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George Soros

Birthdate: 12. August 1930
Other names: جرج سوروس

George Soros is a Hungarian-American investor, business magnate, philanthropist, and author. Soros is one of the world's most successful investors. As of May 2017, he had a net worth of $25.2 billion, ranking among the 30 richest people in the world.

Born in Budapest, he survived Nazi Germany-occupied Hungary and emigrated to England in 1947. He attended the London School of Economics graduating with a bachelor's and eventually a master's in philosophy. He began his business career by taking various jobs at merchant banks in England and then the United States, before starting his first hedge fund, Double Eagle, in 1969. Profits from his first fund furnished the seed money to start Soros Fund Management, his second hedge fund, in 1970. Double Eagle was renamed the Quantum Fund and was the principal firm Soros advised. At its founding, the Quantum Fund had $12 million in assets under management, and as of 2011 it had $25 billion, the majority of his overall net worth. He is known as "The Man Who Broke the Bank of England" because of his short sale of US$10 billion worth of Pound sterling, making him a profit of $1 billion during the 1992 Black Wednesday UK currency crisis.

His early studies of philosophy led him to develop and apply Karl Popper's General Theory of Reflexivity to capital markets, which he claims renders him a clear picture of asset bubbles and fundamental/market value of securities, as well as value discrepancies used for shorting and swapping stocks.

He is a well-known supporter of American progressive and American liberal political causes and dispenses his donations through his foundation, the Open Society Foundations. Between 1979 and 2011, Soros donated more than $11 billion to various philanthropic causes; by 2017, his donations "on civil initiatives to reduce poverty and increase transparency, and on scholarships and universities around the world" totaled $12 billion. He played a significant role in the peaceful transition from communism to capitalism in Eastern Europe in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and provided one of Europe's largest higher education endowments to the Central European University in his hometown. His political philanthropy has made him a "bugaboo of European nationalists."

„As long as people genuinely care for the people they're trying to help, they can actually do a lot of good.“

—  George Soros

Interview with Mark Shapiro (2000)
Context: It's more difficult, you know, to bring about positive change than it is to make money. It's much easier to make money, because it's a much easier way to measure success — the bottom line. When it comes to social consequences, they've got all different people acting in different ways, very difficult to even have a proper criterion of success. So, it's a difficult task. Why not use an entrepreneurial, rather than a bureaucratic, approach. As long as people genuinely care for the people they're trying to help, they can actually do a lot of good.

„The world order needs a major overhaul.“

—  George Soros

Source: The Age of Fallibility: Consequences of the War on Terror

„We live in a global economy, but the political organization of our global society is woefully inadequate.“

—  George Soros

The Crisis of Global Capitalism (1998)
Context: We live in a global economy, but the political organization of our global society is woefully inadequate. We are bereft of the capacity to preserve peace and to counteract the excesses of the financial markets. Without these controls, the global economy, is liable to break down

„Once we realize that imperfect understanding is the human condition, there is no shame in being wrong, only in failing to correct our mistakes.“

—  George Soros

Context: On the abstract level, I have turned the belief in my own fallibility into the cornerstone of an elaborate philosophy. On a personal level, I am a very critical person who looks for defects in myself as well as in others. But, being so critical, I am also quite forgiving. I couldn't recognize my mistakes if I couldn't forgive myself. To others, being wrong is a source of shame; to me, recognizing my mistakes is a source of pride. Once we realize that imperfect understanding is the human condition, there is no shame in being wrong, only in failing to correct our mistakes.

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„Equilibrium itself has rarely been observed in real life — market prices have a notorious habit of fluctuating.“

—  George Soros

The Alchemy of Finance: Reading the Mind of the Market (1987)
Context: Economic theory is devoted to the study of equilibrium positions. The concept of equilibrium is very useful. It allows us to focus on the final outcome rather than the process that leads up to it. But the concept is also very deceptive. It has the aura of something empirical: since the adjustment process is supposed to lead to an equilibrium, an equilibrium position seems somehow implicit in our observations. That is not true. Equilibrium itself has rarely been observed in real life — market prices have a notorious habit of fluctuating.

„A global society does not mean a global state.“

—  George Soros

The Crisis of Global Capitalism (1998)
Context: A global society does not mean a global state. To abolish the existence of states is neither feasible nor desirable; but insofar as there are collective interests that transcend state boundaries, the sovereignty of states must be subordinated to international law and international institutions.

„We need to maintain law and order. We need to maintain peace in the world. We need to protect the environment. We need to have some degree of social justice, equality of opportunity. The markets are not designed to take care of those needs. That's a political process.“

—  George Soros

Interview with David Brancaccio (2003)
Context: We need to maintain law and order. We need to maintain peace in the world. We need to protect the environment. We need to have some degree of social justice, equality of opportunity. The markets are not designed to take care of those needs. That's a political process. And the market fundamentalists have managed to reduce providing those public goods.

„The Palestine problem does not have a purely military solution. Military superiority is necessary for Israel's national security, but it is not sufficient.“

—  George Soros

On Israel, America and AIPAC (2007)
Context: The Palestine problem does not have a purely military solution. Military superiority is necessary for Israel's national security, but it is not sufficient. The solution has to be political, as President Clinton recognized.

„The development of a global economy has not been matched by the development of a global society.“

—  George Soros

The Crisis of Global Capitalism (1998)
Context: The development of a global economy has not been matched by the development of a global society. The basic unit for political and social life remains the nation-state. International law and international institutions, insofar as they exist, are not strong enough to prevent war or the large-scale abuse of human rights in individual countries. Ecological threats are not adequately dealt with. Global financial markets are largely beyond the control of national or international authorities.

„There is no other country that can take the place of the United States in the foreseeable future. If the United States fails to provide the right kind of leadership our civilization may destroy itself. That is the unpleasant reality that confronts us.“

—  George Soros

Introduction, p. xxv
The Age of Fallibility (2006)
Context: We must recognize that as the dominant power in the world we have a special responsibility. In addition to protecting our national interests, we must take the leadership in protecting the common interests of humanity. I go into some detail as to what that entails.
Mankind’s power over nature has increased cumulatively while its ability to govern itself has not kept pace. There is no other country that can take the place of the United States in the foreseeable future. If the United States fails to provide the right kind of leadership our civilization may destroy itself. That is the unpleasant reality that confronts us.

„Economic theory is devoted to the study of equilibrium positions.“

—  George Soros

The Alchemy of Finance: Reading the Mind of the Market (1987)
Context: Economic theory is devoted to the study of equilibrium positions. The concept of equilibrium is very useful. It allows us to focus on the final outcome rather than the process that leads up to it. But the concept is also very deceptive. It has the aura of something empirical: since the adjustment process is supposed to lead to an equilibrium, an equilibrium position seems somehow implicit in our observations. That is not true. Equilibrium itself has rarely been observed in real life — market prices have a notorious habit of fluctuating.

„You know, I learned at a very early age that what kind of social system or political system prevails is very important. Not just for your well-being, but for your very survival.“

—  George Soros

Interview with David Brancaccio (2003)
Context: You know, I learned at a very early age that what kind of social system or political system prevails is very important. Not just for your well-being, but for your very survival. Because, you know, I could have been killed by the Nazis. I could have wasted my life under the Communists. So, that's what led me to this idea of an open society. And that is the idea that is motivating me.

„The main obstacle to a stable and just world order is the United States. This is a harsh — indeed, for me, painful — thing to say, but unfortunately I am convinced it is true.“

—  George Soros

Prologue, p. xvi
The Age of Fallibility (2006)
Context: The main obstacle to a stable and just world order is the United States. This is a harsh — indeed, for me, painful — thing to say, but unfortunately I am convinced it is true. The United States continues to set the agenda for the world in spite of its loss of influence since 9/11, and the Bush administration is setting the wrong agenda. The Bush agenda is nationalistic: it emphasizes the use of force and ignores global problems whose solution requires international cooperation. The rest of the world dances to the tune the United States is playing, and if that continues too long we are in danger of destroying our civilization. Changing the attitude and policies of the United States remains my top priority.

„Most of the time we are punished if we go against the trend. Only at an inflection point are we rewarded.“

—  George Soros

Context: The prevailing wisdom is that markets are always right. I take the opposition position. I assume that markets are always wrong. Even if my assumption is occasionally wrong, I use it as a working hypothesis. It does not follow that one should always go against the prevailing trend. On the contrary, most of the time the trend prevails; only occasionally are the errors corrected. It is only on those occasions that one should go against the trend. This line of reasoning leads me to look for the flaw in every investment thesis.... I am ahead of the curve. I watch out for telltale signs that a trend may be exhausted. Then I disengage from the herd and look for a different investment thesis. Or, if I think the trend has been carried to excess, I may probe going against it. Most of the time we are punished if we go against the trend. Only at an inflection point are we rewarded.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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