State capitalist impulses: the rise, fall, and rise again of sovereign wealth funds in Ireland

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State-owned investment funds have grown in number in recent years. This growth is curious in that it comes at a time when the barriers to the free flow of financial capital across borders is extremely low and capital is generally in abundance. Although it is certainly relevant that capital does not always flow to the most socially and economically useful places, which could justify the need for some form of state intervention, such intervention is puzzling with so much abundance. In short, what explains the joint and concurrent expansion globally of the state’s role as promoter, supervisor and owner of capital? Contrasting arguments that take the emergence of new state financial institutions as indicative of some countermovement to neoliberal globalisation, or as catch-up development, this article provides an explanation based on a reflexive reading of ‘state capitalism’ whereby the development and expansion of different forms of state financial institution are material manifestations of state capitalist impulses rooted in the state’s ongoing political mediation of global capital accumulation. This article focuses empirically on the development and evolution of state financial institutions in Ireland, specifically the National Development Corporation, the National Pensions Reserve Fund, and the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-95
Number of pages16
JournalFinance and Space
Issue number1
Early online date21 Apr 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Apr 2024


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