The professed multidisciplinarity of IPE rarely extends to taking history and the historical mode of thought seriously. This article explores the relevance to IPE of the work of one historian, Fernand Braudel, and asks what insights his approach might provide for the study of finance. It argues that a Braudelian perspective on IPE allows us to apprehend the structural organization of the international economy in an innovative and perceptive way. In particular, a consideration of finance from this perspective reveals that the institutional networks which constitute the 'worlds' of finance perceive and respond to quite different motivating forces, and that these different impulses provide inherent structural impediments to the spread of globalization beyond what Braudel calls the realm of capitalism, the non-transparent arena in which speculation and large-scale risk-taking predominate. The article closes on a reflective note by considering Braudel's place within the discipline and by noting the challenge posed to IPE by adopting the historical mode of thought.