugal chart between Portugal and Ireland should be how much the average Portuguese lends to Ireland, which is $1566 rather than $3723 (and this is how much the average Irish borrows from Portugal).
I will fix the images above when I get the chance. Thanks for spotting the issue.


Thanks for responding.

I like this solution. I had come to this conclusion, too, after deciding I had spent too much effort on making graphs to give it up.

(Also, I don't know why I said `pentagram' above instead of `pentagon'.)

Sexy Black Women

Great analysis! Indeed Europe does have major economic issues and it's good to see it laid out so eloquently.


It would be useful to know the amounts "PIIGS" lended to France, UK and Germany i.e. how much of D, F and UK public debt is held by PIIGS

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