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Ever since the financial crisis of 2008, doubts have been raised about the future of capitalism. In this broad-ranging survey of financial capitalism from antiquity to the present, Larry Neal reveals the ways in which the financial innovations throughout history have increased trade and prosperity as well as improving standards of living. These innovations have, however, all too often led to financial crises as a result of the failure of effective coordination among banks, capital markets and governments. The book examines this key interrelationship between financial innovation, government regulation and financial crises across three thousand years, showing through past successes and failures the key factors that underpin any successful recovery and sustain economic growth. The result is both an essential introduction to financial capitalism and also a series of workable solutions that will help both to preserve the gains we have already achieved and to mitigate the dangers of future crises.
Larry Neal is Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and was Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science from 2006 to 2014. Specialising in financial history and European economies, he is author of The Rise of Financial Capitalism: International Capital Markets in the Age of Reason (Cambridge, 1991). His recent work includes editing the two Cambridge History of Capitalism volumes - The Rise of Capitalism: From Ancient Origins to 1848 and The Spread of Capitalism: From 1848 to the Present (Cambridge, 2014), and authoring 'I Am Not Master of Events': The Speculations of John Law and Lord Londonderry in the Mississippi and South Sea Bubbles (2012). For many years he was editor of the journal Explorations in Economic History, which now awards an annual prize in his name for the best article published each year. He is past President of the Economic History Association and the Business History Conference and was the Founding Director of the European Union Center at the University of Illinois in 1998, which awards an annual prize in his name for an outstanding book on the European Union. He has been the recipient of fellowships from the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung (1982), when he visited the University of Paderborn in Germany, as well as the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the Fulbright Commission (1996-7), when he visited the London School of Economics and Political Science. He was a visiting professor at the California Institute of Technology in 1998, and the University of California, Los Angeles in 2008, and was named one of the first ten Fellows of the Cliometric Society in 2010.