Salsman carefully distinguishes between public credit, which is the ability to take on debt, and public debt. "A sovereign may have too much debt relative to its credit, but its credit alone can never be excessive" (5).
The realist holds that one cannot evaluate whether a public debt is too large if one does not also evaluate the purpose of the debt (e.g., military defense) and the carrying capacity of the economy to pay down the debt.
Hamilton was a realist because he saw the public debt incurred to fund the Revolutionary War as a legitimate debt that should be honored and could be honored--provided the United States developed robust financial institutions.
He was also an admirer of Count Destutt de Tracy, a French political economist who held that all public debt is "evil" and advocated debt repudiation.
The final section of the book reviews the current outlook for the United States (and the developed world) with regard to public debt. Salsman's assessment is that the prospects of paying down or properly managing the public debt are bleak.
The Mena states had a public debt by end of 2012 was $798 billion compared to $757 billion by end of 2011, a 5 per cent change.
They are followed by countries with a public debt of $1-3 trillion.
It revealed that the largest percentage-based increase of the public debt among the countries studied was in Kazakhstan, where the debt increased by more than a third (+32 per cent), moving the country to 58th place in volume of public debt.
WOC's report showed that China is continuing to reduce its public debt, though slowly.