I think America's embrace of household debt is on the wane for a number of reasons. Among the most important reasons is that lenders have learned the hard way that the consumer is a riskier borrrower than they thought.

But on a more positive note it seems that the growing embrace of "sustainability," especially among young people, could give added impetus to a trend of avoiding debt and saving more. It's striking how discussions on sustainability, say, on the merits of various ways to lower your carbon footprint, often include asides on staying away from The "sustainability" movement and its message of conservative consumerism and fiscal probity could end up moving from the tributaries of society to the social mainstream. (Much as organic foods moved from the rare coop in certain neighborhoods to the grocery aisles at Wal-Mart.) The sustainability gospel that "less is more" gives additional momentum to a greater appreciation of thrift.

At least this is an idea I'm exploring.

Follow Chris Farrell at @cfarrellecon