This page is a long one. It contains a George Soros biography as well as an
overview of George Soros books and the economic theories he has put forward
(plus a few George Soros quotes).
Why spend so much time, energy and attention
on a hedge fund manager turned philanthropist and theorist?
deserves it - he's a fascinatingly controversial man with a tough background
history and some very interesting things to say. Also, he has spent an awful lot
of money on what he considers worthy causes, making him one of the biggest
philanthropists of our time.
George Soros (whose original birth name was György Schwartz) was
born on August 12, 1930 in Budapest, Hungary. He was fourteen years old when, in
1944, the Nazis invaded Hungary. He managed to survive the Battle of Budapest
which saw house-to-house combat throughout the city. Only 3 years later he
witnessed another invasion of his country, this time by the Communist Soviet
Years later, in a George Soros biography by Michael T. Kaufman,
the effect of the war and totalitarianism was made clear when Soros stated he
felt that all people are entitled to live without oppression. And, of course
this very pro-democratic attitude of Soros' is also obvious from his
philanthropic work, which (among many other things) includes a great deal of
effort to promote peaceful democratization in the post-Soviet states of Central
and Eastern Europe.
Soros has literally spent billions of dollars on
this non-violent democratization effort, and both Eastern and Western observers
agree that he and his Open Society Institute (OSI) were prime players in the
peaceful transition from communism to capitalism in his original home country of
Hungary during the mid-to-end 1980s as well as in 'the Rose Revolution' of
Georgia in the early 2000s.
In 1947, fleeing the Soviet Communist
occupation of Hungary, Soros moved to England and received a degree from the
London School of Economics. He held a variety of odd jobs until he eventually
landed an entry-level position at a merchant bank in London. Soros' career in
the financial sector took off from there.
He moved to New York and worked
as an analyst and arbitrage trader. It was during this time that Soros developed
his theory of reflexivity which states that the valuation of a market produces a
circular influence that has an effect on the market.
Biography: His Incredible Wealth
In 1967, Soros got an opportunity to run
a hedge fund and an offshore investment fund. A few years later, he established
his own fund and became chairman of Soros Fund Management, which later changed
into the world famous Quantum Fund.
Some people have called Soros 'The
Man Who Broke the Bank of England' because in the beginning of the 1990s he
claimed that the Pound Sterling was overvalued, and speculated against the
British Pound, betting on this being true. Apparently it was, because in 1992
the Bank of England ran into serious trouble and had to devaluate (the so-called
Black Wednesday UK currency crisis), which earned Soros somewhere between 1 and
2 billion US dollars from that particular deal.
George Soros went on to
become one of the most successful investors and experts on the economy alive
today. Here's a video on YouTube where he addresses the Euro crisis of 2012,
using simple, reasonably understandable terms, yet showing a deep insight into
the dynamics of national economics:
Soros is consistently ranked
(by e.g. Forbes Magazine) as one of the top 10 richest men in the USA as well as
being one of the 30 richest people in the world. And as far as hedge fund
managers go, he is by far the wealthiest - though he is now retired. His net
worth is estimated to be around twenty billion US dollars.
Soros Biography: His Philosophy
Soros is influenced by Karl Popper's work
in the philosophy of science as well as Popper's critique of totalitarianism.
Popper's book 'The Open Society and Its Enemies', originally published in
1945, states that the truth is not found in any one philosophy or ideology and
that totalitarian societies have inherent problems because they do not allow for
democracy, individual rights, differing opinions and freedom of expression. The
only way for a society to flourish, says Popper (and Soros, too), is to
explicitly allow for the diversity of all those things.
Soros's intense activism on behalf of freedom, rights and people's well-being.
And hence Soros's serious criticism of the way the USA has behaved politically
and financially in recent decades, particularly the big financial and
geopolitical issues. But Soros has also donated millions of US dollars to people
who try to modernize US drug laws, immigration laws, the welfare system as well
as improve the care for the dying and the way mental patients are treated in
George Soros Biography: His Economic Theories
has developed his own economic theories, one of which includes the concept of 'reflexivity'
which has to do with the fact that ... while classic economic theory has a
number of assumptions about markets and the participants in them (buyers,
sellers and governmental regulators) ... real life looks quite different: Among other things, I developed a model of a boom-bust process or bubble
which is endogenous to financial markets, not the result of external shocks.
According to my theory, financial bubbles are not a purely psychological
phenomenon. They have two components: a trend that prevails in reality and a
misinterpretation of that trend. ~ George Soros quotes ~
some of the most important factors in that equation work out:
classic economic theory markets are supposed to always trend towards equilibrium
- Soros says that this is simply not the case - markets MAY trend towards
equilibrium, but they may just as well trend towards financial - as well as
political - 'bubbles' (like the 'dot com bubble' in the early part of the 2000s
or the housing price bubble many Western countries experienced a few years later).
He call this a boom-bust process - it starts out as a self-replicating boom,
only to have the 'bubble' bust some time later - with a financial and/or
political crisis as a result.
2. In classic economic theory the market
participants of buyers, sellers and political regulators are supposed to perfect
knowledge of the situation. This, says Soros, is simply not the case. On the
contrary the market participants are quite fallible and have very imperfect
knowledge ... and THIS is the basis of their decisions. In other words, people
try to interpret and predict markets and trends, but they cannot and they fail,
sometimes repeatedly, causing unexpected situations that are very far removed
from classic economic theory, and trying to fix those situations using those
outdated theories may add to the problem instead of solving it.
classic economic theory the 'forces' that interact in a market are assumed to
NOT interfere with each other. In reality, Soros says, the market forces are in
a constant state of interplay. For example, when something in a market gets out
of hand, the governmental regulators sometimes step in and try to remedy that.
But perhaps the market has already anticipated this intervention and acted
accordingly, and so the intervention doesn't work as the regulators intended,
which means that the regulators need to regulate again, which the market will
then try to anticipate - and so on.
In the year 2008 the United States
and Europe suffered the so-called
Crash of 2008 , the worst economic crisis in those
regions in over 75 years. This crisis was triggered by a lack of liquidity (as
well as corruption and plain old stupidity) in the United States banking system,
but there were other reasons as well why it became as severe as it did.
George Soros had seen all this coming, and had been warning the world about it
for quite some time. Also, the happenings after 2008 were 'textbook Soros' so to
speak, so after 2008 his economic theories became more widely accepted. Says
Soros himself (in 2012):
Until recently, my interpretation of financial
markets was either ignored or dismissed by academic economists. All this has
changed since the crash of 2008. Reflexivity became recognized but, with the
exception of Imperfect Knowledge Economics, the foundations of economic theory
have not been subjected to the profound rethinking that I consider necessary.
Reflexivity has been accommodated by speaking of multiple equilibria instead of
a single one. But that is not enough. The fallibility of market participants,
regulators, and economists must also be recognized. A truly dynamic situation
cannot be understood by studying multiple equilibria. We need to study the
process of change. ~ George Soros ~
Hailed as Philosopher,
Philanthropist and Activist - as Well as the Opposite
Soros has received
honors as well as honorary doctoral degrees from several schools and prestigious
universities, including (among others): the University of Oxford, the Corvinus
University of Budapest, the University of Bologna and Yale University.
Nevertheless Soros is a controversial figure on the world scene, criticized from
the left because he is so rich and has made his money by investing (starting
with next to nothing), and criticized from the right because his ideas about -
and work in favor of - freedom, democracy, human rights, education and public
health fly in the face of the opinions and interests of some of his conservative
Thus George Soros has earned the very funny but somewhat ambiguous
honor of being loathed by the extreme left for being too capitalist while at the
same time being reviled by the extreme right for being too socialist/Marxist.
Someone once stated that "this goes to show how just how nutty the wing nuts are."
One time, when he received an honorary degree from Oxford University, Soros
himself was asked how he would like to be described. His answer was: "I would
like to be called a financial, philanthropic and philosophical speculator."
Which is probably a pretty precise way of describing him.
Soros Biography His Predictions
As mentioned above the articles and
books written by George Soros pretty much predicted the current (2012) economic
recession. His book, "The New Paradigm for Financial Markets" warned readers
about the super bubble that had been building over the last couple of decades
and was on the brink of collapse.
While he doesn't claim to always be
right, Soros appears to be able to read economic trends on a global scale. Two
of his other books predicted economic trends that eventually came to pass. These
include, "The Alchemy of Finance," and "The Crisis of Global Capitalism."
And, of course, in the matter of his foresight there is also his track
record in investments to think about - it is absolutely unsurpassed. His return
on investment is astronomical!
What Others Have Said about George
Paul Tudor Jones II in his foreword to 'The Alchemy of Finance:
Reading the Mind of the Market' wrote this about George Soros:
hundred seventy-three million to one. Those are the odds against George Soros
compiling the investment record he did as manager of the Quantum Fund from 1968
through 1993. His investment record is the most unimpeachable refutation of the
random walk hypothesis ever! ... History will probably remember Mr. Soros as the
speculator who tilted against the Bank of England in 1992 (and freed the English
people from recession). His billion dollar score is simply too compelling a
story to overlook. Mr. Soros himself would probably like to be remembered as a
great economist or even scientist. But I am going to remember him for something
even more important, for which he does not receive the credit he deserves. He is
someone who genuinely cares about the state of the human condition and tries to
better it. His myriad and monumental philanthropical efforts will qualify him as
one of history's great benefactors. ... He is a hands-on workaholic who
materially impacts the quality of lives of people less fortunate than he. Now
this, this is a sign of greatness. ~ Paul Tudor Jones II ~
in "Open Season on 'Open Society'" in Reason magazine (8 December 2003) wrote
this about George Soros:
George Soros has a long and storied track record
of being all villains to all people. Nobody that rich, and that meddlesome in
international affairs - through his massive, market-influencing hedge-fund bets
against national currencies, or via his multi-billion dollar "Open Society"
philanthropy in 50-plus countries - could avoid being fitted for devil's horns
on a daily basis. ~ Matt Welch ~
George Soros Biography: The
Controversial George Soros Books
"SOROS: The Unauthorized Biography,
the Life, Times and Trading Secrets of the World's Greatest Investor" was
written by Robert Slater and published in 1997. In this George Soros biography,
Slater lays out the philosophy and strategies Soros used to gain influence over
"Soros on Soros" is an autobiography written by George
Soros and published in 1995. Soros uses this book to sum up his life's work. He
offers readers a glimpse into his personal life and the way of thinking that
turned him into a financial wizard.
"Soros: The Life and Times of a
Messianic Billionaire" was written by Michael T. Kaufman and was published in
2003. This George Soros biography starts with his early, penniless life and
follows Soros as he makes his mark on Wall Street. The author gives readers a
personal glimpse of a shy man whose life was given purpose when he escaped Nazi
George Soros Biography: His Philanthropy and Being a
As noted in the George Soros biography by Chuck Sudetic called
"The Philanthropy of George Soros: Building Open Societies," Soros is one of the
leading philanthropists in modern times. He has established foundations and
gives to other charities in hopes of establishing for others the chance to lead
free and productive lives.
It is estimated Soros has given away over
eight billion dollars - so far. Most of it going to people and organizations who
work for freedom, human rights, public health, education and democracy in all
parts of the world - and he's not afraid to support controversial figures and
causes, either. Here's a couple of several George Soros quotes that demonstrate
Just as the process of repealing national alcohol prohibition began
with individual states repealing their own prohibition laws, so individual
states must now take the initiative with respect to repealing marijuana
prohibition laws. ~ George Soros ~ Regulating and taxing marijuana
would simultaneously save taxpayers billions of dollars in enforcement and
incarceration costs, while providing many billions of dollars in revenue
annually. ~ George Soros ~
The background for the above George Soros
quotes is Proposition 19 which was put forward in 2010 and which, had it passed,
would have legalized marijuana in the state of California. Soros donated $1
million USD in support of Proposition 19.
(For more quotes by George
Soros, please check out the page George Soros Quotes. There are a LOT of quotes
by George Soros on that page!
example of his funding of education
he donated the largest amount Europe has ever seen (420 million Euros, approx.
$615 million USD) to Central European University in Budapest.
And another one of the many George Soros quotes that show this ultra-rich
man's unusual disposition and his reasons to be critical of the very system that
made him rich is this one: I think there's a lot of merit in an
international economy and global markets, but they're not sufficient because
markets don't look after social needs. ~ George Soros ~
Soros is critical of the US elite:
The people currently in charge have
forgotten the first principle of an open society, namely that we may be wrong
and that there has to be free discussion. That it's possible to be opposed to
the policies without being unpatriotic. ~ George Soros quotes ~
Clearly George Soros is a man who follows his heart.
Biography: More George Soros Books
"The Bubble of American Supremacy"
is a book and audio book that was published in 2003. In this work, Soros takes a
critical look at the foreign policies of the Bush administration. He explains
the military policy created a bubble of sorts that allowed the U.S. to overpower
other countries. In the same way, the U.S. has created an economic bubble that
will lead to economic chaos.
If you click on the image to the left it
will open a new tab/window on Amazon.com, where users have
given this book 3.5 stars out of 5.
"George Soros on Globalization" was
published in 2005 and is available as a book or ebook. In this book, Soros takes
a look at why global economic companies fail. He also discusses whether it is
possible for a global economy to succeed and what its implications are for
If you click on the image to the left it will open a
new tab/window on Amazon.com, where users have given this
book 3.5 stars out of 5.
The book can also be bought
as an ebook in the flexible Amazon Kindle format (which
works on PC, Mac, Android smartphone & tablet, iPad and
iPhone) - to check out the Kindle ebook on Amazon.com,
please click this link: George Soros On Globalization
"The Age of Fallibility: Consequences of the War
on Terror" is a book and ebook that was published in 2007. This book is another
examination on the policies of the Bush Administration and how they affect human
rights and the development of an open society.
If you click on the image
to the left it will open a new tab/window on Amazon.com,
where users have given this book 3.5 stars out of 5.
"The Crash of 2008 and
What it Means: The New Paradigm for Financial Markets" is a book, ebook, and
audio book that was published in 2009. In this book, Soros takes a look at the
causes of the Crash of 2008 and then offers a set of policies that will get the
economy back on track.
If you click on the image
to the left it will open a new tab/window on Amazon.com,
where users have given this book 3.5 stars out of 5.
"Financial Turmoil in Europe and the United
States: Essays" was published in 2012 and is a book, audio book, and ebook. This
collection of essays takes a look at the domestic and foreign economic policy
decisions that led to the recession. Soros then adds his analysis on what could
have been done to save the economic crash.
If you click on the image to
the left it will open a new tab/window on Amazon.com, where
users have given this book 3.5 stars out of 5.
The story of George Soros is inspirational. His adult life
began in London as a broke college student. He had a dream, followed it, and
became one of the richest men on the planet.
Furthermore Soros may just
turn out to be the person who revolutionized the way we think about grand-scale
economics. His theories have certainly proved their validity, and at the time of
this writing mainstream economists are beginning to take note of them - simply
because Soros seems to be right.
Thanks to his early brush with war and
the Nazis, Soros wants to see all people enjoy freedom from any kind of
oppression and live their own dreams. To that end, he has donated billions of
dollars and will be known not only as one of the wealthiest men, but also one of
the most generous.
If you want to read more about this remarkable and
controversial man, you can do so at
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