How much can governments borrow? In practice, government debt levels vary markedly relative to the size of their economies. Some countries face a debt crisis, and, as a result, face the need to cut spending or raise taxes, at half the level of indebtedness of others. Hardie explains this difference by focusing on three emerging markets: Brazil, Lebanon and Turkey. He highlights the nature of the investor base as central to borrowing capacity. Based on interviews with 126 financial market actors, he considers financial markets in a detail rarely seen in political economy studies. Hardie argues that increased financialization decreases government borrowing capacity, and shows how increasing the ability of investors to trade risk - increasing financialization - decreases, rather than increases, the ability of emerging market governments to borrow on a sustainable basis.