Details Of The $291 Trillion In Derivatives To Which American Taxpayers Are Exposed
By Avery Goodman
The entire US GDP is less than $15 trillion each year. The gross notional amount of derivatives issued in the USA is more than $291 trillion. Does that sound like a lot? Apologists for derivatives dealers don’t like it when we talk about derivatives in terms of the notional totals. Large numbers, like these, discussed publicly, frighten too many people. According to the apologists, gross “notional” is misleading, because it does not include “hedges,” offsets and the limits on interest rate risk.
In fact, the total amount of derivatives cannot be accurately presented in any other form but gross notional obligations. The risk to society cannot be judged in any other way. That’s why the FDIC, US Comptroller of the Currency and the Bank for International Settlement (BIS) all use gross notional.