Collective Effort, Private Accumulation: Constructing the Luxembourg Investment Fund, 1956-2019
Book Chapter or Section
In this chapter, I address capital accumulation by means of analyzing one of this process’s most economically successful administrative vehicles: the Luxembourg investment fund – which hosts, at present, nearly $5 trillion in assets. In the 1950s, officials from foreign investment companies came looking for an ultra-low-tax domicile from which to sell their “products.” However, Luxembourg’s long-used H29 holding company – a structure designed to avoid double (or any) taxation on the assets of rich foreign clients – would not work on its own as a vehicle for investment funds. Thus, local attorneys began to alter the H29 in piecemeal fashion, with the intention of creating a framework to facilitate capital accumulation via Luxembourg-administered funds. During the 1980s, amid Europe’s deepening market integration, a local working group was charged with formulating an EEC-wide scheme, or “passport,” for investment funds. In 1988, the Luxembourgish government swiftly implemented the first EEC directive for investment funds into law. Today, this “industry” has long exceeded the level of assets from before the 2008-09 global financial crisis. In this light, I predict that Luxembourg’s fund administrators will have a hand in shaping future versions of global capitalism, complete with the promise and misery they will no doubt engender.
Weeks, Samuel. 2020. “Collective Effort, Private Accumulation: Constructing the Luxembourg Investment Fund, 1956-2019.” In Accumulating Capital Today: Contemporary Strategies of Profit and Dispossessive Policies. Marlène Benquet and Théo Bourgeron, eds. Pp. 89-103. Oxford: Routledge.
This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge/CRC Press in Accumulating Capital Today: Contemporary Strategies of Profit and Dispossessive Policies on December 31, 2020, available online: https://www.routledge.com/9780367545000 or http://www.crcpress.com/9780367545000