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From the establishment of the first financial institutions to the latest bank rescues, this book traces the origins, development, regulation, and trajectory of the framework for capital market institutions and activities in the Nordic region. This evolution is examined from a broader comparative perspective, in the context of similar events and stages in Europe more widely. In so doing, it analyses some broader issues in economic history. For example, it demonstrates that there has been little difference between the balance sheet ratios of failed banks and surviving banks. Moreover, it is highly critical of the 'Basel II' accord and questions the widespread myth of the omnipotence of central banks. It also warns that overly tight regulation will not prevent future bank failures, and may even produce other and no less palatable problems.

The book will appeal to everyone with an interest in the historical sociology of capitalism, as well as those wanting a handy reference guide on the history of finance in Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland.

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