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George Soros (Schwartz)

Hebrew: (שוורץ) סורוס ג'ורג'
Also Known As: "Soros György", "Schwartz György"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Immediate Family:

Son of Dr. Tivadar Teodor Soros and Erzsebet Elisabeth Soros
Ex-husband of Private and Private
Father of Robert Daniel Soros; Private; Private; Alexander G. Soros and Private
Brother of Paul Soros

Managed by: Randy Schoenberg
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Immediate Family

About George Soros

George Soros (Hungarian: Soros György) born August 12, 1930 as Schwartz György, is a Hungarian-American business magnate, investor, philosopher and philanthropist. He is the chairman of Soros Fund Management. Soros supports progressive-liberal causes. He is known as "The Man Who Broke the Bank of England" because of his US$1 billion in investment profits during the 1992 Black Wednesday UK currency crisis.

As of March 12, 2012 Forbes listed Soros, at 81, as the 22nd richest person in the world, the world's richest hedge-fund manager, and number 7 on its list of the 400 wealthiest Americans, with a net worth estimated at $20 billion.[89] Soros has given away $8 billion to various causes since 1979.

Relation to Hungarian politics

Between 1979 and 2011, Soros gave away over $8 billion to human rights, public health, and education causes. He played a significant role in the peaceful transition from communism to capitalism in Hungary (1984–89), and provided Europe's largest higher education endowment to Central European University in Budapest. Soros is also the chairman of the Open Society Institute.

Soros was born in Budapest, Hungary to a nonobservant Jewish family. His mother Elizabeth (also known as Erzsebet) came from a family that owned a thriving silk shop. His father Tivadar (also known as Teodoro) was a lawyer and had been a prisoner of war during and after World War I until he escaped from Russia and rejoined his family in Budapest. The two married in 1924.

Tivadar was an Esperantist writer and taught George to speak Esperanto from birth. Soros later said that he grew up in a Jewish home and that his parents were cautious with their religious roots. Soros was thirteen years old in March 1944 when Nazi Germany occupied Hungary. Soros took a job with the Jewish Council, which had been established during the Nazi occupation of Hungary. Soros later described this time to writer Michael Lewis:

The Jewish Council asked the little kids to hand out the deportation notices. I was told to go to the Jewish Council. And there I was given these small slips of paper ... It said report to the rabbi seminary at 9 am ... And I was given this list of names. I took this piece of paper to my father. He instantly recognized it. This was a list of Hungarian Jewish lawyers. He said, "You deliver the slips of paper and tell the people that if they report they will be deported."

Later that year, at age 14, Soros lived with and posed as the godson of an employee of the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture. The official was at one point ordered to inventory the remaining contents of the estate of a wealthy Jewish family that had fled the country; rather than leave the young Soros alone in the city, the official brought him along. The next year, 1945, Soros survived the Battle of Budapest, in which Soviet and German forces fought house-to-house through the city.

Soros emigrated to England in 1947 and, as an impoverished student, lived with his uncle, an Orthodox Jew. His uncle paid his living expenses while he attended the London School of Economics, where he received a Bachelor of Science in 1952. While a student of the philosopher Karl Popper, Soros worked as a railway porter and as a waiter. A university tutor requested aid for Soros, and he received GB£40 from a Religious Society of Friends (Quaker) charity.

In a discussion at the Los Angeles World Affairs Council in 2006, Alvin Shuster, former foreign editor of the Los Angeles Times, asked Soros, "How does one go from an immigrant to a financier? ... When did you realize that you knew how to make money?" Soros replied, "Well, I had a variety of jobs and I ended up selling fancy goods on the sea side, souvenir shops, and I thought, that's really not what I was cut out to do. So, I wrote to every managing director in every merchant bank in London, got just one or two replies, and eventually that's how I got a job in a merchant bank." That job was an entry-level position in Singer & Friedlander.

In 1956 Soros moved to New York City working as an arbitrage trader for F. M. Mayer (1956–59) and as an analyst for Wertheim & Co. (1959–63). During this period, Soros developed the theory of reflexivity based on the ideas of Karl Popper. Reflexivity posited that the valuation of any market produces a procyclical "virtuous or vicious" circle that further affects the market.

Soros' experience from 1963 to 1973 as a vice-president at Arnhold and S. Bleichroderl resulted in little enthusiasm for the job and a desire to assert himself as an investor to make reflexivity profitable. In 1967, First Eagle Funds created an opportunity for Soros to run an offshore investment fund as well as the Double Eagle hedge fund in 1969.[21] In 1973, due to regulatory restrictions limiting his ability to run the funds, Soros resigned from his First Eagle funds. He then established the Quantum Fund in partnership with Jim Rogers, hoping to earn $500,000 after five years to support his ambitions as a writer and philosopher.

In 1970, Soros founded Soros Fund Management and became its chairman. Among those who held senior positions there at various times were Jim Rogers, Stanley Druckenmiller, Mark Schwartz, Keith Anderson, and Soros' two sons.

In August 2010, Soros bought a 4 per cent stake in the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) for about $35 million. In July 2011, Soros announced that he had returned funds from outside investors' money (valued at $1 billion) and instead invested funds from his $24.5 billion family fortune due to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission disclosure rules.

Currency speculation

On September 16, 1992, Black Wednesday, Soros' fund sold short more than $10 billion in pounds, profiting from the UK government's reluctance to either raise its interest rates to levels comparable to those of other European Exchange Rate Mechanism countries or to float its currency.

Finally, the UK withdrew from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism, devaluing the pound, earning Soros an estimated $1.1 billion. He was dubbed "the man who broke the Bank of England". In 1997, the UK Treasury estimated the cost of Black Wednesday at £3.4 billion.

On Monday, October 26, 1992, The Times quoted Soros as saying: "Our total position by Black Wednesday had to be worth almost $10 billion. We planned to sell more than that. In fact, when Norman Lamont said just before the devaluation that he would borrow nearly $15 billion to defend sterling, we were amused because that was about how much we wanted to sell."

Stanley Druckenmiller, who traded under Soros, originally saw the weakness in the pound. "Soros' contribution was pushing him to take a gigantic position."

In 1997, during the Asian financial crisis, the Prime Minister of Malaysia Mahathir bin Mohamad accused Soros of using the wealth under his control to punish the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for welcoming Myanmar as a member. Following on a history of antisemitic remarks, Mahathir made specific reference to Soros' Jewish background ("It is a Jew who triggered the currency plunge") and implied Soros was orchestrating the crash as part of a larger Jewish conspiracy.

Nine years later, in 2006, Mahathir met with Soros and afterwards stated that he accepted that Soros had not been responsible for the crisis. In 1998's The Crisis of Global Capitalism: Open Society Endangered Soros explained his role in the crisis as follows:

The financial crisis that originated in Thailand in 1997 was particularly unnerving because of its scope and severity. ... By the beginning of 1997, it was clear to Soros Fund Management that the discrepancy between the trade account and the capital account was becoming untenable. We sold short the Thai baht and the Malaysian ringgit early in 1997 with maturities ranging from six months to a year. (That is, we entered into contracts to deliver at future dates Thai Baht and Malaysian ringgit that we did not currently hold.)

Subsequently Prime Minister Mahathir of Malaysia accused me of causing the crisis, a wholly unfounded accusation. We were not sellers of the currency during or several months before the crisis; on the contrary, we were buyers when the currencies began to decline – we were purchasing ringgits to realize the profits on our earlier speculation. (Much too soon, as it turned out. We left most of the potential gain on the table because we were afraid that Mahathir would impose capital controls. He did so, but much later.)

The nominal U.S. dollar GDP of the ASEAN fell by $9.2 billion in 1997 and $218.2 billion (31.7%) in 1998. Economist Paul Krugman is critical of Soros' effect on financial markets.

"[N]obody who has read a business magazine in the last few years can be unaware that these days there really are investors who not only move money in anticipation of a currency crisis, but actually do their best to trigger that crisis for fun and profit. These new actors on the scene do not yet have a standard name; my proposed term is 'Soroi'."

Soros' book, The New Paradigm for Financial Markets (May 2008), described a "superbubble" that had built up over the past 25 years and was ready to collapse. This was the third in a series of books he has written that have predicted disaster. As he states:

I have a record of crying wolf ... I did it first in The Alchemy of Finance (in 1987), then in The Crisis of Global Capitalism (in 1998) and now in this book. So it's three books predicting disaster. (After) the boy cried wolf three times ... the wolf really came.

He ascribes his own success to being able to recognize when his predictions are wrong. I'm only rich because I know when I'm wrong ... I basically have survived by recognizing my mistakes. I very often used to get backaches due to the fact that I was wrong. Whenever you are wrong you have to fight or [take] flight. When [I] make the decision, the backache goes away.

In February 2009, Soros said the world financial system had effectively disintegrated, adding that there was no prospect of a near-term resolution to the crisis. "We witnessed the collapse of the financial system ... It was placed on life support, and it's still on life support. There's no sign that we are anywhere near a bottom."

In 1988 Soros was interested in purchasing shares in French companies. The Socialist party had lost its majority of seats in the Assembly, and the new government under Chirac had instituted an aggressive privatization program. Many people considered shares in the newly privatized companies undervalued. During this period, a French financier named Georges Pébereau contacted one of Soros' advisors in an effort to assemble a group of investors to purchase a large amount of shares in Société Générale, a leading French bank that was part of the program.

The advisor reported to Soros that Pébereau's plan was ambiguous and included an implausible takeover plan (it would indeed fail). On that advice, and without ever meeting the financier, Soros decided against participating.[36] He did, however, move forward with his strategy of accumulating shares in four French companies: Société Générale, as well as Suez, Paribas and the Compagnie Générale d'Électricité. In 1989, the Commission des Opérations de Bourse (the French stock exchange regulatory authority) conducted an investigation of whether Soros' transaction in Société Générale should be considered insider trading. Soros had received no information from the Société Générale, and had no insider knowledge of the business, but he did possess knowledge that a group of investors was planning a takeover attempt. The COB concluded that the statutes, regulations and case law relating to insider trading did not clearly establish that a crime had occurred, and that no charges should be brought against Soros.

Several years later, a Paris-based prosecutor reopened the case against Soros and two other French businessmen, disregarding the COB's findings. This resulted in Soros' 2005 conviction for insider trading by the Court of Appeals (he was the only one of the three to receive a conviction). The French Supreme Court confirmed the conviction on June 14, 2006, but reduced the penalty to the minimum.

Punitive damages were not sought because of the delay in bringing the case to trial. Soros denied any wrongdoing, saying news of the takeover was public knowledge[39] and it was documented that his intent to acquire shares of the company predated his own awareness of the takeover.

His insider trading conviction was upheld by the highest court in France on June 14, 2006.[38] In December 2006, he appealed to the European Court of Human Rights on various grounds including that the 14-year delay in bringing the case to trial precluded a fair hearing.[40] On the basis of Article 7 of the European convention on human rights, stating that no person may be punished for an act that was not a criminal offense at the time that it was committed, the Court agreed to hear the appeal.[41] In October 2011, the court rejected his appeal in a 4–3 decision, saying that Soros had been aware of the risk of breaking insider trading laws.

Sports

In 2005, Soros was a minority partner in a group that tried to buy the Washington Nationals, a Major League baseball team. Some Republican lawmakers suggested that they might move to revoke baseball's antitrust exemption if Soros bought the team.

In 2008, Soros' name was associated with AS Roma, an Italian association football team, but the club was not sold. Soros was also a financial backer of Washington Soccer L.P., the group that owned the operating rights to Major League Soccer club D.C. United when the league was founded in 1995, but the group lost these rights in 2000.

On August 21, 2012, the BBC reported SEC filings showing Soros acquired a roughly 1.9% stake in English football club Manchester United through the purchase of 3.1 million of the club's Class-A shares.

Philanthropy

Soros has been active as a philanthropist since the 1970s, when he began providing funds to help black students attend the University of Cape Town in apartheid South Africa,[46] and began funding dissident movements behind the iron curtain.

Soros' philanthropic funding includes efforts to promote non-violent democratization in the post-Soviet states. These efforts, mostly in Central and Eastern Europe, occur primarily through the Open Society Institute (OSI) and national Soros Foundations, which sometimes go under other names (such as the Stefan Batory Foundation in Poland). As of 2003, PBS estimated that he had given away a total of $4 billion. The OSI says it has spent about $500 million annually in recent years.

In 2003, former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker wrote in the foreword of Soros' book The Alchemy of Finance:

George Soros has made his mark as an enormously successful speculator, wise enough to largely withdraw when still way ahead of the game. The bulk of his enormous winnings is now devoted to encouraging transitional and emerging nations to become "open societies", open not only in the sense of freedom of commerce but – more important – tolerant of new ideas and different modes of thinking and behavior.

Time magazine in 2007 cited two specific projects – $100 million toward Internet infrastructure for regional Russian universities, and $50 million for the Millennium Promise to eradicate extreme poverty in Africa – while noting that Soros had given $742 million to projects in the U.S., and given away a total of more than $7 billion.

Other notable projects have included aid to scientists and universities throughout Central and Eastern Europe, help to civilians during the siege of Sarajevo, and Transparency International. Soros also pledged an endowment of €420 million to the Central European University (CEU). The Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus and his microfinance bank Grameen Bank received support from the OSI.

According to National Review[49] the Open Society Institute gave $20,000 in September 2002 to the Defense Committee of Lynne Stewart, the lawyer who has defended alleged terrorists in court and was sentenced to 2⅓ years in prison for "providing material support for a terrorist conspiracy" via a press conference for a client. An OSI spokeswoman said "it appeared to us at that time that there was a right-to-counsel issue worthy of our support."

In September 2006 Soros pledged $50 million to the Millennium Promise, led by economist Jeffrey Sachs to provide educational, agricultural, and medical aid to help villages in Africa enduring poverty. The New York Times termed this endeavor a "departure" for Soros whose philanthropic focus had been on fostering democracy and good government, but Soros noted that most poverty resulted from bad governance.

He received honorary doctoral degrees from the New School for Social Research (New York), the University of Oxford in 1980, the Corvinus University of Budapest, and Yale University in 1991. Soros also received the Yale International Center for Finance Award from the Yale School of Management in 2000 as well as the Laurea Honoris Causa, the highest honor of the University of Bologna in 1995.

Soros played a role in the peaceful transition from communism to capitalism in Hungary (1984–89)[7] and provided Europe's largest-ever higher education endowment to Central European University in Budapest.[51] Later, the Open Society Institute's programs in Georgia were considered by Russian and Western observers to have been crucial in the success of the Rose Revolution.

In the United States, he donated large sums of money in an effort to defeat President George W. Bush's bid for re-election in 2004. In 2010, he donated $1 million in support of Proposition 19, which would have legalized marijuana in the state of California. He was an initial donor to the Center for American Progress, and he continues to support the organization through the Open Society Foundations. The Open Society Institute has active programs in more than 60 countries around the world with total expenditures currently averaging approximately $600 million a year. Between 1979 and 2011, Soros gave away over $8 billion to human rights, public health, and education causes.

In an interview with The Washington Post on November 11, 2003, Soros said that removing President George W. Bush from office was the "central focus of my life" and "a matter of life and death". He said he would sacrifice his entire fortune to defeat President Bush "if someone guaranteed it".

Soros gave $3 million to the Center for American Progress, $2.5 million to MoveOn.org, and $20 million to America Coming Together. These groups worked to support Democrats in the 2004 election.

On September 28, 2004 he dedicated more money to the campaign and kicked off his own multi-state tour with a speech: Why We Must Not Re-elect President Bush delivered at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The online transcript to this speech received many hits after Dick Cheney accidentally referred to FactCheck.org as "factcheck.com" in the Vice Presidential debate, causing the owner of that domain to redirect all traffic to Soros' site.

Asked in 2006 about his statement in The Age of Fallibility that "the main obstacle to a stable and just world order is the United States", Soros responded that "it happens to coincide with the prevailing opinion in the world. And I think that's rather shocking for Americans to hear. The United States sets the agenda for the world. And the rest of the world has to respond to that agenda. By declaring a 'war on terror' after September 11, we set the wrong agenda for the world. ... when you wage war, you inevitably create innocent victims."[57]

Soros was not a large donor to US political causes until the 2004 presidential election, but according to the Center for Responsive Politics, during the 2003–2004 election cycle, Soros donated $23,581,000 to various 527 groups dedicated to defeating President Bush. A 527 group is a type of American tax-exempt organization named after a section of the United States tax code, 26 U.S.C. § 527.

After Bush's re-election, Soros and other donors backed a new political fundraising group called Democracy Alliance, which supports progressive causes and the formation of a stronger progressive infrastructure in America.

In August 2009, Soros donated $35 million to the state of New York to be ear-marked for under-privileged children and given to parents who had benefit cards at the rate of $200 per child aged 3 through 17, with no limit as to the number of children that qualified. An additional $140 million was put into the fund by the state of New York from money they had received from the 2009 federal recovery act.

On October 26, 2010, Soros donated $1 million, the largest donation in the campaign, to the Drug Policy Alliance to fund Proposition 19, that would have legalized marijuana in the state of California if it had passed in the November 2, 2010 elections.

In October 2011 a Reuters story titled "Soros: not a funder of Wall Street protests" was published after several commentators pointed out errors in an earlier Reuters story headlined "Who's behind the Wall St. protests?"with a lede stating that the Occupy Wall Street movement "may have benefited indirectly from the largesse of one of the world's richest men [Soros]". Reuters' follow-up article also reported a Soros spokesperson and Adbusters' co-founder Kalle Lasn both saying that Adbusters – which was the catalyst for the first Occupy Wall Street protests – had never received any contributions from Soros, contrary to Reuters' earlier story which reported that "indirect financial links" existed between the two as late as 2010. [

According to Waldemar A. Nielsen, an authority on American philanthropy, "[Soros] has undertaken ... nothing less than to open up the once-closed Communist societies of Eastern Europe to a free flow of ideas and scientific knowledge from the ouside world".

From 1979, as an advocate of 'open societies', Soros financially supported dissidents including Poland's Solidarity movement, Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia and Andrei Sakharov in the Soviet Union.

In 1984, he founded his first Open Society Institute in Hungary with a budget of $3 million.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Soros' funding has continued to play an important role in the former Soviet sphere. His funding of pro-democratic programs in Georgia was considered by Russian and Western observers to be crucial to the success of the Rose Revolution, although Soros has said that his role has been "greatly exaggerated".[65] Alexander Lomaia, Secretary of the Georgian Security Council and former Minister of Education and Science, is a former Executive Director of the Open Society Georgia Foundation (Soros Foundation), overseeing a staff of 50 and a budget of $2,500,000.

Former Georgian Foreign Minister Salomé Zourabichvili wrote that institutions like the Soros Foundation were the cradle of democratisation and that all the NGOs which gravitated around the Soros Foundation undeniably carried the revolution. She opines that after the revolution the Soros Foundation and the NGOs were integrated into power.

Some Soros-backed pro-democracy initiatives have been banned in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.[68] Ercis Kurtulus, head of the Social Transparency Movement Association (TSHD) in Turkey, said in an interview that "Soros carried out his will in Ukraine and Georgia by using these NGOs ... Last year Russia passed a special law prohibiting NGOs from taking money from foreigners. I think this should be banned in Turkey as well."[69] In 1997, Soros had to close his foundation in Belarus after it was fined $3 million by the government for "tax and currency violations". According to The New York Times, the Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko has been widely criticized in the West and in Russia for his efforts to control the Belarus Soros Foundation and other independent NGOs and to suppress civil and human rights. Soros called the fines part of a campaign to "destroy independent society".

In June 2009, Soros donated $100m to Central Europe and Eastern Europe to counter the impact of the economic crisis on the poor, voluntary groups and non-government organisations.

[ The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa is a Soros-affiliated organization. Its director for Zimbabwe is Godfrey Kanyenze, who also directs the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), which was the main force behind the founding of the Movement for Democratic Change, the principal indigenous organization promoting regime change in Zimbabwe.

Soros has funded worldwide efforts to promote drug policy reform. In 2008, Soros donated $400,000 to help fund a successful ballot measure in Massachusetts known as the Massachusetts Sensible Marijuana Policy Initiative which decriminalized possession of less than 1 oz (28g) of marijuana in the state. Soros has also funded similar measures in California, Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Nevada and Maine.

Among the drug decriminalization groups that have received funding from Soros are the Lindesmith Center and Drug Policy Foundation. Soros donated $1.4 million to publicity efforts to support California's Proposition 5 in 2008, a failed ballot measure that would have expanded drug rehabilitation programs as alternatives to prison for persons convicted of non-violent drug-related offenses.

In October 2010, Soros donated $1 million to support California's Proposition 19.

According to remarks in an interview in October 2009, it is Soros' opinion that marijuana is less addictive but not appropriate for use by children and students. He himself has not used marijuana for years.

The Project on Death in America, active from 2001 to 2003, was one of the Open Society Institute's projects, which sought to "understand and transform the culture and experience of dying and bereavement". In 1994, Soros delivered a speech in which he reported that he had offered to help his mother, a member of the Hemlock Society, commit suicide. In the same speech, he also endorsed the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, the campaign which he helped fund.

Philosophy

His philosophical outlook is influenced by Karl Popper, under whom he studied at the London School of Economics (LSE). His Open Society Institute is named after Popper's two volume work, The Open Society and Its Enemies, and Soros' ongoing philosophical commitment to the principle of fallibilism (that anything he believes may in fact be wrong, and is therefore to be questioned and improved) stems from Popper's philosophy.

Reflexivity, financial markets, and economic theory

Soros' writings focus heavily on the concept of reflexivity, where the biases of individuals enter into market transactions, potentially changing the perception of fundamentals of the economy. Soros argues that different principles apply in markets depending on whether they are in a "near to equilibrium" or a "far from equilibrium" state. He argues that, when markets are rising or falling rapidly, they are typically marked by disequilibrium rather than equilibrium, and that the conventional economic theory of the market (the 'efficient market hypothesis') does not apply in these situations. Soros has popularized the concepts of dynamic disequilibrium, static disequilibrium, and near-equilibrium conditions.

He has stated that his own financial success has been attributable to the edge accorded by his understanding of the action of the reflexive effect.

Reflexivity is based on three main ideas:

Reflexivity is best observed under special conditions where investor bias grows and spreads throughout the investment arena. Examples of factors that may give rise to this bias include (a) equity leveraging or (b) the trend-following habits of speculators.

Reflexivity appears intermittently since it is most likely to be revealed under certain conditions; i.e., the character of the equilibrium process is best considered in terms of probabilities. Investors' observation of and participation in the capital markets may at times influence valuations and fundamental conditions or outcomes.

A recent example of reflexivity in modern financial markets is that of the debt and equity of housing markets. Lenders began to make more money available to more people in the 1990s to buy houses. More people bought houses with this larger amount of money, thus increasing the prices of these houses. Lenders looked at their balance sheets which not only showed that they had made more loans, but that their equity backing the loans – the value of the houses, had gone up (because more money was chasing the same amount of housing, relatively). Thus they lent out more money because their balance sheets looked good, and prices rose higher still.

This was further amplified by public policy. In the US, home loans were guaranteed by the Federal government. Many national governments saw home ownership as a positive outcome and so introduced grants for first-time home buyers and other financial subsidies, such as the exemption of a primary residence from capital gains taxation. These further encouraged house purchases, leading to further price rises and futher relaxation of lending standards.

The concept of reflexivity attempts to explain why markets moving from one equilibrium state to another tend to overshoot or undershoot.

View of problems in the free market system

Despite working as an investor and currency trader, Soros argues that the current system of financial speculation undermines healthy economic development in many underdeveloped countries. He blames many of the world's problems on the failures inherent in what he characterizes as market fundamentalism. His opposition to many aspects of globalization has made him a controversial figure.

Victor Niederhoffer said of Soros: "Most of all, George believed even then[when?] in a mixed economy, one with a strong central international government to correct for the excesses of self-interest."

Soros claims to draw a distinction between being a participant in the market and working to change the rules that market participants must follow. According to Mahathir bin Mohamed, Prime Minister of Malaysia from July 1981 to October 2003, Soros – as the hedge fund chief of Quantum – may have been partially responsible for the economic crash in 1997 of East Asian markets when the Thai currency relinquished its peg to the US dollar.

According to Mahathir, in the three years leading to the crash, Soros invested in short-term speculative investment in East Asian stock markets and real estate, then divested with "indecent haste" at the first signs of currency devaluation.[82] Soros replied, saying that Mahathir was using him "as a scapegoat for his own mistakes", that Mahathir's promises to ban currency trading (which Malaysian finance officials hastily retracted) were "a recipe for disaster" and that Mahathir "is a menace to his own country".

In an interview regarding the late-2000s recession, Soros referred to it as the most serious crisis since the 1930s. According to Soros, market fundamentalism with its assumption that markets will correct themselves with no need for government intervention in financial affairs has been "some kind of an ideological excess". In Soros' view, the markets' moods – a "mood" of the markets being a prevailing bias or optimism/pessimism with which the markets look at reality – "actually can reinforce themselves so that there are these initially self-reinforcing but eventually unsustainable and self-defeating boom/bust sequences or bubbles".

In reaction to the late-2000s recession, he founded the Institute for New Economic Thinking in October 2009. This is a think tank composed of international economic, business and financial experts, mandated to investigate radical new approaches to organising the international economic and financial system.

At a Jewish forum in New York City, November 5, 2003, Soros partially attributed a recent resurgence of antisemitism to the policies of Israel and the United States, and the role of wealthy and influential individuals: There is a resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe. The policies of the Bush administration and the Sharon administration contribute to that. It's not specifically anti-Semitism, but it does manifest itself in anti-Semitism as well. I'm critical of those policies ... If we change that direction, then anti-Semitism also will diminish. I can't see how one could confront it directly ... I'm also very concerned about my own role because the new anti-Semitism holds that the Jews rule the world ... As an unintended consequence of my actions ... I also contribute to that image.

In a subsequent article for The New York Review of Books, Soros emphasized that I do not subscribe to the myths propagated by enemies of Israel and I am not blaming Jews for anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism predates the birth of Israel. Neither Israel's policies nor the critics of those policies should be held responsible for anti-Semitism. At the same time, I do believe that attitudes toward Israel are influenced by Israel's policies, and attitudes toward the Jewish community are influenced by the pro-Israel lobby's success in suppressing divergent views.

In October 2011, Soros drafted an open letter entitled "As concerned Europeans we urge Eurozone leaders to unite",[87] in which he calls for a stronger economic government for Europe using federal means (Common EU treasury, common fiscal supervision, etc.) and warns against the danger of nationalistic solutions to the economic crisis. The letter was co-signed by prominent Europeans such as Javier Solana, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Andrew Duff, Emma Bonino, Massimo d'Alema, Vaira Vike-Freiberga.

Soros has expressed concern about the growth of Chinese economic and political power. "China has risen very rapidly by looking out for its own interests ... They have now got to accept responsibility for world order and the interests of other people as well." Regarding the political gridlock in America, he said, "Today China has not only a more vigorous economy, but actually a better functioning government than the United States".[

In the 1980s Viktor Orbán, a future Chairman of Fidesz (1994–2000, 2000–) and Hungarian Prime Minister (1998–2002, 2010–), along with László Kövér, a future Chairman of Fidesz (2000), Secret Service Minister (1998–2002) and Speaker of the National Assembly of Hungary (2010–), were Soros scholarship recipients. Deputy Prime Minister István Stumpf – now a member of the Constitutional Court – was a member of Soros Foundation's Board of Trustees between 1994 and 2002.

Personal life

Soros' family changed their name from Schwartz to Soros in 1936, in response to growing anti-semitism with the rise of fascism. Tivadar liked the new name because it is a palindrome and because of its meaning. Although the specific meaning is left unstated in Kaufman's biography, in Hungarian, soros means "next in line", or "designated successor"; and, in Esperanto, it means "will soar".

Soros has been married and divorced twice:

In 1960, Soros married Annaliese Witschak. Annaliese was an ethnic German immigrant from Germany who had been orphaned during the war. Although she was not Jewish, she was well liked by Soros' parents as she had also experienced the deprivations and dislocation brought about by World War II.[92] They divorced in 1983. They had three children:

1. Robert Daniel Soros (born 1963) – He is the founder of the Central European University in Prague, as well as a network of foundations in Eastern Europe. In 1992, he married Marlene S. Schiff at the Temple Emanu-El in New York City. The Rabbi Dr. David Posner officiated the ceremony.

2. Andrea Soros Colombel (born 1965) – She is the founder and president of Trace Foundation, established in 1993 to promote the cultural continuity and sustainable development of Tibetan communities within China. She is also a founding partner and member of the board of directors of the Acumen Fund, a global venture fund that employs an entrepreneurial approach in addressing the problems of global poverty She is married to Eric Colombel.

3. Jonathan Tivadar Soros (born 1970) – In 1997, married Jennifer Ann Allan at the Siasconset Union Chapel in Nantucket, Massachusetts. The Rev. Edward B. Anderson, a Unitarian minister, officiated the ceremony.

In 1983 he married Susan Weber Soros, twenty five years his junior. They divorced in 2005. They have two children:

1. Alexander Soros (born 1985) – Alexander is also gaining prominence for his donations to social and political causes, focusing his philanthropic efforts on "progressive causes that might not have widespread support". Alexander serves on the boards of Jewish Funds for Justice and Global Witness, and led the list of student political donors in the 2010 election cycle.

2. Gregory Soros (born 1989) Soros is engaged to Tamiko Bolton.

Soros has one elder brother, Paul Soros, who is a private investor and philanthropist. He is also an engineer who headed Soros Associates and established the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for Young Americans. He is married to Daisy (née Schlenger), who like her husband, was a Hungarian Jewish immigrant. They have two sons Peter and Jeffrey.

Peter Soros was married to the former Flora Fraser – a daughter of Lady Antonia Fraser and the late Sir Hugh Fraser and a stepdaughter of the late 2005 Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter. Fraser and Soros separated in 2009.

Authored or co-authored

  • Financial Turmoil in Europe and the United States: Essays (PublicAffairs,2012). ISBN 1-61039-161-0
  • The Soros Lectures at the Central European University (PublicAffairs, 2010) ISBN 1-58648-885-7
  • The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What it Means (PublicAffairs, 2008). ISBN 1-58648-683-7
  • The Age of Fallibility: Consequences of the War on Terror (PublicAffairs, 2006) ISBN 1-58648-359-5
  • The Bubble of American Supremacy: Correcting the Misuse of American Power (PublicAffairs, 2003) ISBN 1-58648-217-3 (paperback; PublicAffairs, 2004; ISBN 1-58648-292-0)
  • George Soros on Globalization (PublicAffairs, 2002) ISBN 1-58648-125-8 (paperback; PublicAffairs, 2005; ISBN 1-5264-8278-5)
  • Open Society: Reforming Global Capitalism (PublicAffairs, 2001) ISBN 1-58648-039-7
  • With Mark Amadeus Notturno, Science and the Open Society: The Future of Karl Popper's Philosophy (Central European University Press, 2000) ISBN 963-9116-69-6 (paperback: Central European University Press, 2000; ISBN 94-391-1670-X)
  • The Crisis of Global Capitalism: Open Society Endangered (PublicAffairs, 1998) ISBN 1-891220-27-4
  • Soros on Soros: Staying Ahead of the Curve (John Wiley, 1995) ISBN 0-471-12014-6 (paperback; Wiley, 1995; ISBN 0-371-11977-6)
  • Underwriting Democracy: Encouraging Free Enterprise and Democratic Reform Among the Soviets and in Eastern Europe (Free Press, 1991) ISBN 0-02-930285-4 (paperback; PublicAffairs, 2004; ISBN 1-58948-227-0)
  • Opening the Soviet System (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1990) ISBN 0-297-82155-9 (paperback: Perseus Books, 1996; ISBN 0-8133-1205-1)
  • The Alchemy of Finance (Simon & Schuster, 1988) ISBN 0-671-66338-4 (paperback: Wiley, 2003; ISBN 0-471-44549-5)
  • [edit]Biographies
  • Soros: The Life and Times of a Messianic Billionaire by Michael T. Kaufman (Alfred A. Knopf, 2002) ISBN 0-375-40585-2
  • Soros: The World's Most Influential Investor by Robert Slater (McGraw-Hill Professional, 2009) ISBN 978-0-07-160844-2
  • [edit]Journalism
  • [edit]Authored
  • George Soros, "Why I support legal marijuana", The Wall Street Journal, October 26, 2010.
  • George Soros, "The Crisis and the Euro", The New York Review of Books, August 19, 2010.
  • George Soros, "On Israel, America and AIPAC", The New York Review of Books, April 12, 2007.
  • George Soros, "The Bubble of American Supremacy", The Atlantic, December 2003.
  • George Soros, The Bubble of American Supremacy, audio recording of The Atlantic article via Assistive Media, read by Grover Gardner, 18 minutes.
  • George Soros, "Soros on Brazil", Financial Times, August 13, 2002.
  • George Soros, "Bitter Thoughts with Faith in Russia", Moskovskiye Novosti (Moscow News), translated from the Russian by Olga Kryazheva, February 27, 2000.
  • George Soros, "The Capitalist Threat", The Atlantic Monthly, February 1997.
  • George Soros, "Paulson Cannot be Allowed a Blank Cheque", Financial Times, September 24, 2008
  • [edit]About
  • John Authors, "A successful prophet of the markets", Financial Times, May 19, 2008.
  • Laura Blumenfeld, "Billionaire Soros Takes On Bush", The Washington Post, November 11, 2003
  • Connie Bruck, Abstract of New Yorker profile of Soros "The World According to Soros", The New Yorker, January 23, 1995
  • Malcolm Gladwell, gladwell.com "Blowing Up", The New Yorker, April 22 & 29, 2002.
  • Matt Welch, Open Season on 'Open Society': Why an anti-communist "Holocaust survivor is being demonized as a Socialist, Self-hating Jew". Reason, December 8, 2003
  • "Time's 25 Most Influential Americans", Time, April 21, 1997. Retrieved May 21, 2007.
  • "The Time 100: The Power Givers: George Soros", Time, May 14, 2007, Retrieved May 21, 2007.
  • [edit]Scholarly perspectives
  • Bryant, C. G. A. (2002). "George Soros's theory of reflexivity: a comparison with the theories of Giddens and Beck and a consideration of its practical value". Economy and Society 31 (1): 112–131. doi:10.1080/03085140120109277.
  • Cross, R.; Strachan, D. (1997). "On George Soros and economic analysis". Kyklos 50 (4): 561–574. doi:10.1111/1467-6435.00030.
  • Kwong, C.P. (2008). "Mathematical analysis of Soros's theory of reflexivity". arXiv:0901.4447 [q-fin.GN].
  • Nielsen, Waldemar A. (1996). Inside American Philanthropy: The Dramas of Donorship. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 77–82. ISBN 978-0-8061-2802-3.
  • Pettis, Michael (2001). The Volatility Machine: Emerging Economies and the Threat of Financial Collapse. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-514330-2.
  • Stone, Diane (2007). "Market Principles, Philanthropic Ideals and Public Service Values: The Public Policy Program at the Central European University". PS: Political Science and Politics: 545–551.
  • Diane Stone, Transnational Philanthropy or Policy Transfer? The Transnational Norms of the Open Society Institute, Policy and Politics, 38(2), 2010: 269-87.
  • [edit]Speeches
  • Testimony of George Soros to a congressional sub-committee, Sept. 15, 1998
  • The Theory of Reflexivity Delivered April 26, 1994 to the MIT Department of Economics World Economy
  • "The Differences Between Natural and Social Science: Implications of Fallibility" at IISc Bangalore, January 5, 2007
  • George Soros introduced by Lajos Bokros (November 11, 2008). George Soros Lecture on the Global Financial Crisis On November 11, 1 hour 16 minutes. Budapest, Hungary: CEU Business School.
  • Testimony before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Oversight Hearing on FTC Advanced Rulemaking and Oil Market Manipulation[104]
  • [edit]Interviews
  • Fareed Zakaria discussing economic crisis with George Soros on GPS, aired October 12, 2008
  • The Leonard Lopate Show (WNYC) – Audio Archive: "George Soros on Freedom"
  • "Frontline: The Crash: Interviews: George Soros", 1999
  • Wall $treet Week with Fortune. PBS, September 20, 2002
  • Challenge: The international financial crisis – International ...
  • NOW with Bill Moyers. Transcript. David Brancaccio interviews ...
  • Booknotes interview with Soros on The Bubble of American Supremacy: Correcting the Misuse of American Power, February 29, 2004.
  • Rocketboom: The Age of Fallibility (Video, 2006)
  • Google Video: Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google interviews George Soros (Video, 2006)
  • Interview with George Soros, September 5, 2000

About ג'ורג' סורוס (עברית)

ג'ורג' סורוס

' (באנגלית: George Soros, בהונגרית: Soros György; נולד ב-12 באוגוסט 1930) הוא איל הון יהודי-הונגרי-אמריקאי מיליארדר התורם סכומים נכבדים לארגוני זכויות אדם, למוסדות, ולקידום פעילות פוליטית בעולם. נודע בשל עמדותיו הליברליות-שמאלניות במידה רבה.[1][2]

בשנת 2018 העריך מגזין "פורבס" את הונו בכ-8 מיליארד דולר.[3]

תוכן עניינים 1 ראשית חייו 2 פעילות כלכלית 2.1 עסקיו 2.2 תחזיות 2.3 מידע פנים 3 השקעות בישראל 4 תרומותיו 5 עמדותיו והתגובה להן 6 חייו האישיים 7 בין ספריו 8 קישורים חיצוניים 9 הערות שוליים ראשית חייו נולד בשם ג'רג' שוורץ (בהונגרית: Schwartz György) בבודפשט שבהונגריה, למשפחה יהודית חילונית אמידה. הוריו לא חשו בנוח עם שורשיהם וסורוס אמר שגדל בבית "יהודי אנטישמי".[4] אביו טיבדר היה עורך דין במקצועו שנפל בשבי במהלך שירותו במלחמת העולם הראשונה, ונמלט חזרה מרוסיה למשפחתו בבודפשט. אימו ארזבט הגיעה ממשפחה עם חנות מצליחה למשי. כמו כן אביו היה חובב אספרנטו ולימד את בנו את השפה. בשנת 1936 שינה אביו את שם משפחתו משוורץ ("שחור" בגרמנית/יידיש) לשורוש ("יורש" בהונגרית, או "להרקיע" באספרנטו), כהגנה מפני התחזקות האנטישמיות בהונגריה ובאירופה.

במרץ 1944 השתלטו הנאצים על הונגריה. ילדים יהודים הורחקו מבתי הספר, ונדרשו להתייצב בפני היודנראט. סורוס סיפר שקיבל מהיודנראט משימה: לחלק הודעות ליהודים. הוא הראה את ההודעות לאביו, שזיהה שאלה צווי הגליה לעורכי דין יהודים, והורה לסורוס להזהיר את מקבלי הצווים. משפחתו של סורוס רכשה מסמכים שהקנו לה זהות נוצרית, וכך שרדה את שואת יהודי הונגריה. סורוס הנער התחזה לבן הסנדקות של פקיד במשרד החקלאות ההונגרי, שעסק בהחרמת רכוש יהודי.[5] בשנת 1998 בראיון עם סטיב קרופט במסגרת התוכנית 60 דקות אמר סורוס שאין הוא מצטער על מעשיו באותה תקופה, שכן בכל מקרה אדם אחר היה עושה זאת.[6] אביו של סורוס סייע להצלת יהודים נוספים, וסורוס כתב על כך מאוחר יותר ששנת 1944 הייתה המאושרת בחייו, משום שהתאפשר לו לחזות בגבורתו של אביו.[7] בשנת 1945 שרד סורוס את המצור על בודפשט.

בגיל 17 היגר לאנגליה ולמד בבית הספר לכלכלה של לונדון שם סיים תואר ראשון ושני בפילוסופיה בשנת 1954.[8] הוא הושפע רבות מהפילוסוף קרל פופר, שהיה אחד ממוריו, ומרעיון החברה הפתוחה אותו קידם. בתום לימודיו החל לעבוד כפקיד בבנק "סינגר ופרידלנדר", ובהמשך עבר למחלקת הארביטראז'. בהמלצת חבר לעבודה עבר בשנת 1956 לניו יורק, שם עבד בחברת הברוקרים F.M. Mayer והתמחה במניות אירופיות, שעוררו עניין בארצות הברית עם ראשיתו של התהליך שהסתיים לימים בהקמת האיחוד האירופי. בשנת 1959 עבר לעבוד בחברת Wertheim & Co., כאנליסט לניירות ערך אירופיים.

פעילות כלכלית סורוס עשה את הונו ממסחר במטבע חוץ. הוא רכש מטבעות שלדעתו עמדו בפני ייסוף, ומכר מטבעות שלדעתו עמדו בפני פיחות. לרוב, הערכותיו היו נכונות ומבוססות. את עיקר פרסומו הציבורי קנה ב-1992, עת מכר בחסר מיליארדי לירות שטרלינג תוך ציפייה לפיחות בשער המטבע הבריטי. הפיחות אכן התממש ב-1993 והביא ליציאת הליש"ט ממנגנון שערי החליפין האירופי, שקדם לאירו.

הונו מוערך, נכון ל-2013, ב-19.2 מיליארד דולר, מה שהופך אותו לאחד מ-50 עשירי תבל. מגזין "פורבס" דירג אותו במקום ה-35 ברשימת עשירי תבל. בעשורים האחרונים החל סורוס לתרום מיליארדי דולרים לצדקה וארגונים פוליטיים. סורוס הוא יו"ר הנהלת קרן ההון "סורוס" וראש "מכון החברה הפתוחה" (Open Society Institute). הוא גם חבר לשעבר במועצת המנהלים של המועצה האמריקנית ליחסי חוץ. ב-2009, לאחר המשבר הכלכלי העולמי, הקים את המכון למחשבה כלכלית חדשה (Institute for New Economic Thinking).[9]

עסקיו בשנת 1970 ייסד סורוס את "סורוס ניהול קרנות" עם המשקיע ג'ים רוג'רס. בשנת 1973 עזב את חברת "בליצ'רודר וארנולד" כדי להקים קרן גידור משלו באמצעות 12 מיליון דולר שגויסו מהמשקיעים. כריסטופר אינק היה מעורב גם הוא בקרן, ושותפים אחרים היו ויקטור נידרהופר וסטנלי דרוקנמילר, אך ג'ים רוג'רס פרש מהקרן בשנת 1980.

בתחילה נקראה הקרן קרן סורוס, אך שמה בסופו של דבר שונה לקרן קוונטום. בשנת 2000 בוצע ארגון מחדש בחברת הקרנות של קוונטום, ואת קרן הדגל Quantum Endowment Fund הוקמה. והשותפות המוגבלת של סורוס ניהול קרנות תפקדה בתור היועץ העיקרי של הקרן. ג'ורג' סורוס הוא יו"ר הנהלת קרן סורוס. ואילו הפעילות היום יומית של הקרן מנוהלת על ידי שני בניו הגדולים של סורוס וכן על ידי מנהל ההשקעות הראשי קית אנדרסון.

הקרן מחזיקה נכסים בשווי מוערך של כ-27 מיליארד דולרים. בין ההשקעות האחרונות נמצאת רכישה משנת 2010 של כ-20% מחברת BNK Petroleum. בשנת 2007, קרן קוונטום הניבה תשואה של 32%, כשסורוס שבאותה תקופה חזר מפרישה גרף 2.9 מיליארד דולרים כתוצאה מהישגי הקרן.

ב-16 בספטמבר 1992, יום רביעי השחור, הקרן של סורוס ביצעה מכירה בחסר של לירות שטרלינג בשווי יותר מ-10 מיליארד דולר, תוך ניצול הימנעותה של ממשלת בריטניה מלהעלות את הריבית לרמה ששררה בכלכלות אחרות באירופה או לאפשר ניוד של המטבע שלה. כשלבסוף נסוגה בריטניה ממנגנון הריבית האחידה האירופי, הדבר גרם לפיחות קיצוני בלירת השטרלינג, והמרוויח הגדול מכך היה סורוס שגרף סכום המוערך ב-1.1 מיליארד דולרים. הוא כונה "האיש ששבר את הבנק המרכזי של אנגליה". בשנת 1997, העריך משרד האוצר הבריטי את העלות של יום רביעי השחור ב-3.4 מיליארד פאונד.

ביום שני 26 באוקטובר 1992, צוטט סורוס בעיתון הטיימס כאומר "סה"כ הפוזיציה שלנו ביום רביעי השחור הייתה שווה כמעט 10 מיליארד דולר, תכננו למכור יותר מכך למעשה, כאשר אמר נורמן למונט (שר האוצר של בריטניה) רק לפני הפיחות שהוא מתעתד ללוות קרוב ל-15 מיליארד כדי להגן על הסטרלינג, היינו משועשעים מפני שזה היה כמה שאנחנו רוצים למכור".

בשנת 1997, במהלך המשבר הפיננסי באסיה (1997), האשים ראש ממשלת מלזיה מאהאטיר מוחמד את סורוס בשימוש בעושרו על מנת להעניש את איגוד מדינות דרום-מזרח אסיה (ASEAN) על קבלת מיאנמר כחברה בארגון. בהמשך להיסטוריה של התבטאויות אנטישמיות, מהאטיר התייחס לרקע היהודי של סורוס ("היה זה יהודי אשר עורר את קריסת המטבע"[10] ) ורמז כי סורוס גרם למשבר כחלק מקונספירציה יהודית. תשע שנים מאוחר יותר, בשנת 2006, התנצל על כך מהאטיר.

בספרו משנת 1998 "The Crisis of Global Capitalism: Open Society Endangered" הסביר סורוס את תפקידו במשבר כך:

המשבר הפיננסי שמקורו בתאילנד בשנת 1997 היה מעצבן במיוחד בשל היקפו וחומרתו ... בתחילת שנת 1997, היה ברור לסורוס ניהול קרנות, כי הפער בין חשבון הסחר וחשבון ההון נעשה בלתי נסבל. מכרנו בחסר בהט תאילנדי ואת הרינגיט המלזי בראשית שנת 1997 עם מח"מ של שישה חודשים עד שנה. (כלומר, נכנסנו לתוך חוזים לספק בתאריך עתידי בהט תאילנדי ורינגיט מלזי שאנחנו לא מחזיקים כעת). לאחר מכן ראש הממשלה של מלזיה, מהאטיר האשים אותי בגרימת המשבר, האשמה מופרכת לחלוטין. לא היינו בין המוכרים של המטבע במהלך החודשים שלפני המשבר, אלא להפך, דווקא קנינו כאשר המטבעות החלו לרדת -ביצענו רכישת רינגיט כדי לממש את הרווחים על ספקולציות קודמות שלנו (סגירת פוזיציה). (יותר מדי מוקדם, כפי שהתברר. השארנו את מרבית הרווח הפוטנציאלי על השולחן כי פחדנו כי מהאטיר יכפה שליטה במטבע. הוא עשה זאת, אבל הרבה יותר מאוחר".[11] התוצר מקומי גולמי (תמ"ג) של ASEAN במונחי דולר אמריקאי ירד בכ-9.2 מיליארד דולרים בשנת 1997 ו-218.2 מיליארדי דולר (31.7%) בשנת 1998.

תחזיות בספרו: "הפרדיגמה החדשה של השווקים הפיננסיים" (מאי 2008), תיאר סורוס "סופר בועה" שהלכה והתנפחה במשך 25 השנים האחרונות והיא מוכנה לקריסה. זה היה השלישי בסדרה של ספרים שנכתבו על ידו ובהן הוא חזה בהצלחה אסון כלכלי. כפי שהוא קובע:

"יש לי היסטוריה של ילד הקורא זאב זאב ... עשיתי זאת לראשונה ב (ספר) "האלכימיה של האוצר" (בשנת 1987), ואז ב"משבר של הקפיטליזם הגלובלי" (בשנת 1998) ועכשיו בספר הזה. כך ש זה שלושה ספרים המנבאים אסון. (ולאחר ש)הילד צעק זאב זאב שלוש פעמים ... הזאב באמת הגיע”. הוא מייחס את הצלחתו ליכולתו להבחין כאשר התחזיות שלו אינן נכונות:

"אני עשיר רק מפני שאני יודע מתי אני טועה ... אני בעצם שרדתי על ידי זיהוי הטעויות שלי. אני מקבל כאבי גב לעיתים קרובות בשל העובדה כי טעיתי. בכל פעם שאתה טועה אתה צריך להילחם או לברוח. וכאשר [אני] הופך את ההחלטה, כאב הגב נעלם”. בחודש פברואר 2009, אמר ג'ורג' סורוס כי המערכת הפיננסית העולמית למעשה התפרקה, והוסיף כי אין סיכוי לפתרון בטווח הקרוב למשבר. "אנו עדים להתמוטטות של המערכת הפיננסית... היה דגש על "יצוב החולה”, וזה עדיין בשלב של "יצוב החולה”. אין שום סימן שאנחנו קרובים לתחתית".

מידע פנים בשנת 1988, סורוס התבקש להצטרף לניסיון השתלטות על הבנק הצרפתי סוסייטה ז'נרל והוא סירב להשתתף במכרז, אך למרות זאת מאוחר יותר קנה ממניות החברה. השלטונות הצרפתיים החלו בחקירה בשנת 1989, ובשנת 2002 בית המשפט הצרפתי קבע כי היה זה סחר במידע פנים, הרשעה פלילית כמוגדר תחת חוקי ניירות ערך הצרפתית, והוא נקנס בסכום של 2.3 מיליון דולר, אשר היה הסכום שאותו הרוויח מהשימוש במידע פנים. לא נעשתה חקירה של נזקי האירוע בגלל התיישנות המקרה ומשך הזמן עד להרשעה. סורוס הכחיש כל אשמה ואמר כי החדשות של השתלטות היו נחלת הכלל. ההרשעה שלו בסחר במידע פנים אושרה גם על ידי בית המשפט העליון בצרפת ב-14 ביוני 2006. סורוס ערער לבית המשפט האירופי לזכויות אדם, בטענה כי עיכוב של 14 שנה בהבאת התיק לבית המשפט מנע שימוע הוגן. באוקטובר 2011 נדחה ערעורו.

השקעות בישראל במשך השנים השקיע סורוס במספר חברות בישראל, בהן:

אינדיגו - השקעתו הראשונה בישראל הייתה בחברת "אינדיגו" (היום HP Indigo) העוסקת בייצור מכונות דפוס דיגיטלי. ביוני 1993 הוא רכש 14% מהחברה בתמורה ל-50 מיליון דולר. ב-1995 הגדיל סורוס את החזקותיו ל-30%.[12] ג'יאוטק - בסוף שנת 1993 השקיע סורוס 125 מיליון דולר בחברת ג'יאוטק, שפיתחה מוצרים לתקשורת אלחוטית על בסיס טכנולוגיה של רפא"ל.[13] החברה פשטה את הרגל.[14] קומברס - בשנת 1997, הקים יחד עם חברת קומברס את קרן ההון סיכון "קומסור" (שם החברה הוא שילוב של קומברס וסורוס), שגייסה הון בהיקף של 30 מיליון דולר להשקעות היי-טק בישראל.[15] בשנת 2012, בעקבות המשבר שחוותה החברה, רכש 7% ממניותיה בשווי של כ-100 מיליון דולר.[16] טבע תעשיות פרמצבטיות - במשך השנים הושקע כ-5% מהון קרן ההשקעות של סורוס במניות החברה.[17] אלרוב נדל"ן ומלונאות - בשנות ה-90 של המאה ה-20 החזיק כ-25% ממניות החברה בשותפות עם אלפרד אקירוב.[18][19] בהמשך מכר את המניות לנוחי דנקנר.[20] מדיקה ונצ'ר פרטנרס - בשנת 2004 השקיע כ-20 מיליון דולר בקרן הון סיכון הישראלית "מדיקה ונצ'ר פרטנרס", המתמקדת בהשקעה בחברות המפתחות טכנולוגיות בתחומי הרפואה השונים, בשיתוף בנק הפועלים.[21] אלוט תקשורת - קרן ההשקעות של סורוס מחזיקה 16% ממניות החברה החל משנת 2017.[22] תרומותיו החל משנות ה-80 החל סורוס בפעילות פילנתרופית למען דמוקרטיזציה וחברה חופשית, ועם הזמן הפך לאחד התורמים הגדולים בעולם לארגוני חברה אזרחית. רוב התרומות נעשות בעזרת "מכון החברה הפתוחה" שהקים. מאז 1982 ועד תחילת 2017 תרם המכון מעל 14 מיליארד דולר.[23] בסוף 2017 תרם סורוס למכון 18 מיליארד דולר.[24]

את פעילותו הפילנתרופית התחיל סורוס במזרח אירופה בסוף ימי המשטר הקומוניסטי. הוא תרם לארגונים כמו סולידריות בפולין ואמנה 77 בצ'כוסלובקיה. בהונגריה הוא תרם לרכישת מאות מכונות צילום (שעד אז היו בשליטה ממשלתית הדוקה) ולייבוא רבבות ספרים שלא ניתן היה להשיג עד אז במדינה.[25] סורוס הוא התורם המרכזי לאוניברסיטה המרכז אירופאית שהוקמה ב-1991 בעקבות נפילת המשטר הקומוניסטי שם. האוניברסיטה מעניקה את "פרס החברה הפתוחה", שראשון זוכיו היה הפילוסוף קרל פופר.[26]

סורוס היה אחד ממתנגדיו הגדולים של נשיא ארצות הברית לשעבר ג'ורג' ווקר בוש ותרם כסף רב לקמפיינים של מתחריו. בכלל זה תרם למפלגה הדמוקרטית 27 מיליון דולר, בעת הבחירות לנשיאות ארצות הברית 2004.[27] הוא תרם גם למסעי הבחירות של ברק אובמה לנשיאות. סורוס נמנה עם התורמים המרכזיים של שדולת "ג'יי סטריט".[28]

בשנת 2016 הודלפו מסמכים של "מכון החברה הפתוחה". על פי המסמכים תרם המכון לארגוני שמאל הפועלים בישראל וכן ארגונים הקשורים לערביי ישראל ולרשות הפלסטינית, תוך ניסיון שלא להבליט את מעורבותו. בין היתר נתרמו 2.5 מיליון דולר לעדאלה – המרכז המשפטי לזכויות המיעוט הערבי בישראל, ומיליון דולר לארגון אעלאם.[29] נכון לשנים 2014–2015, קיבלו כסף מגופים של 'החברה הפתוחה' בסכום מצטבר של מיליוני שקלים, הארגונים בצלם, שוברים שתיקה, מחסום ווטש ועוד. הקרן החדשה לישראל קיבלה מענק בסך 837 אלף דולר בשנת 2015.[30] על פי המסמכים, המכון מולד - המרכז להתחדשות הדמוקרטיה קיבל שני מענקים על סך 100 אלף דולר כל אחד, כשאחד מהם הוגדר כמיועד "לגייס תמיכה פוליטית וציבורית בישראל נגד ההתנחלויות, באמצעות מחקר על ההשלכות הכלכליות שלהן".[31]

עמדותיו והתגובה להן סורוס תומך בארגוני שמאל וארגונים ליברליים בארצות הברית ובמקומות אחרים בעולם. נחשב ל"ביקורתי כלפי מדיניות ממשלת ישראל".[1] בשנת 2003 הביע סורוס עמדה שלפיה מדיניותן של מדינת ישראל ושל ארצות הברית וכן עושרם של יהודים מחזקים מגמות אנטישמיות.[32] ב-2007 כתב מאמר ב-The New York Review of Books, שבו טען שהאנטישמיות קדמה למדינת ישראל, ושמדיניות מדינת ישראל אינה אחראית לאנטישמיות, אולם הגישה כלפי מדינת ישראל מושפעת מהמדיניות שלה.[33]

סורוס פועל נגד מדיניות ההגירה של הונגריה, המונעת כניסת פליטים מוסלמים למדינה. בשנת 2017 יצאה מפלגת האזרחים ההונגרית שבראשות ראש ממשלת הונגריה, ויקטור אורבן, בקמפיין שלטי חוצות נגד סורוס שבהם נאמר: "אסור לתת לג'ורג' סורוס להיות זה שצוחק אחרון".[34] בין השאר הודבק דיוקנו של סורוס על רציפי רכבת בבודפשט כדי שנוסעים ידרכו עליו. הקהילה היהודית בהונגריה ראתה בקמפיין זה גם עידוד לאנטישמיות,[35] ובעקבות זאת פרסם שגריר ישראל בהונגריה הודעת גינוי לקמפיין. יום לאחר מכן פרסם משרד החוץ הודעת הבהרה, בהנחיית ראש הממשלה ושר החוץ, בנימין נתניהו, שבה נאמר כי ישראל מגנה כל ביטוי של אנטישמיות, אך הודעת הגינוי "לא נועדה בשום אופן לעשות דה-לגיטימציה לגורמים שמותחים ביקורת על ג'ורג' סורוס, אדם שבאופן מתמשך חותר תחת ממשלות ישראל שנבחרו באופן דמוקרטי וזאת על ידי מימון ארגונים שמכפישים את המדינה היהודית ומנסים לשלול ממנה את זכותה להגנה עצמית".[2]

נשיא רוסיה, ולדימיר פוטין, סילק מרוסיה את ארגוני "החברה הפתוחה", ואסר בחקיקה קבלת תרומות מסורוס.[36]

במקדוניה, הנמצאת בנתיב המעבר של פליטים לגרמניה, נמתחת ביקורת ממשלתית על סורוס ונערכו הפגנות נגדו.[36]

ב-2018 נבחר סורוס לאיש השנה של "פייננשל טיימס", בנימוק: "הבחירה [...] משקפת בדרך כלל הישגים. במקרה של סורוס, הבחירה בו מייצגת גם את הערכים שהוא מייצג".[37]

חייו האישיים

ג'ורג' סורוס נואם בבית הספר לכלכלה של לונדון סורוס נשוי בשלישית ואב לחמישה ילדים. שלושת הראשונים נולדו מאשתו הראשונה, לה היה נשוי בשנים 1960–1983, ושני האחרונים מאשתו השנייה, לה היה נשוי בשנים 1983–2005. בשנת 2008 פגש את אשתו הנוכחית שצעירה ממנו ב 40 שנה, טמיקו בולטון, והזוג התחתן בספטמבר 2013.

בין ספריו ג'ורג' סורוס, החברה הפתוחה בסכנה, ידיעות ספרים - ספרי חמד, 1999. ג'ורג' סורוס, בועת העליונות האמריקאית, הוצאת דביר, 2004 קישורים חיצוניים Green globe.svg אתר האינטרנט הרשמי

של ג'ורג' סורוס

ויקישיתוף מדיה וקבצים בנושא ג'ורג' סורוס בוויקישיתוף אתר בית אתר המכון "Open Society Institute" אתר המכון לחשיבה כלכלית חדשה Twitter logo initial.svg ג'ורג' סורוס , ברשת החברתית טוויטר שלמה אבינרי, קפיטליסט חתרני, המשקיע בבלתי צפוי , באתר הארץ, 7 באוקטובר 2002 אמיר שטוקהמר, גורו ההשקעות, ג'ורג' סורוס - קווים לדמותו , באתר ynet, 27 בספטמבר 2009 ג'ון ארלידג', ניוזוויק, מיוחד ל"כלכליסט" - ג'ורג' סורוס: "יש רשע בעולם הפיננסי" , באתר כלכליסט, 25 בינואר 2012 איתי ראובני, ג'ורג' סורוס, מיליארדר בשירות אויבי ישראל , באתר מידה, 16 באוגוסט 2016 ציפי שמילוביץ, ‏הטייקון והטייפון , באתר "ידיעות אחרונות", 14 ביולי 2017 אסף אוני, ‏כך הפך המיליארדר היהודי ג'ורג' סורוס לאויב העולם , באתר גלובס, 12 באוקטובר 2017 נחום ברנע, ‏למה הם שונאים את סורוס , באתר "ידיעות אחרונות", 20 באפריל 2018 https://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D7%92%27%D7%95%D7%A8%D7%92%27_%D7%A1%D7%95%D7%A8%D7%95%D7%A1

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George Soros (Hungarian: Soros György) born August 12, 1930 as Schwartz György, is a Hungarian-American business magnate, investor, philosopher and philanthropist. He is the chairman of Soros Fund Management. Soros supports progressive-liberal causes. He is known as "The Man Who Broke the Bank of England" because of his US$1 billion in investment profits during the 1992 Black Wednesday UK currency crisis.

As of March 12, 2012 Forbes listed Soros, at 81, as the 22nd richest person in the world, the world's richest hedge-fund manager, and number 7 on its list of the 400 wealthiest Americans, with a net worth estimated at $20 billion.[89] Soros has given away $8 billion to various causes since 1979.

Relation to Hungarian politics

Between 1979 and 2011, Soros gave away over $8 billion to human rights, public health, and education causes. He played a significant role in the peaceful transition from communism to capitalism in Hungary (1984–89), and provided Europe's largest higher education endowment to Central European University in Budapest. Soros is also the chairman of the Open Society Institute.

Soros was born in Budapest, Hungary to a nonobservant Jewish family. His mother Elizabeth (also known as Erzsebet) came from a family that owned a thriving silk shop. His father Tivadar (also known as Teodoro) was a lawyer and had been a prisoner of war during and after World War I until he escaped from Russia and rejoined his family in Budapest. The two married in 1924.

Tivadar was an Esperantist writer and taught George to speak Esperanto from birth. Soros later said that he grew up in a Jewish home and that his parents were cautious with their religious roots. Soros was thirteen years old in March 1944 when Nazi Germany occupied Hungary. Soros took a job with the Jewish Council, which had been established during the Nazi occupation of Hungary. Soros later described this time to writer Michael Lewis:

The Jewish Council asked the little kids to hand out the deportation notices. I was told to go to the Jewish Council. And there I was given these small slips of paper ... It said report to the rabbi seminary at 9 am ... And I was given this list of names. I took this piece of paper to my father. He instantly recognized it. This was a list of Hungarian Jewish lawyers. He said, "You deliver the slips of paper and tell the people that if they report they will be deported."

Later that year, at age 14, Soros lived with and posed as the godson of an employee of the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture. The official was at one point ordered to inventory the remaining contents of the estate of a wealthy Jewish family that had fled the country; rather than leave the young Soros alone in the city, the official brought him along. The next year, 1945, Soros survived the Battle of Budapest, in which Soviet and German forces fought house-to-house through the city.

Soros emigrated to England in 1947 and, as an impoverished student, lived with his uncle, an Orthodox Jew. His uncle paid his living expenses while he attended the London School of Economics, where he received a Bachelor of Science in 1952. While a student of the philosopher Karl Popper, Soros worked as a railway porter and as a waiter. A university tutor requested aid for Soros, and he received GB£40 from a Religious Society of Friends (Quaker) charity.

In a discussion at the Los Angeles World Affairs Council in 2006, Alvin Shuster, former foreign editor of the Los Angeles Times, asked Soros, "How does one go from an immigrant to a financier? ... When did you realize that you knew how to make money?" Soros replied, "Well, I had a variety of jobs and I ended up selling fancy goods on the sea side, souvenir shops, and I thought, that's really not what I was cut out to do. So, I wrote to every managing director in every merchant bank in London, got just one or two replies, and eventually that's how I got a job in a merchant bank." That job was an entry-level position in Singer & Friedlander.

In 1956 Soros moved to New York City working as an arbitrage trader for F. M. Mayer (1956–59) and as an analyst for Wertheim & Co. (1959–63). During this period, Soros developed the theory of reflexivity based on the ideas of Karl Popper. Reflexivity posited that the valuation of any market produces a procyclical "virtuous or vicious" circle that further affects the market.

Soros' experience from 1963 to 1973 as a vice-president at Arnhold and S. Bleichroderl resulted in little enthusiasm for the job and a desire to assert himself as an investor to make reflexivity profitable. In 1967, First Eagle Funds created an opportunity for Soros to run an offshore investment fund as well as the Double Eagle hedge fund in 1969.[21] In 1973, due to regulatory restrictions limiting his ability to run the funds, Soros resigned from his First Eagle funds. He then established the Quantum Fund in partnership with Jim Rogers, hoping to earn $500,000 after five years to support his ambitions as a writer and philosopher.

In 1970, Soros founded Soros Fund Management and became its chairman. Among those who held senior positions there at various times were Jim Rogers, Stanley Druckenmiller, Mark Schwartz, Keith Anderson, and Soros' two sons.

In August 2010, Soros bought a 4 per cent stake in the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) for about $35 million. In July 2011, Soros announced that he had returned funds from outside investors' money (valued at $1 billion) and instead invested funds from his $24.5 billion family fortune due to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission disclosure rules.

Currency speculation

On September 16, 1992, Black Wednesday, Soros' fund sold short more than $10 billion in pounds, profiting from the UK government's reluctance to either raise its interest rates to levels comparable to those of other European Exchange Rate Mechanism countries or to float its currency.

Finally, the UK withdrew from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism, devaluing the pound, earning Soros an estimated $1.1 billion. He was dubbed "the man who broke the Bank of England". In 1997, the UK Treasury estimated the cost of Black Wednesday at £3.4 billion.

On Monday, October 26, 1992, The Times quoted Soros as saying: "Our total position by Black Wednesday had to be worth almost $10 billion. We planned to sell more than that. In fact, when Norman Lamont said just before the devaluation that he would borrow nearly $15 billion to defend sterling, we were amused because that was about how much we wanted to sell."

Stanley Druckenmiller, who traded under Soros, originally saw the weakness in the pound. "Soros' contribution was pushing him to take a gigantic position."

In 1997, during the Asian financial crisis, the Prime Minister of Malaysia Mahathir bin Mohamad accused Soros of using the wealth under his control to punish the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for welcoming Myanmar as a member. Following on a history of antisemitic remarks, Mahathir made specific reference to Soros' Jewish background ("It is a Jew who triggered the currency plunge") and implied Soros was orchestrating the crash as part of a larger Jewish conspiracy.

Nine years later, in 2006, Mahathir met with Soros and afterwards stated that he accepted that Soros had not been responsible for the crisis. In 1998's The Crisis of Global Capitalism: Open Society Endangered Soros explained his role in the crisis as follows:

The financial crisis that originated in Thailand in 1997 was particularly unnerving because of its scope and severity. ... By the beginning of 1997, it was clear to Soros Fund Management that the discrepancy between the trade account and the capital account was becoming untenable. We sold short the Thai baht and the Malaysian ringgit early in 1997 with maturities ranging from six months to a year. (That is, we entered into contracts to deliver at future dates Thai Baht and Malaysian ringgit that we did not currently hold.)

Subsequently Prime Minister Mahathir of Malaysia accused me of causing the crisis, a wholly unfounded accusation. We were not sellers of the currency during or several months before the crisis; on the contrary, we were buyers when the currencies began to decline – we were purchasing ringgits to realize the profits on our earlier speculation. (Much too soon, as it turned out. We left most of the potential gain on the table because we were afraid that Mahathir would impose capital controls. He did so, but much later.)

The nominal U.S. dollar GDP of the ASEAN fell by $9.2 billion in 1997 and $218.2 billion (31.7%) in 1998. Economist Paul Krugman is critical of Soros' effect on financial markets.

"[N]obody who has read a business magazine in the last few years can be unaware that these days there really are investors who not only move money in anticipation of a currency crisis, but actually do their best to trigger that crisis for fun and profit. These new actors on the scene do not yet have a standard name; my proposed term is 'Soroi'."

Soros' book, The New Paradigm for Financial Markets (May 2008), described a "superbubble" that had built up over the past 25 years and was ready to collapse. This was the third in a series of books he has written that have predicted disaster. As he states:

I have a record of crying wolf ... I did it first in The Alchemy of Finance (in 1987), then in The Crisis of Global Capitalism (in 1998) and now in this book. So it's three books predicting disaster. (After) the boy cried wolf three times ... the wolf really came.

He ascribes his own success to being able to recognize when his predictions are wrong. I'm only rich because I know when I'm wrong ... I basically have survived by recognizing my mistakes. I very often used to get backaches due to the fact that I was wrong. Whenever you are wrong you have to fight or [take] flight. When [I] make the decision, the backache goes away.

In February 2009, Soros said the world financial system had effectively disintegrated, adding that there was no prospect of a near-term resolution to the crisis. "We witnessed the collapse of the financial system ... It was placed on life support, and it's still on life support. There's no sign that we are anywhere near a bottom."

In 1988 Soros was interested in purchasing shares in French companies. The Socialist party had lost its majority of seats in the Assembly, and the new government under Chirac had instituted an aggressive privatization program. Many people considered shares in the newly privatized companies undervalued. During this period, a French financier named Georges Pébereau contacted one of Soros' advisors in an effort to assemble a group of investors to purchase a large amount of shares in Société Générale, a leading French bank that was part of the program.

The advisor reported to Soros that Pébereau's plan was ambiguous and included an implausible takeover plan (it would indeed fail). On that advice, and without ever meeting the financier, Soros decided against participating.[36] He did, however, move forward with his strategy of accumulating shares in four French companies: Société Générale, as well as Suez, Paribas and the Compagnie Générale d'Électricité. In 1989, the Commission des Opérations de Bourse (the French stock exchange regulatory authority) conducted an investigation of whether Soros' transaction in Société Générale should be considered insider trading. Soros had received no information from the Société Générale, and had no insider knowledge of the business, but he did possess knowledge that a group of investors was planning a takeover attempt. The COB concluded that the statutes, regulations and case law relating to insider trading did not clearly establish that a crime had occurred, and that no charges should be brought against Soros.

Several years later, a Paris-based prosecutor reopened the case against Soros and two other French businessmen, disregarding the COB's findings. This resulted in Soros' 2005 conviction for insider trading by the Court of Appeals (he was the only one of the three to receive a conviction). The French Supreme Court confirmed the conviction on June 14, 2006, but reduced the penalty to the minimum.

Punitive damages were not sought because of the delay in bringing the case to trial. Soros denied any wrongdoing, saying news of the takeover was public knowledge[39] and it was documented that his intent to acquire shares of the company predated his own awareness of the takeover.

His insider trading conviction was upheld by the highest court in France on June 14, 2006.[38] In December 2006, he appealed to the European Court of Human Rights on various grounds including that the 14-year delay in bringing the case to trial precluded a fair hearing.[40] On the basis of Article 7 of the European convention on human rights, stating that no person may be punished for an act that was not a criminal offense at the time that it was committed, the Court agreed to hear the appeal.[41] In October 2011, the court rejected his appeal in a 4–3 decision, saying that Soros had been aware of the risk of breaking insider trading laws.

Sports

In 2005, Soros was a minority partner in a group that tried to buy the Washington Nationals, a Major League baseball team. Some Republican lawmakers suggested that they might move to revoke baseball's antitrust exemption if Soros bought the team.

In 2008, Soros' name was associated with AS Roma, an Italian association football team, but the club was not sold. Soros was also a financial backer of Washington Soccer L.P., the group that owned the operating rights to Major League Soccer club D.C. United when the league was founded in 1995, but the group lost these rights in 2000.

On August 21, 2012, the BBC reported SEC filings showing Soros acquired a roughly 1.9% stake in English football club Manchester United through the purchase of 3.1 million of the club's Class-A shares.

Philanthropy

Soros has been active as a philanthropist since the 1970s, when he began providing funds to help black students attend the University of Cape Town in apartheid South Africa,[46] and began funding dissident movements behind the iron curtain.

Soros' philanthropic funding includes efforts to promote non-violent democratization in the post-Soviet states. These efforts, mostly in Central and Eastern Europe, occur primarily through the Open Society Institute (OSI) and national Soros Foundations, which sometimes go under other names (such as the Stefan Batory Foundation in Poland). As of 2003, PBS estimated that he had given away a total of $4 billion. The OSI says it has spent about $500 million annually in recent years.

In 2003, former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker wrote in the foreword of Soros' book The Alchemy of Finance:

George Soros has made his mark as an enormously successful speculator, wise enough to largely withdraw when still way ahead of the game. The bulk of his enormous winnings is now devoted to encouraging transitional and emerging nations to become "open societies", open not only in the sense of freedom of commerce but – more important – tolerant of new ideas and different modes of thinking and behavior.

Time magazine in 2007 cited two specific projects – $100 million toward Internet infrastructure for regional Russian universities, and $50 million for the Millennium Promise to eradicate extreme poverty in Africa – while noting that Soros had given $742 million to projects in the U.S., and given away a total of more than $7 billion.

Other notable projects have included aid to scientists and universities throughout Central and Eastern Europe, help to civilians during the siege of Sarajevo, and Transparency International. Soros also pledged an endowment of €420 million to the Central European University (CEU). The Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus and his microfinance bank Grameen Bank received support from the OSI.

According to National Review[49] the Open Society Institute gave $20,000 in September 2002 to the Defense Committee of Lynne Stewart, the lawyer who has defended alleged terrorists in court and was sentenced to 2⅓ years in prison for "providing material support for a terrorist conspiracy" via a press conference for a client. An OSI spokeswoman said "it appeared to us at that time that there was a right-to-counsel issue worthy of our support."

In September 2006 Soros pledged $50 million to the Millennium Promise, led by economist Jeffrey Sachs to provide educational, agricultural, and medical aid to help villages in Africa enduring poverty. The New York Times termed this endeavor a "departure" for Soros whose philanthropic focus had been on fostering democracy and good government, but Soros noted that most poverty resulted from bad governance.

He received honorary doctoral degrees from the New School for Social Research (New York), the University of Oxford in 1980, the Corvinus University of Budapest, and Yale University in 1991. Soros also received the Yale International Center for Finance Award from the Yale School of Management in 2000 as well as the Laurea Honoris Causa, the highest honor of the University of Bologna in 1995.

Soros played a role in the peaceful transition from communism to capitalism in Hungary (1984–89)[7] and provided Europe's largest-ever higher education endowment to Central European University in Budapest.[51] Later, the Open Society Institute's programs in Georgia were considered by Russian and Western observers to have been crucial in the success of the Rose Revolution.

In the United States, he donated large sums of money in an effort to defeat President George W. Bush's bid for re-election in 2004. In 2010, he donated $1 million in support of Proposition 19, which would have legalized marijuana in the state of California. He was an initial donor to the Center for American Progress, and he continues to support the organization through the Open Society Foundations. The Open Society Institute has active programs in more than 60 countries around the world with total expenditures currently averaging approximately $600 million a year. Between 1979 and 2011, Soros gave away over $8 billion to human rights, public health, and education causes.

In an interview with The Washington Post on November 11, 2003, Soros said that removing President George W. Bush from office was the "central focus of my life" and "a matter of life and death". He said he would sacrifice his entire fortune to defeat President Bush "if someone guaranteed it".

Soros gave $3 million to the Center for American Progress, $2.5 million to MoveOn.org, and $20 million to America Coming Together. These groups worked to support Democrats in the 2004 election.

On September 28, 2004 he dedicated more money to the campaign and kicked off his own multi-state tour with a speech: Why We Must Not Re-elect President Bush delivered at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The online transcript to this speech received many hits after Dick Cheney accidentally referred to FactCheck.org as "factcheck.com" in the Vice Presidential debate, causing the owner of that domain to redirect all traffic to Soros' site.

Asked in 2006 about his statement in The Age of Fallibility that "the main obstacle to a stable and just world order is the United States", Soros responded that "it happens to coincide with the prevailing opinion in the world. And I think that's rather shocking for Americans to hear. The United States sets the agenda for the world. And the rest of the world has to respond to that agenda. By declaring a 'war on terror' after September 11, we set the wrong agenda for the world. ... when you wage war, you inevitably create innocent victims."[57]

Soros was not a large donor to US political causes until the 2004 presidential election, but according to the Center for Responsive Politics, during the 2003–2004 election cycle, Soros donated $23,581,000 to various 527 groups dedicated to defeating President Bush. A 527 group is a type of American tax-exempt organization named after a section of the United States tax code, 26 U.S.C. § 527.

After Bush's re-election, Soros and other donors backed a new political fundraising group called Democracy Alliance, which supports progressive causes and the formation of a stronger progressive infrastructure in America.

In August 2009, Soros donated $35 million to the state of New York to be ear-marked for under-privileged children and given to parents who had benefit cards at the rate of $200 per child aged 3 through 17, with no limit as to the number of children that qualified. An additional $140 million was put into the fund by the state of New York from money they had received from the 2009 federal recovery act.

On October 26, 2010, Soros donated $1 million, the largest donation in the campaign, to the Drug Policy Alliance to fund Proposition 19, that would have legalized marijuana in the state of California if it had passed in the November 2, 2010 elections.

In October 2011 a Reuters story titled "Soros: not a funder of Wall Street protests" was published after several commentators pointed out errors in an earlier Reuters story headlined "Who's behind the Wall St. protests?"with a lede stating that the Occupy Wall Street movement "may have benefited indirectly from the largesse of one of the world's richest men [Soros]". Reuters' follow-up article also reported a Soros spokesperson and Adbusters' co-founder Kalle Lasn both saying that Adbusters – which was the catalyst for the first Occupy Wall Street protests – had never received any contributions from Soros, contrary to Reuters' earlier story which reported that "indirect financial links" existed between the two as late as 2010. [

According to Waldemar A. Nielsen, an authority on American philanthropy, "[Soros] has undertaken ... nothing less than to open up the once-closed Communist societies of Eastern Europe to a free flow of ideas and scientific knowledge from the ouside world".

From 1979, as an advocate of 'open societies', Soros financially supported dissidents including Poland's Solidarity movement, Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia and Andrei Sakharov in the Soviet Union.

In 1984, he founded his first Open Society Institute in Hungary with a budget of $3 million.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Soros' funding has continued to play an important role in the former Soviet sphere. His funding of pro-democratic programs in Georgia was considered by Russian and Western observers to be crucial to the success of the Rose Revolution, although Soros has said that his role has been "greatly exaggerated".[65] Alexander Lomaia, Secretary of the Georgian Security Council and former Minister of Education and Science, is a former Executive Director of the Open Society Georgia Foundation (Soros Foundation), overseeing a staff of 50 and a budget of $2,500,000.

Former Georgian Foreign Minister Salomé Zourabichvili wrote that institutions like the Soros Foundation were the cradle of democratisation and that all the NGOs which gravitated around the Soros Foundation undeniably carried the revolution. She opines that after the revolution the Soros Foundation and the NGOs were integrated into power.

Some Soros-backed pro-democracy initiatives have been banned in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.[68] Ercis Kurtulus, head of the Social Transparency Movement Association (TSHD) in Turkey, said in an interview that "Soros carried out his will in Ukraine and Georgia by using these NGOs ... Last year Russia passed a special law prohibiting NGOs from taking money from foreigners. I think this should be banned in Turkey as well."[69] In 1997, Soros had to close his foundation in Belarus after it was fined $3 million by the government for "tax and currency violations". According to The New York Times, the Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko has been widely criticized in the West and in Russia for his efforts to control the Belarus Soros Foundation and other independent NGOs and to suppress civil and human rights. Soros called the fines part of a campaign to "destroy independent society".

In June 2009, Soros donated $100m to Central Europe and Eastern Europe to counter the impact of the economic crisis on the poor, voluntary groups and non-government organisations.

[ The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa is a Soros-affiliated organization. Its director for Zimbabwe is Godfrey Kanyenze, who also directs the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), which was the main force behind the founding of the Movement for Democratic Change, the principal indigenous organization promoting regime change in Zimbabwe.

Soros has funded worldwide efforts to promote drug policy reform. In 2008, Soros donated $400,000 to help fund a successful ballot measure in Massachusetts known as the Massachusetts Sensible Marijuana Policy Initiative which decriminalized possession of less than 1 oz (28g) of marijuana in the state. Soros has also funded similar measures in California, Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Nevada and Maine.

Among the drug decriminalization groups that have received funding from Soros are the Lindesmith Center and Drug Policy Foundation. Soros donated $1.4 million to publicity efforts to support California's Proposition 5 in 2008, a failed ballot measure that would have expanded drug rehabilitation programs as alternatives to prison for persons convicted of non-violent drug-related offenses.

In October 2010, Soros donated $1 million to support California's Proposition 19.

According to remarks in an interview in October 2009, it is Soros' opinion that marijuana is less addictive but not appropriate for use by children and students. He himself has not used marijuana for years.

The Project on Death in America, active from 2001 to 2003, was one of the Open Society Institute's projects, which sought to "understand and transform the culture and experience of dying and bereavement". In 1994, Soros delivered a speech in which he reported that he had offered to help his mother, a member of the Hemlock Society, commit suicide. In the same speech, he also endorsed the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, the campaign which he helped fund.

Philosophy

His philosophical outlook is influenced by Karl Popper, under whom he studied at the London School of Economics (LSE). His Open Society Institute is named after Popper's two volume work, The Open Society and Its Enemies, and Soros' ongoing philosophical commitment to the principle of fallibilism (that anything he believes may in fact be wrong, and is therefore to be questioned and improved) stems from Popper's philosophy.

Reflexivity, financial markets, and economic theory

Soros' writings focus heavily on the concept of reflexivity, where the biases of individuals enter into market transactions, potentially changing the perception of fundamentals of the economy. Soros argues that different principles apply in markets depending on whether they are in a "near to equilibrium" or a "far from equilibrium" state. He argues that, when markets are rising or falling rapidly, they are typically marked by disequilibrium rather than equilibrium, and that the conventional economic theory of the market (the 'efficient market hypothesis') does not apply in these situations. Soros has popularized the concepts of dynamic disequilibrium, static disequilibrium, and near-equilibrium conditions.

He has stated that his own financial success has been attributable to the edge accorded by his understanding of the action of the reflexive effect.

Reflexivity is based on three main ideas:

Reflexivity is best observed under special conditions where investor bias grows and spreads throughout the investment arena. Examples of factors that may give rise to this bias include (a) equity leveraging or (b) the trend-following habits of speculators.

Reflexivity appears intermittently since it is most likely to be revealed under certain conditions; i.e., the character of the equilibrium process is best considered in terms of probabilities. Investors' observation of and participation in the capital markets may at times influence valuations and fundamental conditions or outcomes.

A recent example of reflexivity in modern financial markets is that of the debt and equity of housing markets. Lenders began to make more money available to more people in the 1990s to buy houses. More people bought houses with this larger amount of money, thus increasing the prices of these houses. Lenders looked at their balance sheets which not only showed that they had made more loans, but that their equity backing the loans – the value of the houses, had gone up (because more money was chasing the same amount of housing, relatively). Thus they lent out more money because their balance sheets looked good, and prices rose higher still.

This was further amplified by public policy. In the US, home loans were guaranteed by the Federal government. Many national governments saw home ownership as a positive outcome and so introduced grants for first-time home buyers and other financial subsidies, such as the exemption of a primary residence from capital gains taxation. These further encouraged house purchases, leading to further price rises and futher relaxation of lending standards.

The concept of reflexivity attempts to explain why markets moving from one equilibrium state to another tend to overshoot or undershoot.

View of problems in the free market system

Despite working as an investor and currency trader, Soros argues that the current system of financial speculation undermines healthy economic development in many underdeveloped countries. He blames many of the world's problems on the failures inherent in what he characterizes as market fundamentalism. His opposition to many aspects of globalization has made him a controversial figure.

Victor Niederhoffer said of Soros: "Most of all, George believed even then[when?] in a mixed economy, one with a strong central international government to correct for the excesses of self-interest."

Soros claims to draw a distinction between being a participant in the market and working to change the rules that market participants must follow. According to Mahathir bin Mohamed, Prime Minister of Malaysia from July 1981 to October 2003, Soros – as the hedge fund chief of Quantum – may have been partially responsible for the economic crash in 1997 of East Asian markets when the Thai currency relinquished its peg to the US dollar.

According to Mahathir, in the three years leading to the crash, Soros invested in short-term speculative investment in East Asian stock markets and real estate, then divested with "indecent haste" at the first signs of currency devaluation.[82] Soros replied, saying that Mahathir was using him "as a scapegoat for his own mistakes", that Mahathir's promises to ban currency trading (which Malaysian finance officials hastily retracted) were "a recipe for disaster" and that Mahathir "is a menace to his own country".

In an interview regarding the late-2000s recession, Soros referred to it as the most serious crisis since the 1930s. According to Soros, market fundamentalism with its assumption that markets will correct themselves with no need for government intervention in financial affairs has been "some kind of an ideological excess". In Soros' view, the markets' moods – a "mood" of the markets being a prevailing bias or optimism/pessimism with which the markets look at reality – "actually can reinforce themselves so that there are these initially self-reinforcing but eventually unsustainable and self-defeating boom/bust sequences or bubbles".

In reaction to the late-2000s recession, he founded the Institute for New Economic Thinking in October 2009. This is a think tank composed of international economic, business and financial experts, mandated to investigate radical new approaches to organising the international economic and financial system.

At a Jewish forum in New York City, November 5, 2003, Soros partially attributed a recent resurgence of antisemitism to the policies of Israel and the United States, and the role of wealthy and influential individuals: There is a resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe. The policies of the Bush administration and the Sharon administration contribute to that. It's not specifically anti-Semitism, but it does manifest itself in anti-Semitism as well. I'm critical of those policies ... If we change that direction, then anti-Semitism also will diminish. I can't see how one could confront it directly ... I'm also very concerned about my own role because the new anti-Semitism holds that the Jews rule the world ... As an unintended consequence of my actions ... I also contribute to that image.

In a subsequent article for The New York Review of Books, Soros emphasized that I do not subscribe to the myths propagated by enemies of Israel and I am not blaming Jews for anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism predates the birth of Israel. Neither Israel's policies nor the critics of those policies should be held responsible for anti-Semitism. At the same time, I do believe that attitudes toward Israel are influenced by Israel's policies, and attitudes toward the Jewish community are influenced by the pro-Israel lobby's success in suppressing divergent views.

In October 2011, Soros drafted an open letter entitled "As concerned Europeans we urge Eurozone leaders to unite",[87] in which he calls for a stronger economic government for Europe using federal means (Common EU treasury, common fiscal supervision, etc.) and warns against the danger of nationalistic solutions to the economic crisis. The letter was co-signed by prominent Europeans such as Javier Solana, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Andrew Duff, Emma Bonino, Massimo d'Alema, Vaira Vike-Freiberga.

Soros has expressed concern about the growth of Chinese economic and political power. "China has risen very rapidly by looking out for its own interests ... They have now got to accept responsibility for world order and the interests of other people as well." Regarding the political gridlock in America, he said, "Today China has not only a more vigorous economy, but actually a better functioning government than the United States".[

In the 1980s Viktor Orbán, a future Chairman of Fidesz (1994–2000, 2000–) and Hungarian Prime Minister (1998–2002, 2010–), along with László Kövér, a future Chairman of Fidesz (2000), Secret Service Minister (1998–2002) and Speaker of the National Assembly of Hungary (2010–), were Soros scholarship recipients. Deputy Prime Minister István Stumpf – now a member of the Constitutional Court – was a member of Soros Foundation's Board of Trustees between 1994 and 2002.

Personal life

Soros' family changed their name from Schwartz to Soros in 1936, in response to growing anti-semitism with the rise of fascism. Tivadar liked the new name because it is a palindrome and because of its meaning. Although the specific meaning is left unstated in Kaufman's biography, in Hungarian, soros means "next in line", or "designated successor"; and, in Esperanto, it means "will soar".

Soros has been married and divorced twice:

In 1960, Soros married Annaliese Witschak. Annaliese was an ethnic German immigrant from Germany who had been orphaned during the war. Although she was not Jewish, she was well liked by Soros' parents as she had also experienced the deprivations and dislocation brought about by World War II.[92] They divorced in 1983. They had three children:

1. Robert Daniel Soros (born 1963) – He is the founder of the Central European University in Prague, as well as a network of foundations in Eastern Europe. In 1992, he married Marlene S. Schiff at the Temple Emanu-El in New York City. The Rabbi Dr. David Posner officiated the ceremony.

2. Andrea Soros Colombel (born 1965) – She is the founder and president of Trace Foundation, established in 1993 to promote the cultural continuity and sustainable development of Tibetan communities within China. She is also a founding partner and member of the board of directors of the Acumen Fund, a global venture fund that employs an entrepreneurial approach in addressing the problems of global poverty She is married to Eric Colombel.

3. Jonathan Tivadar Soros (born 1970) – In 1997, married Jennifer Ann Allan at the Siasconset Union Chapel in Nantucket, Massachusetts. The Rev. Edward B. Anderson, a Unitarian minister, officiated the ceremony.

In 1983 he married Susan Weber Soros, twenty five years his junior. They divorced in 2005. They have two children:

1. Alexander Soros (born 1985) – Alexander is also gaining prominence for his donations to social and political causes, focusing his philanthropic efforts on "progressive causes that might not have widespread support". Alexander serves on the boards of Jewish Funds for Justice and Global Witness, and led the list of student political donors in the 2010 election cycle.

2. Gregory Soros (born 1989) Soros is engaged to Tamiko Bolton.

Soros has one elder brother, Paul Soros, who is a private investor and philanthropist. He is also an engineer who headed Soros Associates and established the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for Young Americans. He is married to Daisy (née Schlenger), who like her husband, was a Hungarian Jewish immigrant. They have two sons Peter and Jeffrey.

Peter Soros was married to the former Flora Fraser – a daughter of Lady Antonia Fraser and the late Sir Hugh Fraser and a stepdaughter of the late 2005 Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter. Fraser and Soros separated in 2009.

Authored or co-authored

  • Financial Turmoil in Europe and the United States: Essays (PublicAffairs,2012). ISBN 1-61039-161-0
  • The Soros Lectures at the Central European University (PublicAffairs, 2010) ISBN 1-58648-885-7
  • The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What it Means (PublicAffairs, 2008). ISBN 1-58648-683-7
  • The Age of Fallibility: Consequences of the War on Terror (PublicAffairs, 2006) ISBN 1-58648-359-5
  • The Bubble of American Supremacy: Correcting the Misuse of American Power (PublicAffairs, 2003) ISBN 1-58648-217-3 (paperback; PublicAffairs, 2004; ISBN 1-58648-292-0)
  • George Soros on Globalization (PublicAffairs, 2002) ISBN 1-58648-125-8 (paperback; PublicAffairs, 2005; ISBN 1-5264-8278-5)
  • Open Society: Reforming Global Capitalism (PublicAffairs, 2001) ISBN 1-58648-039-7
  • With Mark Amadeus Notturno, Science and the Open Society: The Future of Karl Popper's Philosophy (Central European University Press, 2000) ISBN 963-9116-69-6 (paperback: Central European University Press, 2000; ISBN 94-391-1670-X)
  • The Crisis of Global Capitalism: Open Society Endangered (PublicAffairs, 1998) ISBN 1-891220-27-4
  • Soros on Soros: Staying Ahead of the Curve (John Wiley, 1995) ISBN 0-471-12014-6 (paperback; Wiley, 1995; ISBN 0-371-11977-6)
  • Underwriting Democracy: Encouraging Free Enterprise and Democratic Reform Among the Soviets and in Eastern Europe (Free Press, 1991) ISBN 0-02-930285-4 (paperback; PublicAffairs, 2004; ISBN 1-58948-227-0)
  • Opening the Soviet System (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1990) ISBN 0-297-82155-9 (paperback: Perseus Books, 1996; ISBN 0-8133-1205-1)
  • The Alchemy of Finance (Simon & Schuster, 1988) ISBN 0-671-66338-4 (paperback: Wiley, 2003; ISBN 0-471-44549-5)
  • [edit]Biographies
  • Soros: The Life and Times of a Messianic Billionaire by Michael T. Kaufman (Alfred A. Knopf, 2002) ISBN 0-375-40585-2
  • Soros: The World's Most Influential Investor by Robert Slater (McGraw-Hill Professional, 2009) ISBN 978-0-07-160844-2
  • [edit]Journalism
  • [edit]Authored
  • George Soros, "Why I support legal marijuana", The Wall Street Journal, October 26, 2010.
  • George Soros, "The Crisis and the Euro", The New York Review of Books, August 19, 2010.
  • George Soros, "On Israel, America and AIPAC", The New York Review of Books, April 12, 2007.
  • George Soros, "The Bubble of American Supremacy", The Atlantic, December 2003.
  • George Soros, The Bubble of American Supremacy, audio recording of The Atlantic article via Assistive Media, read by Grover Gardner, 18 minutes.
  • George Soros, "Soros on Brazil", Financial Times, August 13, 2002.
  • George Soros, "Bitter Thoughts with Faith in Russia", Moskovskiye Novosti (Moscow News), translated from the Russian by Olga Kryazheva, February 27, 2000.
  • George Soros, "The Capitalist Threat", The Atlantic Monthly, February 1997.
  • George Soros, "Paulson Cannot be Allowed a Blank Cheque", Financial Times, September 24, 2008
  • [edit]About
  • John Authors, "A successful prophet of the markets", Financial Times, May 19, 2008.
  • Laura Blumenfeld, "Billionaire Soros Takes On Bush", The Washington Post, November 11, 2003
  • Connie Bruck, Abstract of New Yorker profile of Soros "The World According to Soros", The New Yorker, January 23, 1995
  • Malcolm Gladwell, gladwell.com "Blowing Up", The New Yorker, April 22 & 29, 2002.
  • Matt Welch, Open Season on 'Open Society': Why an anti-communist "Holocaust survivor is being demonized as a Socialist, Self-hating Jew". Reason, December 8, 2003
  • "Time's 25 Most Influential Americans", Time, April 21, 1997. Retrieved May 21, 2007.
  • "The Time 100: The Power Givers: George Soros", Time, May 14, 2007, Retrieved May 21, 2007.
  • [edit]Scholarly perspectives
  • Bryant, C. G. A. (2002). "George Soros's theory of reflexivity: a comparison with the theories of Giddens and Beck and a consideration of its practical value". Economy and Society 31 (1): 112–131. doi:10.1080/03085140120109277.
  • Cross, R.; Strachan, D. (1997). "On George Soros and economic analysis". Kyklos 50 (4): 561–574. doi:10.1111/1467-6435.00030.
  • Kwong, C.P. (2008). "Mathematical analysis of Soros's theory of reflexivity". arXiv:0901.4447 [q-fin.GN].
  • Nielsen, Waldemar A. (1996). Inside American Philanthropy: The Dramas of Donorship. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 77–82. ISBN 978-0-8061-2802-3.
  • Pettis, Michael (2001). The Volatility Machine: Emerging Economies and the Threat of Financial Collapse. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-514330-2.
  • Stone, Diane (2007). "Market Principles, Philanthropic Ideals and Public Service Values: The Public Policy Program at the Central European University". PS: Political Science and Politics: 545–551.
  • Diane Stone, Transnational Philanthropy or Policy Transfer? The Transnational Norms of the Open Society Institute, Policy and Politics, 38(2), 2010: 269-87.
  • [edit]Speeches
  • Testimony of George Soros to a congressional sub-committee, Sept. 15, 1998
  • The Theory of Reflexivity Delivered April 26, 1994 to the MIT Department of Economics World Economy
  • "The Differences Between Natural and Social Science: Implications of Fallibility" at IISc Bangalore, January 5, 2007
  • George Soros introduced by Lajos Bokros (November 11, 2008). George Soros Lecture on the Global Financial Crisis On November 11, 1 hour 16 minutes. Budapest, Hungary: CEU Business School.
  • Testimony before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Oversight Hearing on FTC Advanced Rulemaking and Oil Market Manipulation[104]
  • [edit]Interviews
  • Fareed Zakaria discussing economic crisis with George Soros on GPS, aired October 12, 2008
  • The Leonard Lopate Show (WNYC) – Audio Archive: "George Soros on Freedom"
  • "Frontline: The Crash: Interviews: George Soros", 1999
  • Wall $treet Week with Fortune. PBS, September 20, 2002
  • Challenge: The international financial crisis – International ...
  • NOW with Bill Moyers. Transcript. David Brancaccio interviews ...
  • Booknotes interview with Soros on The Bubble of American Supremacy: Correcting the Misuse of American Power, February 29, 2004.
  • Rocketboom: The Age of Fallibility (Video, 2006)
  • Google Video: Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google interviews George Soros (Video, 2006)
  • Interview with George Soros, September 5, 2000
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George Soros's Timeline

1930
August 12, 1930
Budapest, Hungary
1963
1963
Age 32
1985
1985
Age 54
New York, New York, United States