State Action and Inaction in the Shaping of Value and Wealth Entanglements: The Role of Singapore in the Global ‘Gold Chain’

Lotte Thomsen*, Karen P.Y. Lai*, Stefano Ponte

*Corresponding author for this work

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Value and wealth creation, capture and protection are important features of contemporary global capitalism. However, global value chains and global wealth chains have been studied mostly in isolation from each other. In this article, we address this limitation by revealing the entanglements of value and wealth in the gold sector. We develop a typology of state action and inaction in value and wealth chains to explain how the state shapes the mobilisation and management of tangible and intangible assets. In our empirical analysis, we chronicle the creation of a ‘gold hub’ in Singapore that pulls together value and wealth functions, and highlight the various roles of the Singaporean state – as facilitator, deregulator-cum-redistributor, and direct actor. We show that entanglements of value and wealth are shaped by specific configurations of state action and inaction, and are built upon intangible dimensions of legal affordance and cultural practice coupled with very tangible facilities and infrastructure. Our analysis pinpoints the co-dependence of value creation and wealth protection systems as vital to processes of accumulation.
Original languageEnglish
Journal Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Epub ahead of print. Published online: 21 August 2023.


  • Global value chains
  • Global wealth chains
  • State
  • Gold
  • Singapore

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