Why don’t sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) invest in education?

Serious question. Why don’t sovereign wealth funds (SWFs, the managers of a nation’s commodity windfall, usually) invest in other people’s education? 

Note that I am specifying other people’s education. I don’t mean this to imply that education levels in the SWF nations are “high enough” (I don’t even know what that would mean, and anyway it certainly isn’t true). No. The point of a SWF is to keep the external earnings of the economy external, thereby helping to avoid the consequences of converting all those earnings to domestic currency (“Dutch disease” in the jargon). 

It dawned on me today reading about the Qatari external investment fund. These funds seem to be increasingly noticeable, whether due to PR campaigns like Singapore’s in the Economist (Temasek) or to news reports of their latest challenges and strategies

Hey, maybe when you find yourself owning 1.25% of every listed company in the world, it’s time to think out of the box. Here’s an idea: why not devote 100% of all new increments to the SWF into foreign public-goods assets? Once  again, the condition is that these need to be someone else’s public goods. But hey, in a globalized world, we’re all in it together. So, some other country’s increase in welfare is your increase, too. (This doesn’t really depend on globalization; mere humanist values, for one, will do.)

If you’re worried about how the SWF will capture the income from this investment i.e. make a return on it, then you’ve overlooked the second benefit of this idea. (The first benefit being a fillip to global well-being.) This scheme will avoid exacerbating the problem faced by the SWF in the first place: doing something with all those balance-of-payments credits. Think about it: on any other kind of investment, the SWF will eventually be creating yet another source of inflows, via the returns on that investment. Foreign public goods investment — no problem!

I’ve not researched this, so maybe SWFs are already doing it. I expect they probably are. But I’m talking about something big — like 100% of all new revenue streams. I don’t think I’ve seen anything like that.
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