States are currently designing new strategies and modalities of intervention in order to adapt to the lasting impacts that the covid-19 Great Lockdown will have on industrial structures, financial systems, global and regional value chains, the nature of business competition, and the world of work. While the forms of reassertion of state authority are likely to be extremely diverse, STASIS focuses in particular on the repositioning of European states with respect to investment from state enterprises, state-owned banks, and state-sponsored investment funds, or what commentators increasingly refer to as ‘state capitalist’ investment. There are concerns that firms impacted by covid-19 may be targeted by 'predatory' state-sponsored investors from beyond Europe, as the crisis is being seized as a strategic opportunity to acquire underpriced assets. STASIS offers an original study of how European states are seeking to regulate state capitalist investment from abroad, in light of the tension between attracting foreign capital and retaining control of critical firms and assets, and as parts of broader attempts to construct new regimes of competition, profitability and growth. It proposes to advance scholarly understandings of the political economy of these investments and regulations, by scrutinising the actors, processes, and multiple forms of contestation they involve within and across economic sectors and European states. It uses mixed methods involving 60 semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders, a close reading of policy documents and public reports, and economic analysis, in order to explore empirically-grounded case studies (a comparison of the regulations implemented by Germany and France, and a comparison of 2 economic sectors: Health & Biotech; Artificial Intelligence & Robotics). The study, grounded in geographical political economy, brings together recent literature on state capitalism, economic geographies of crisis transition, and labour mobilisations.
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