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Abstract

One of the most striking developments of the late 20th century was the explosion in the volume, speed and complexity of international financial transactions, and the resulting breakdown of effective regulatory control over the global financial system. The speed with which this process has gone into reverse since the onset of the financial crisis has been equally striking. Transactions in the global foreign exchange market, once confined to financing trade flows, peaked at around $4 trillion per day in mid-2008. At that pace, two days of foreign exchange trading would be sufficient to finance an entire year’s trade flows. The growth of private credit reached an annualised rate of $10 trillion at the same time.

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