Americans have far more access to credit then almost anywhere else in the world so naturally people are going to take advantage of that and ring up large amounts of debt, I feel that to many take advantage of this and get themselves into trouble they can't get out of.
Being in debt is not considered a vice here in America. In fact, it is pretty much the standard norm for citizens of the country. Being in debt is practically considered having good credit, as why would a credit card company want someone who doesn't owe them copious amounts of money?
Considering we have some of the richest people in the world living in this country. Considering America is considered the richest country in the world. Which means, the people who are not rich owe all these rich people money. Sounds like a logical reason to me anyways. That would make our consumer debt higher than other countries.
I think that the culture of shopping in America is worse than it is in other countries. There is more of a willingness in America for its citizens to use credit cards than any other country. That is why I believe that consumer debts in America is worse than other countries.
Consumer debt in the United States is definitely a problem, but it is not higher than that in most other countries. I have visited countries where consumer debt is a larger problem than in the United States, and by a long shot. Argentina and Thailand are two great examples of this.