In the past six months, hedge fund manager George Soros has been an outspoken critic of the economicrecovery.And as the U.S. digests the S&P downgrade, it's helpful to remember that as Barclays analysts Ajay Rajadhyaksha and Anshul Pradhan put it, The S&P's action is not a surprise. So to gain a market expert's view, we've gone through many of Soros' recent interviews and selected his main points.
Soros describes the key arguments the market is dealing with right now and makes predictions on what will happen next.
His quotes are dated in chronological order.
Phi Beta Iota: The original article has photos and more context for each quote. Eleven quotes only are below the line.
6 Star Special–Soros Out-Grows Broken System, June 24, 2011
On its own merits, without the Foreword from George Soros, this book is a solid five. With the most extraordinary Foreword, a Foreword that draws the lines of battle between a totally dysfunctional global governance and financial system of systems all lacking in integrity–where truth is not to be found–and the need for transparency, truth, and trust, the book goes into my top 10%, 6 stars and beyond.
The essay is a *major* part of the book, the first 57 pages out of just over 335. The essay is available free online and is a “must read” item for any person who wishes to be part of restoring the Republic and laying the foundation for creating a prosperous world at peace. Searching for <George Soros My Philanthropy> will lead directly to both the New York Review of Books and the GeorgeSoros.com offerings–select the latter to get the full article without subscription nonsense from the New York Review of Books.
I confess to having lost faith in George Soros–he fell for the Barack Obama Show and wasted a lot of time and money on what ends up being the Goldman Sachs Show–to the point that Goldman Sachs not only continues to own the Secretary of the Treasury, but now has installed its own man in the role of National Security Advisor. The irony does not amuse me.
This essay is phenomenal, and bears on the book at large, because Soros has finally put his finger of the sucking chest wound that I, John Bogle, William Grieder, and most recently Matt Taibbi have been sounding the alarm on: the lack of intelligence and integrity in the system of systems. Soros is halfway there; he is now outside the system looking in, and that is good news for all of us.
“I am looking for novel solutions in order to make an untidy structure manageable.”
Phi Beta Iota Editorial Comment: Warren Buffet is a fraud–so is George Soros and all the other allegedly “for the people” individuals who ultimately put personal profit above the public good. Congress and the White House serve these people, not We the People, and that is the root cause of America's demise.
When I was 14, Warren Buffett wrote me a letter.
It was a response to one I’d sent him, pitching an investment idea. For a kid interested in learning stocks, Buffett was a great role model. His investing style — diligent security analysis, finding competent management, patience — was immediately appealing.
Buffett was kind enough to respond to my letter, thanking me for it and inviting me to his company’s annual meeting. I was hooked. Today, Buffett remains famous for investing The Right Way. He even has a television cartoon in the works, which will groom the next generation of acolytes.
But it turns out much of the story is fiction. A good chunk of his fortune is dependent on taxpayer largess. Were it not for government bailouts, for which Buffett lobbied hard, many of his company’s stock holdings would have been wiped out.
. . . . . . .
But there’s nothing fair about Buffett getting a bailout, about exploiting the taxpaying public for his own gain. The naïve 14-year-olds among us thought he was better than this.
I have lost patience for this kind of book. I recommend the other ten books instead (and the last two, which I wrote, are free online, so I am not pushing them for purchase)
1) Our economy went into the gutter when Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX), then Chair for Banking, slipped a 200+ page bill written by lobbyists into a must fund larger bill, with the result that no senators read it (as they did not read the Patriot Act), and it deregulated–completely–the financial marketplace, ending the walls between banking (which lends on tangibles) and investment (which speculates on intangibles).
2) DERIVATIVES is code for fantasy cash. I was not smart enough to see this myself, but Bogle, Soros, Buffet, Perot, Nader, they all saw it, they tried to brief it, and in the case of Nader, got laughed off the Hill. Sub-prime mortgages were the match that lit the fire, not the straw itself.
3) Goldman Sachs is forever, Washington's two criminal parties have been bought and paid for. Rubin did not bail out Mexico. He bailed out Wall Street's bad investments in Mexico. and Bill Clinton for sure understood this, and leveraged the whole thing the whole time with placement of his friends in Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae where they enriched themselves and contributed heavily to Clinton's Library and other endeavors.
The market did not fail. Congress failed. BOTH parties are criminal parties, and I am personally outraged that Americans are not burning tires in the streets demanding that at a minimum three other parties be heard by the public in these debates. Most of America is utterly clueless about the FACT that the League of Women Voters was replaced by a Republican-Democratic Presidential Debate Commission precisely to exclude Independent, Green, Reform, Libertarian, and other candidates.
With all due respect for their accomplishments, the two candidates for President today are relative puppets being managed by *clowns* who are owned by Wall Street carpetbaggers and the crooked parties that have effectively killed democracy in this once-great Republic.
I am, to be utterly candid, sick and tired of Soros telling us how smart he is when he actually does not care at all about the public interest. This is the last book written by Soros that I will waste my time on.
I am ANGRY. Soros is part of the problem, not part of the solution. Simiarly, Buffet means well, but he is working this for himself, not us. It was idiocy to approve the bail-out. That should have been a freeze, a moratorium on all foreclosures (10,000 a day) as well as all evictions, a capping of interest at 10%, an emergency fund focusing on INDIVIDUALS, and a mandated public forum post-election with ALL relevant documents posted online for scrutiny (“put enough eyeballs on it, no bug is invisible”).
This election is so fraught with fraud on so many levels, that the financial crisis, in my judgement is the third and least of our problems. Electoral fraud and the criminal misbehavior of BOTH Republicans and Democrats is problem #1. The two dozen plus secessionist movements being led by Kirkpatrick Sale are problem #2 because they have LEGITIMATE GRIEVANCES. I was reflecting on this today, and realized that an honest man today has three choices:
1. Refuse to support our dysfunctional government and support secession.
2. Join a crime family and drop out of the fraudulent “legal” economy.
3. Be a gerbil, a farm animal, and let Wall Street–including the author of this book–enjoy life on our backs for a few more years.
I did not read this book, nor buy it. I do not do this often, but this seems as good a place to denounce Soros, the horse that brought him (Wall Street), and the morons in Congress that let these thieves run wild.
I expect plenty of reflexive negative votes but for those of you with an open mind, take the time to read the varied reviews of the ten books I recommend instead of this one, and trust your own judgment.
Mark Lewis had it right: these folks think nothing of “exploding the client.” That's us. This author was right up there with them, step by step, and did nothing for We the People–his best shot was to support the “least evil” (in his mind) party and to be silent as Bush-Cheney destroyed our military, our economy, and most grieviously, our global moral standing.
It's time we drop kick Wall Street into the ocean, introduce Open Money, and invest only in local tangible hard-money options. Ron Paul has it right–everyone else is a traitor to the Constitution and to the Republic–Paulson means well but he and all of these folks live in a “closed society” that is completely out of touch with OUR reality.
Honest, Pointed, Handicapped, Mis-Spending His Money,
April 29, 2004
If there is one person who brings together global knowledge, moral capitalism, an appreciation for open society principles, an understanding of how dangerous supremacist ideologies can be, and the money with which to save the world by leading the broader public to have an “aha” experience, it is George Soros. I try to read and review everything he writes.I take one star off because he is not putting his money where his books says it needs to be. I begin with this comment, actually my last observation, to set the stage for the other comments below, all of which revolve around the point he makes in the beginning, but a point that he is doing nothing to fund the correction of: “The gap in perceptions between America and the rest of the world has never been wider.” This is correct, but the $15M plus that he has donated to ACT and other minor organizations is not funding the re-education of America, it is funding minor-league politicization and mobilization likely to fail given the 20 year neglect of the Democratic precincts, and the fact that neither the Republican nor the Democratic parties are capable of assembling a true informed majority.
His early analysis in the book, on the dangers of supremacist ideologies and the curious alliance between religious fundamentalists (zealots who know nothing of the real world) and market fundamentalists (immoral capitalists who care nothing of the real world) is spot on. He is articulate and effective in writing about the manner in which this extremist ideology, “we are always right, they are always wrong”, in endangering not just American ideals, but American survival.
He touches on but fails to capitalize on the urgency of splitting the moderate Republicans (I am one of them) from the extremist base, perhaps by funding the foundation of a new party, the Fiscal Conservatives (moderate Republicans and Southern conservative Democrats).
His chapter on the “war” on terror and his condemnation of treating terrorism as a war, with the wrong tools, wrong approach, and wrong effects from our well-intentioned but uninformed behavior is also powerful in its common sense. He notes that this “war” (I have called it a six-front hundred-year war that *we* started in reaction to 9-11, without thinking strategically) has killed more civilian bystanders than the attack on the World Trade Center, and simultaneously super-charged anti-American sentiment around the world–including among the British!
He is subtly but scathingly critical of Congress for abdicating its responsibility to balance the power of the Executive, and documents the careless manner in which the Patriot Act was brought about (Bush can also confiscate pleasure boats with Cuban charts on thsm).
The middle of the book examines, with a capitalist's critical eye, the wasted hundreds of billions on Iraq, and how that money might have been better used to address the complex emergencies in Africa, Central Asia, and South Asia (one might also add the tri-border region in Latin America, which is about to explode).
Soros is, I believe, in error, when he concludes that the forthcoming election provides an opportunity to deflate the bubble of American supremacy. First off, the Republicans are taking the election seriously, the Democrats are not. Second off, the Kerry team has proven completely incapable of devising a shadow government, a coalition cabinet, and a balanced budget within which to make policy deals with moderate Republicans and others such as Independents and Greens.
In the next section Soros illuminates with a mix of previously state ideas, i.e. the political institutions needed to protect the common good have not kept up with the marketplace (Kissinger agrees), and new thoughts, among which I found the emphasis on restoring the definition of sovereignty to mean sovereignty of the people, not the state, to be the most compelling and also the most consistent with the many other books I have reviewed for Amazon, among which Jonathan Schell's book, “Unconquerable World” stands out.
Soros' other remarkable idea, which I think he should seek with $10M if he can spare the change, is that there is an urgent need for a D6 of developing countries to counter the G8 of First World industrial powers. He identifies Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, and South Africa. I would add China and Argentina and make it D8 instead.
Finally, he concludes with a strong indictment of how foreign aid is administered today, less than 45% of it actual reaching needy recipients (versus 85% for his own programs), he touches on the importance of ensuring that the people, not the corrupt elite, get the benefits of any nation's natural resources, and that only an open society, in which citizens can and *must* (are *required to*) think for themselves, is a potentially prosperous and secure society.
So, concluding this review, I have to say, Bravo, Soros, but why isn't your money where your book suggests it should be? Let's Talk, America, for example, or the National Budget Simulation Project, or the Co-Intelligence Institute, or any of hundreds of bottom-up efforts to shed light on public policy, to create public intelligence that can both inform citizens and hold officials accountable for betraying the public trust–why are they not being noticed by Soros?
American has been radicalized by the Bush Administration, which will probably win in 2004 and further radicalize both America and the world. There will be multiple variations of 9-11, including at least one hijacked Pakistani submarine firing a missile into Australia. We don't need mobilization, we need education. We need a National Intelligence Council in the “seven tribes, seven standards, seven issues” sense, one that relies on open sources of information to ensure that every American understands what is at stake here, and how their ignorance not only feeds terrorism, it feeds the supremacist ideology of neo-conservativism that is terrorism's best friend.
Soros has come full circle, and now stands with Thomas Jefferson, who said “A Nation's best defense is an informed citizenry.” So, when does school start?
This is an easy to read common sense book that absorbs and addresses some of the criticisms of the World Trade Organization, speaks to the weakness of the International Labor Organization, and proposes the equivalent of a global Marshall Plan, but as a multi-national initiative. It is essential reading at a time when too many politicians do not yet make the connection between terrorism and what George Soros has called “the other axis of evil: poverty, disease, & ignorance.”At a time when the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is treating anti-globalization activists as just one step under terrorists (in one recent case denying a Canadian activist entry to the U.S. to honor an invitation to speak at a U.S. university), George Soros' is easily the most responsible and the wealthiest voice cautioning all of us that the combined forces of globalization (which reduces citizen sovereignty) and consumerism (which reduces citizen prosperity) could be the death knell of capitalism.
I am reminded of how the U.S. Secret Service ran amok against so-called “hackers” (the best of them trained at MIT and now multi-millionaires) because it did not understand that hackers are like astronauts, pushing the edge of the envelope, and it did not understand that it was the U.S. communications and computing industry that was criminally negligent in offering the consumer and the government a national information infrastructure that was incredibly fragile and full of security holes. It was industry that failed to exercise due-diligence, and it was hackers that exposes these flaws well in advance of the Y2K panic. The anti-globalization activists, Lori Wallach among them (and she has clearly influenced Soros in this book) are the 21st Century hackers for world peace and prosperity.
Globalization and consumerism threaten billions of Arabs, Chinese, Indians, Muslims, and Russians around the world–and thus they threaten us as well. Although many brilliant minds foresaw these challenges in the 1970's, among them those speaking to the limits to growth, sustainable growth, and the need for new forms of world governance, it is only after 9-11 that the world appears ready to listen to George Soros and others who understand that we cannot continue to emphasize short term corporate profit over long term citizen survival.
His proposals for Special Drawing Rights are helpful, and merit adoption. It is with a little concern, however, that I see his concession to “elite” management of these remedial resources. I lean toward the view that the people are now both informed and connected, and that we must empower down to the neighborhood level if we are to restore civil society around the world (this includes no longer supporting repressive governments for the convenience of our corporations), so there is still a gap between Soros and the natural leaders down in the ranks with the people.
Thomas Jefferson said that “A Nation's best defense is an educated citizenry.” Justice Brandeis said that the greatest threat to a nation's liberty is “an inert citizenship.” George Soros may be said to be the first and foremost educator and leader on the critical matter of whether of whether or not this Nation might yet surmount great challenges of its own making.
Very Thoughtful Personal Opinion, Very High Value,
February 27, 2002
I think George Soros and Robert Kaplan, as well as others that are starting to realize that the opposite of virtue is not vice but rather virtue carried to an extreme (Jim Fox said it first, at least in this era), are on to something.Although economists of great traditional standing (Robert Samuelson comes to mind) have been very quick to denigrate, even trash, the ideas of George Soros, my personal reaction, and my own reading of 225 or so books that I have reviewed for Amazon, suggests that he is right on target. Unfettered capitalism and corporate consumerism is killing us, and is part of the problem between Western secularism and Islamic fundamentalism–we don't have a model for sustainable faith-based prosperity they can buy into (I am mindful of Bernard Lewis's What Went Wrong thesis).
Most recently, in The Washington Post of 24 February 2002, George Soros is quoted as saying, “We can't be successful in fighting terrorism unless we fight that other axis of evil–poverty, disease and ignorance.” Right on. Both The Future of Life and The Future of Ideas (see my reviews of those titles), and many other books now coming together in a critical mass, support basic propositions about the failure of politics, the erosion of moral contexts, and the dangers of capitalism upon public health, the environment, and the social fabric.
I would normally have rated this book with 4 stars for its lack of reference to others, but in light of the importance of the argument that George Soros makes, and the value of his own unique experiences bridging the worlds of poverty and wealth, American and Eastern European challenges and biases, I have to give this a 5–and wait to see our academic economists do better.