It's starting to appear that the rest of the world is counting on the April 2 meeting in London as a last resort. Sort of like risking the house mortgage on one roll of the dice.
The IMF's latest bulletin warned: "Delays in implementing comprehensive polices to stabilise financial conditions would result in a further intensification of negative feedback... leading to an even longer and deeper recession". Stimulus packages would also need to be maintained in 2010, the IMF said.
The fund also issued a stark warning that the collapse of some national economies in central and eastern Europe could still trigger another wave of banking failures.
The IMF's note, prepared for the G20, warns of a sort of domino effect running through the continent via the banking system as problems in nations such as Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and the Baltic states knock down otherwise relatively healthy advanced economies – including those in Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands.
That, in turn, could trigger a further international panic like the one seen on global stock markets last October.
The UK is among those especially exposed to further weakness in property markets, the IMF warned. "Falling home prices and rising defaults in the United States, United Kingdom and parts of the euro area are already exacerbating strains in the financial system," it said. "Mounting lay-offs would further dampen consumption and residential investment."
The Bank of England policy of "quantitative easing" is endorsed by the IMF, which is encouraging the G20 countries to adopt "unconventional measures" to unlock "key credit markets".
Global debasement of currencies doesn't appear to be a ticket out of this mess, but the IMF sees things differently than me.
However, we do agree on one thing.
The IMF said that it now expects the world economy to contract for the first time since the Second World War, by between 0.5 and 1 per cent, with the advanced economies leading the charge downward: they will see a slump of around 3 to 3.5 per cent – a "deep recession". The most shocking figure is the one published for Japan – a slump of 5.8 per cent in 2009, with a further decline of 0.2 per cent in 2010.
A few days ago, the IMF said that the UK would slide by 3.8 per cent this year with a further shrinkage of 0.2 per cent in 2010. The equivalent figures for the US are -2.6 per cent and 0.2 per cent, and for the eurozone -3.2 per cent and 0.1 per cent.
If this all sounds like something you once read out of a history book, you aren't alone.
Mr Darling has signalled that the meeting must not be allowed to mirror a 1933 summit in London which failed to halt the Great Depression. He said failure to agree co-ordinated action then meant that the Depression continued for years when it “need not have done so”.
The meeting he was referring to was the London Economic Conference in June of 1933.