Saudi Arabia oil refinery Tom Stoddart/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

State Capitalism 2.0

The collapse of the Soviet Union may not have marked the end of history, but it did inaugurate a "golden age" for laissez-faire economics. And yet, in less than 30 years, the retreat of the state has been reversed, with sovereign owners playing a more active role in corporate governance.

GENEVA – The fall of the Berlin Wall almost 30 years ago represented a high-water mark in the retreat of the state from the global economy, signaling a defeat of socialist economics virtually worldwide. From dirigiste France to communist China, countries with widely divergent economic models began to adopt a more laissez-faire policymaking approach, predicated on the idea that the less state intervention, the better.