State Investment Funds in Asia: Beyond Financialisation

The Strategic Logics of State Investment Funds in Asia: Beyond Financialisation” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2020.1841267) is a new open access paper by Adam D. Dixon of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Maastricht University in The Netherlands.

The abstract for the paper states:

Financialisation presents a constraint on state power. It also offers opportunities. State-led development, with the Asian experience at the forefront, is increasingly operationalised through different forms of state investment funds. Some of these funds have a strategic development mandate underwritten by a shareholder-value logic. While financialisation as a concept gives meaning to the embrace of the shareholder value model to explain the convergence of sovereign funds with operational practices and guiding norms of conventional financial market actors, it is insufficient in explaining how and why state investment funds differ from conventional financial actors and the underlying political dynamics that drive their emergence and evolution. To address this gap, this article advances three strategic logics: a developmental logic, a logic of regime maintenance, and a geo-political legitimacy logic. Reference to these logics provides a more nuanced understanding of state financialisation, avoiding a potentially narrow reading presented by the convergence dynamics inherent in the adoption of conventional financial practices. As such, this article contributes to emerging debates in political economy on the employment of financial logics in the pursuit of economic and political statecraft. The argument is developed empirically through an analysis of strategic investment funds in Singapore, Malaysia and Kazakhstan.

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