What should be the place of finance in social theory? What is the relationship between finance and democracy? The article identifies four major frameworks that analyse finance: orthodox, drawing on Adam Smith; political economy, drawing on Marx; heterodox, drawing on Keynes and Minsky; and societal, drawing on Polanyi. These frameworks are critically analysed along five dimensions: the conceptualization of finance; the relations between finance and the economy; the relations between finance and the state; the relations between finance and society; and the nature of the social system. A new framework for the analysis of finance in society is constructed from these elements. This is used to analyse the relations between finance and democracy and the prospects for the regulation of finance.