WASHINGTON -- Last week's annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank proved again that government bureaucracies cannot do much to influence big changes in global capital markets.

The government of the United States and other industrial countries, which basically run the IMF and the World Bank, did a little crisis management and consulting. But they could not do much to halt the wreckage in European financial markets. The huge currency markets called the shots, and in the end, officials threw in the towel and admitted they were being overpowered by events.

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