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Adam D. Dixon

Finance is a core component of capitalist market economies and is pervasive in many aspects of daily life. With increasing global integration of financial markets across and within countries, financial markets are increasingly able to price history and geography, leaving almost no country or industry untouched. This chapter unpacks the power of financial markets to effect political-economic change, and the tendency of power to concentrate within financial markets and the financial services industry due to spatial and informational asymmetries between intermediaries and their clients. The chapter finishes by questioning the resilience of efforts to challenge such dominance.

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Adam D. Dixon

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Adam D. Dixon

This chapter situates the China Investment Corporation (CIC) within the rise of sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) in the global political economy in the last decade, unpacking their different forms and functions as institutional investors and as policy tools to address fiscal and monetary policy dilemmas. It furthers this conventional account by considering the growth of SWFs as a power resource for states to engage the global financial economy, while also providing a source of resistance against the power of the market and global economic and social change. The problem is that as a power resource, SWFs are not easily qualified as entities focused exclusively on investing subject to purely financial motivations. Separating the inherent political nature of SWFs is impossible. This does not mean, however, that SWFs are necessarily a nefarious force that will undermine market architecture and efficiency. In the case of the CIC, rather than reflecting an exclusive concern for maximizing the long-run risk adjusted return on its investments, it is an arm of the Chinese government that is focused on addressing China’s economic development needs.