From the BBC synopsis-
"Lord Turner claims the ramifications reach much further than the individual. When growth increasingly depends upon borrowing in order to fuel consumer spending, he argues, the whole economy is rendered more vulnerable to collapse."
As recent stock market fluctuations, especially in China, suggest and analysis from economists like Steve Keen highlight in the absence of increases in income personal debt levels are an important factor in the general level of economic activity. Made more problematic by the consumers preference for debt base consumption than investment in productive measures with returns on investment. As Professor Atif Mian, co-author of The House of Debt, argues in the piece excessive mortgage debt was the key cause of the recession after 2008, rather than the banks' inability to lend more money. While this is true another way of looking at the financial crisis was that while debt holders were either defaulting or paying down debts having the effect of taking money out of the economy, banks and consumers were not replenishing the stock of funds with newly created debt to boost the quantity in circulation.
The piece is full of quotes from politicians who are totally wrong on the subject particularly regarding the ability of public finances. Of significance to us here is the highlighting of a report by the Uk's Office for Budget Responsibility
(Starting at 27:00) that: "While Chancellor George Osbournes policies will indeed make public debt fall, it also says that personal debts will have to rise from 150% to 180% by 2020 if the economy will continue to grow."
If you take anything away from this broadcast let this be it. If the public sector runs a surplus the private sector must as a matter of accounting either borrow or shrink in response.This is the foundation of how we must view the debate surrounding public debts with the recognition that over reliance on private debt will continue to produce the boom and bust cycles we've experienced.