Investing: That Sinking Feeling

Illustration for TIME by Selçuk Demirel / Marlena Agency Inc

Early last Winter, when the west was suffering the first casualties of the credit crisis, sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) rode to the rescue, providing over $40 billion in capital to some of the largest of the faltering U.S. and European banks. The U.S. government — reluctant to bail out banks directly — welcomed this infusion, even though SWFs are investment arms of foreign governments and American politicians are often suspicious of outsiders acquiring stakes in key domestic assets. So instead of a bailout of financial institutions by American taxpayers, we saw a foreign-funded...

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