I understand the need for the difficulty to increase to keep the target amount of bitcoins being mined up to a set level but is waiting 4 hours to generate a block and get confirmations going to start hurting the economy? The present round is taking forever and transactions that took 30 minutes two weeks ago now could reach the 8hr mark to be confirmed. Bitcoinmonitor
Hope this is a temporary situation.
is showing at least four blocks in the past hour. Bitcoincharts
is showing an average of 7.2 blocks per hour.
I assume from your comment about "the present round" that you're looking at one mining pool in isolation, and not the entire network?