You can find bubbliness in bits of American finance, including the corporate-bond market, and some nasty off-balance-sheet liabilities like student loans and public-sector pensions, but America does not look like a source of imminent trouble.
Britain and Japan have changed less. Abenomics has improved Japan's prospects, but government debt is still close to 250% of GDP.In Britain the combination of budget cuts and weak private investment has produced a recovery that is built on the same ingredients—particularly rising house prices—that caused the last bust.Britain is not about to fell the world economy, but growth that was based more on investment, both public and private, would be an awful lot safer.
What about emerging economies, many of which have seen a big run-up in debt?China is often dubbed a Lehman-in-the-making.Since 2008 credit growth in the Middle Kingdom, now the world's second-largest economy, has exploded, and by some estimates is over 200% of GDP.China's financial system has few international connections.
But, as in America in 2008, there is uncertainty about the true size of its debts and how much of them will be repaid.The danger China poses depends on the third ingredient of the Lehman conflagration: how the government behaves when trouble strikes.The country is a big net saver, the banking system is still largely deposit-funded and the government has the fiscal capacity to underwrite troubled loans.
Provided it does so, the odds of a sudden collapse with global ramifications are low.From Brazil to Thailand, many of the other emerging economies that are now wobbling have also seen credit booms.
The difference with China is their vulnerability to global financial flows.Today's drought in foreign capital is pushing down currencies like India's rupee and making current-account deficits harder to finance.
In the 1990s that dynamic caused crises. But this time round most countries' defences are more powerful.Exchange rates float, far more debt is denominated in domestic currency and reserves are fatter.
Some places may be overwhelmed: our index of vulnerability has Turkey flashing reddest.Most are likely to suffer slower growth.If there is one part of the world that could still bring about another global meltdown, it is the euro area.Though less Lehman-like than a year ago, it remains a worry.
Its debt problems are growing, not shrinking: European banks have thinner equity buffers than their American counterparts, and have written down far fewer debts.In the troubled economies on Europe's periphery recession has made it hard to reduce debt burdens of all sorts.
Too much austerity has proved counterproductive.A destabilising political back lash remains a danger, given Europe's sky-high jobless rates.Its sleepwalking leaders cannot agree on how to complete necessary reforms, such as a proper banking union, while the European Central Bank's ability to live up to its brave pledge to “do whatever it takes” to save the euro remains untested.
There may be no new Lehman-sized catastrophes on the near horizon.But plenty of smaller crises-in-the-making dot the landscape—and a potentially big one continues to threaten Europe.
Five years on, global finance is a long way from safe.