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 which 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.