On this edition of Counting the Cost we ask what drives our economy - is it tangible variables or actually a global addiction to credit, debt, central banks printing money, and low interest rates?

It is widely believed that the financial crisis started with Lehman Brothers, and that may be the case, but by the third-quarter of 2008, lending to households had already risen to $12.7tn and consumers were already failing to make their mortgage payments.

There were three rounds of quantitative easing which saved the financial sector, but expanded the Fed's balance sheet to $4.5tn. Now the US debt is almost $18tn, which is slightly higher than the size of the whole economy.

But we have been here before: The Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s was triggered by a build-up of credit and it needed what was, at the time, the biggest bailouts in history.

At the heart of the problem were the banks and corporations, borrowing money for overseas institutions. And yet foreign banks loans in 2006 grew from $210bn to $260bn.

Japan's asset bubble that popped in the 1990s was also fuelled by cheap money with consumers and corporations taking on huge levels of debt. Japan's consumer debt rose nine-fold to 67 trillion yen in 1991. And Japanese industrial companies raised $638bn through the stock market, driving the biggest spending spree since 1945.

As all these recessions seem to have the same starting point, that people and banks take on too much debt, what drives our economy? And are we repeating the mistakes of the past?

Counting the Cost discusses with Philip Lane, Whately Professor of Political Economy at Trinity College in Dublin.

Cyber technology and online safety

In this era we use tablets and smartphones to control a lot of our lives. But a former member of the notorious hacking group Anonymous has told us we do not seem to realise just how vulnerable they are when buying and using internet connected devices.

Cybercrime and hacking is now a huge issue, and the insurance giant Allianz included it in its Top 10 Global Business Risks for 2014.

Predictably things like business and supply interruption, natural catastrophes and fire are at the top of the list, loss of reputation or brand comes in at number six. Cybercrime is only at number eight, but for the first time it has even made it into the top 10.

Phil Lavelle has more from the World Web Summit in Dublin, and we also talk to Richard Ryan, Willis Group's executive director, about the increased cyber risk, and how you actually insure against it.

Boxing, business and grilled foods

The 'Rumble in the Jungle' or the 'Lean Mean Fat Reducing Grilling Machine' they are the both the product of boxing legend George Foreman. Two-time world champion, estimated to be worth $250m, and a recent visitor to Doha.

Sports reporter Richard Parr sat down with him to talk sport and business.

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Source: Al Jazeera