Some of my hawkier commenters, as well as other people on the web, express the belief that we need to let things come crashing down now without intervention, because if we go on, it will be even worse.

I'm not sure what they're imagining when they say "even worse".  Say GDP contracts by a third and unemployment hits 25% or so--a not unreasonable supposition if we'd let the money market be destroyed and pushed all the institutions that regularly borrow there into liquidation.    Short of aerial bombing, there is no "even worse"; that's what a country looks like when its financial system collapses.

I suspect there's an awful lot of anthropomorphizing the economy going on here.  What happens to an economy when its credit system implodes is not that it cancels the cable subscription and takes a second job waiting tables on weekends.  What happens is that everyone stops making so much stuff, because no one else wants to buy their stuff.    Everyone's living standard falls, especially those who are shoved into the double-digit unemployment figures caused by the dislocation.

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