IN THE years before the financial crisis, the rich world was surfing on a wave of private debt. Our interactive guide (updated on September 19th 2012) shows levels of debt as a percentage of GDP for a selection of rich countries and emerging markets. Between the first quarter of 2004 and the first quarter of 2009, private-sector non-financial debt rose by an average of 43% of GDP in the Western countries shown (excluding Germany). Since the crisis the debt burden has spread to the public balance-sheet. The costs of bail-outs and fiscal stimulus, and the effects of slow economic growth on tax revenues, have sent the ratio of government debt to GDP spiralling. The private sector has at least begun to deleverage: private-sector non-financial debt has decreased by eight percentage points on average in the past three years for those same six countries. But there is an awfully long way to go to turn back the clock. Daily chart: The debtors’ merry-go-round | The Economist.