Cover story of the latest Economist: "The dark side of debt". The big theme of this article is the rise of private debt issuance. Here's a taste:
The world is once again in the grip of a spree of lending, but this time to companies rather than countries. What is striking is that much of this lending is happening not through public share and bond markets, nor exclusively through banks (see article). The issuance of syndicated loans vaulted to $3.5 trillion last year, from $2.3 trillion in 2000. Thanks to the low cost of debt, private lenders, such as hedge funds, are extending vast amounts of credit to leveraged buy-out firms and other private borrowers. Forsaking the sunlit uplands of global finance, the market for capital is plunging into the shadows.
Check it out at the link above.