Chapter 9: Banks and geopolitics: issues of finance connections
This chapter will deal with the position of banks within the “geography of capital” through a “geo-history” that has been open to the world for a quarter century. The financial world has evolved in the past decades. In the 1980s there was the revolution of the capital market banks. In the1990s, developing countries such as China and the oil producing countries of the Middle East and India began to flex their financial muscle. During this period, the financial profession began a process of globalization of “open” economies and the implementation of a globalized and integrated management. Organizations needed to reconfigure their operational systems. Traditional hegemonic centers had to: (1) revamp their banking strategies, (2) consolidate their historic bases, (3) detect opportunities offered by new business spaces, and (4) redraw their portfolio of strategic activities and services in keeping with the reconfiguration of their spatial bases. Banks were mostly “national” bodies and were either nationalized, cooperative, philanthropic (savings banks), or shuttered within national rules. They lacked true international mindsets and strategies apart from foreign exchange (forex) and trade finance. They lived within a legacy of imperial banking. The issue of geopolitics gathered momentum when the challenges of general globalization opened the doors to an international scramble for new markets (East Europe, Asia) and the deregulations which began in the mid-1980s.
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