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Reshaping the Regulatory Landscape: Border Skirmishes around the Bahamas and Cayman Offshore Financial Centres

Alan C. Hudson
Review of International Political Economy
Vol. 5, No. 3 (Autumn, 1998), pp. 534-564
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4177284
Page Count: 31
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Reshaping the Regulatory Landscape: Border Skirmishes around the Bahamas and Cayman Offshore Financial Centres
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Abstract

Processes of globalization involve changes in the spatialities of power and social relations. This article develops a theory of regulatory landscapes, as a conceptual tool to aid our understanding of processes of globalization. Regulatory landscapes vary along two dimensions, both of which relate to scale and boundaries and extend from 'bounded' to 'trans-boundary': first, the degree of boundedness of economic accumulation; and second, the degree of boundedness of political regulation. Processes of geo-regulatory change, then, may be conceived in terms of two analytically separable moments. The first moment of geo-regulatory change is the trans-boundary extension of economic accumulation. The second moment, which is the focus of this article, is the trans-boundary or extra-territorial extension of political regulation. It is hypothesized that the attempted trans-boundary extension of political regulation - to avoid regulatory underprovision - leads to border skirmishes, battles or negotiations about the nature of boundaries. These processes of geo-regulatory change are examined through the lens of offshore financial development in the Bahamas and Cayman. Two geo-legal cases or border skirmishes - the Castle Bank and Bank of Nova Scotia cases - are investigated ethnographically to reveal the changing meanings attached to borders during processes of geo-regulatory change. In conclusion a general model of geo-regulatory change is presented in which border skirmishes, negotiations about the allocation of power and authority or the shape of the regulatory landscape, play a central role.

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