The above post was modded down, but I think it makes a valid point. Consumer Debt, creates an artificial "abundance" which plays into a common weakness of human beings. "If I have excess let me use it" We all know that we are in debt, but because the repayment of debt is not immediate, extra funds are used to buy luxury items instead of being used to pay down debt faster. The guy below said it much better.
I was talking with a bunch of folks recently, and I pointed out that consumer debt is relatively new. Sure there were layaway plans and credit with an individual store - your tab, but this huge industry that throws money out left and right to basically make us slaves.
I think many of our societies problems can go back to consumer debt: these invasions of privacy, college costs going through the roof, this treadmill of consumerism: cars, electronics, luxury goods.
All in all, things were a bit better when credit wasn't so easily available.
Before Henry Ford started financing his cars, folks had to have the cash; which made cars a luxury item. And most people had to take public transportation - which was viable because few people had cars. And of course, we wouldn't need all this oil if we didn't have so many cars.
When you sit down and think about it, consumer credit has really distorted our economy. We all have lost the need and desire to save.