IPE and Sovereign Wealth Funds
International Political Economy and Sovereign Wealth Funds
IBEI, April 30, 2009
Over the past decade, large amounts of capital, amounting to trillions of US dollars, have been accumulated countries in of the Gulf, Singapore, Russia and China. While in the majority of cases this capital has represented the sale of oil, gas or other minerals, in the case of China and Singapore it reflects sustained trade surpluses. Entitled, in a term coined in 2005, ‘Sovereign Wealth Funds’ these bodies, by dint of the capital they can deploy, and because of their being agencies of a state, have attracted widespread interest, and debate, within the world as a whole, both as the longer-term financial and investment implications of these funds, and as to the dangers and opportunities, and the means of regulating these, which SWFs pose for western economies and political systems.
The purpose of this one-day working seminar at IBEI is to establish a set of basic understandings, between participants with a range of specialisms, as to the scale and import of the SWF phenomenon, and as to the kinds of response to them in capital recipient states that may be desirable, legitimate and practicable. This will involve assessing the scale and implications, theoretical and in policy terms, of this shift in global financial power, but also a realistic assessment, not least in the light of the fall of oil prices, of the longer term investment potential of these entities. At the same time, the seminar will seek to confront the phenomenon of SWFs with the existing academic literature in International Political Economy, probing how far IPE categories and theoretical frameworks can comprehend the SWF phenomenon, and what adjustments, of concept and analysis, may be called for.
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