Caring Capitalists

Illustration for TIME by Matt Kenyon

In an audition for the role of villain in the world's financial markets, sovereign wealth funds would have pushed sub-prime mortgages close in recent months. Huge, government-controlled investment pools from Abu Dhabi to China have helped to rescue Wall Street banks left short by the credit crisis — and still managed to leave Western governments feeling spooked. Their worry: the funds — swollen with foreign-currency reserves or billions in profits from oil and gas — might be hiding dark political motives behind fuzzy financial aims.

It's an easy fear to hype, given how opaque these funds...

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