This introductory chapter begins with a discussion of how the study of securities markets has been neglected. It argues that a full understanding of the past can inform present and future decisions through the ability to identify those features that were most important and their consequences. To achieve this end, it is vital to place the development of securities markets in their appropriate historical setting and use comparisons as analytical tools in order to produce conclusions of value. The tension between securities markets and governments, securities markets and stock exchanges, and between national securities markets and the global marketplace is described.
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