"Desperate hope" is an oxymoron, which sounds like a dumb bull: mine is that we will have a tough landing rather than a complete crash. Goading the dumb bulls is The Mogambo Guru (Richard Daughty), who delivers another comical end-of-the-world sermon on inflation. He thinks dropping interest rates will encourage borrowers to take on still more debt.
However, many have already pointed out that (a) lending criteria are tightening and (b) not all of the interest rate cut is being passed on to the borrower. So lenders are trying to reduce their exposure and are also being paid more for the risk they have already assumed. And we see from this Christmas shopping season that (c) the consumer is becoming more reluctant to spend.
That's not to say that we won't get inflation (in some sectors, not housing), since falling interest rates tend to depreciate the currencies of debtor countries relative to their cash-rich trading partners. On the other hand, the latter will continue trying to hold down their currencies, in an attempt to keep the show on the road - the show being the osmosis of wealth from the lazy, spendthrift West to the hard-working, hard-saving developing world.
We're going to be buying less, but I don't know how fast the Eastern co-prosperity sphere will take up the slack. In his book "The Dollar Crisis", Richard Duncan argues for a worldwide minimum wage to stimulate demand; but maybe events have overtaken him. Certainly, China aims to expand its middle class, rapidly.
But there's another way for China to stave off depression while waiting for the sun to rise in the East. According to James Kynge, manufacturing and transportation costs account for only about 15% of the end-price of Chinese exports to the US. Some of the expanding Chinese middle class will surely go into advertising, marketing, sales, distribution and finance. As China develops its own version of Wal-Mart, Omnicom and banking, credit card and financing operations, it'll own more of the total profit in the supply chain - some of which it can sacrifice to retain market share. And they're motivated to do so by the fact that domestic consumption yields very little profit for their companies: the money's in exports. The longer this game goes on, the more the decline of capital and skilled labour at our end.
So let's worry about the effects at home first. Yes, for investors inflation may be a worry, but perhaps they should extend their concern to include the stability of the society in which they live, as unemployment and insolvency stalk through the West. The issues are no longer financial, but political and social.
And we'd better hope that we don't go for the wrong solutions. Daughty quotes Ambrose Evans-Pritchard's 12 December article in The Daily Telegraph, which concludes (amazingly), "... it may now take a strong draught of socialism to save the Western democracies." I do not think Mr Evans-Pritchard is very old. Or maybe he's just saying that to bug the squares, an expression I'll wager he's too young to remember.