Bad things happen in October. It was in this month 13 years ago that the global banking system came close to imploding. There was a stock market bloodbath in October 1987. And it was in October 1929 that the Wall Street Crash triggered the Great Depression.

One consequence of the economic horrors of the 1930s was the creation of the International Monetary Fund, with the idea to create a multilateral body that would help countries through short-term problems and prevent systemic crises from developing.

Judged by this metric, the IMF has been a success. There has been no repeat of the Great Depression, although in 2008 the world came close to it. The annual meeting of the IMF that year came only a couple of weeks after the collapse of the investment bank Lehman Brothers raised doubts about the viability of many other financial institutions. Finance ministers and central bank governors got together in Washington to piece together a

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