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The recent financial crisis has had more column inches devoted to it than any other occurrence in economics and finance of the past twenty five years. That the behaviour of key actors has been alarmingly unchanged would appear to indicate that lessons may not have been fully learned. This text attempts to put the situation into historical perspective and analyzes the major crises that have occurred since the eighteenth century, identifying the common patterns related to their sources, propagation mechanisms and resolution. Then, the author introduces the basic economic concepts that are indissoluble from financial crises - pricing, resource allocation, efficiency, market failure, risk, uncertainty, information, regulation and leverage “ before examining the paradigmatic divide in economics concerning how markets work and the scope for government regulatory intervention in markets.