A partial conversion: how the ‘unholy trinity’ of global economic governance adapts to state capitalism

Ilias Alami, Jack Taggart*

*Corresponding author for this work

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To what extent is neoliberal global economic governance transforming in a world where states play greater roles as promoters, supervisors and owners of capital? Do these transformations signal a potential paradigm shift? To answer these questions, we focus on global financial governance and the trade and investment regime. We analyse recent policy documents from the IMF, World Bank and WTO – the ‘Unholy Trinity’ of neoliberal global governance. Our analysis reveals a growing acceptance of state interventionism within and across these organizations. Although this accommodation is significant, we argue that it constitutes a limited transformation. We observe attempts to incorporate emerging state interventionist practices and state-owned entities into established governance arrangements in order to discipline, curtail and control them. We argue that this does not signify a shift towards post-neoliberal plurality within Western-dominated global economic governance, but rather a defensive, ‘mutating neoliberalism’ which seeks to incorporate depoliticized and commercially oriented state ownership into its mainframe.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages27
JournalEuropean Journal of International Relations
Early online date31 Jan 2024
Publication statusEarly online date - 31 Jan 2024


  • state capitalism
  • global economic governance
  • capital controls
  • state-owned enterprises


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