If you haven't paid too much attention to this whole banking fiasco, you should really give yourself a few moments and read George Soros explaining what happened and what needs to happen to get the global economy going again
. It gives a great summary of how it went down and some interesting points looking to the future.
Finally, the international financial system must be reformed. Far from providing a level playing field, the current system favours the countries in control of the international financial institutions, notably the US, to the detriment of nations at the periphery. The periphery countries have been subject to the market discipline dictated by the Washington consensus but the US was exempt from it.
How unfair the system is has been revealed by a crisis that originated in the US yet is doing more damage to the periphery. Assistance is needed to protect the financial systems of periphery countries, including trade finance, something that will require large contingency funds available at little notice for brief periods of time. Periphery governments will also need long-term financing to enable them to engage in counter-cyclical fiscal policies.
It don't look pretty.