History is institutional memory writ large. One looks at economic history to see what problems recur, what causes them to recur, what solutions have worked best in the past, and which interventions have made the problems worse. The authors argue that a moderately complex interaction between the workings of the financial sector, the way in which the political system is organized, and the administration of regulation makes perfect regulation of the financial sector extremely unlikely. Many of these problems arise as a result of conflicting incentives for those participating in and regulating the financial field. The authors find that some proposed solutions have improved matters but have costs, and that some proposed solutions have actually worsened problems in the financial sector.
Peoples and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it.
—Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, 1837