HERETOFORE UNIMAGINED The world has never seen the likes of China’s credit frenzy. From year-end 2008 through the third quarter of 2013, assets on the balance sheets of Chinese banks grew by $15.1 trillion to $24.3 trillion. That growth in assets is greater than today’s $14.6 trillion stock of assets at American commercial banks. For further perspective, China’s GDP is reported to sum to $8.9 trillion, America’s to $16.7 trillion. (U.S. national income data should be taken with a grain of salt; for China’s, empty the cellar.) China’s bank footings represent 33.1% of world GDP, though China’s economic output amounts to just 12.2% of world GDP. In 1994, when Japan had the world on a string, Japanese output peaked at 17.9% of global production; in the same year, Japanese banking assets topped out at 27.3% of world GDP. Nineteen years later, Japan’s share of earthly GDP has shrunk to 6.8%, its banking assets to 11.8% of that all-in figure.