By reducing the need for radical innovation, the speed and efficacy of the response left the world economy less reformed and so vulnerable to the same forces that made the crisis possible in the first place.
Several shortcomings stand out.
In dealing with the Depression, governments ultimately discarded the gold standard, the global currency regime that helped propagate the disaster.
Countries on gold sacrificed monetary-policy independence, and had to respond to a loss of market confidence with an economy-bashing increase in interest rates, for instance.
The system transmitted distress around the world.
When one country acted to build up its gold reserves, others saw a sudden drain on theirs.
The sooner a country left gold in the 1930s, the sooner its recovery began.
But the international system that facilitated the more recent financial crisis has been neither abandoned nor reformed.
Open capital flows can put countries at the mercy of sudden swings in market sentiment.
To manage this, many emerging markets accumulate foreign-exchange reserves, which can be drawn on in crisis.
But these reserves add to a global glut of capital which depresses interest rates and encourages borrowing.
Because reserves are so often held in the form of dollar-denominated bonds, they can destabilise the American economy.
They also heighten the world's exposure to American financial stumbles.
This regime helped turn an American housing bust into a global crisis, and remains in place now.