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Sovereign wealth funds in the context of subordinate financialisation: the Turkey wealth fund in a comparative perspective

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2019
İpek, Ali Mert
As state-owned investment institutions, sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) are important actors in today’s global finance. In the last few decades, not only the total number of SWFs around the world increased dramatically, but also the total value of assets under management of SWFs reached considerable levels. Therefore, it is not surprising that there has been a proliferation of studies undertaken by scholars with a quest to make sense of these institutions, especially since the mid-2000s. The great majority of these works, however, fall short of developing a genuine explanatory framework to the extent that they carry certain shortcomings of the mainstream scholarship. In this respect, this thesis aims to overcome these drawbacks in studying SWFs by drawing insights from the critical international political economy tradition. It accounts for the emergence and spread of SWFs in the developing and emerging capitalist economies particularly, and provides a comparative analysis of the Turkey Wealth Fund (TWF). The thesis argues that the raison d'etre of SWFs and their significance could only be understood meaningfully in the context of complex dynamics of the hierarchically-organised world market in contemporary capitalism, and subordinate character of financialisation in these countries. In this regard, it concerns the underlying social relations and historical specificity of SWFs in capitalist development to investigate the similarities and varieties among them in the different parts of the world. The thesis also put the TWF under close scrutiny to discuss its place in the political economy of neoliberal transformation and financialisation in Turkey.