Debt—and the aversion to it—defines the post-financial-crisis era. Developed economies are still recovering from the debt-fueled boom that burst in 2008. And emerging-market companies—from Latin American oil giants to Chinese property developers—have been on a borrowing binge. Whether it's hedge funds crusading against Argentina or China's effort to keep its housing market from toppling, debt is at the heart of many big stories.

Reuters / Toru Hanai

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