Monday, February 23, 2009

George Soros : The man and his ideas...

Soros said in an interview in 1999 that the Asian and Mexican crises occurred at the periphery of the world economy and he expected a final major crisis that will be centered in America. Boy was he right. He was so confident of his analysis that he wrote a book Crisis of Global Capitalism published in end 1998. Soros now believes the crisis marks an end of a free-market model that started in Regean era (see article below).

I once saw George Soros in person at a hotel lobby in Budapest, 13 years ago. I wasn't sure if it was him at first so I asked one of the local guys and they told me he was in Budapest to visit the Open Society Institute (OSI) which he funded and give out scholarships to students. An open society is a non-authoritarian society in which all are trusted with the knowledge of all [wiki]. The state keeps no secret and the political mechanism is fully transparent. Political freedoms and human rights are the foundation of an open society.
"Obviously, Singapore does not qualify as open society....But I hope they will be brave enough to take the next step in the development of an open society"
- George Soros Jan 2006 at a conference in Singapore.
"I hope the next step we are taking is not a step backwards...."
- Lucky Tan
When I was in Budapest, I visited a tourist attraction known as the Statue Park. When Communism collapsed in Hungary, they collected all the communist monuments and put them in a park which you have to pay to enter. The huge and impressive monuments represented the ideas of the communist era - glorification of the working class, Lenin, Marx etc. Just imagine that - Hungary was a communist state until one fine day in 1989 when they peacefully transformed almost overnight into vibrant democracy with free press, freedom of assembly and fair elections. The old authoritarian ideas and statues were quickly cast aside and replaced. 20 years ago they were communists when we had elections. Today they are an open society ....and we are not.
You can find plenty of useful and interesting information about open societies at George Soros' website :
Soros Says Financial Crisis Marks End of a Free-Market Model
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By Walid el-Gabry

Feb. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Billionaire investor George Soros said the current economic crisis has its roots in the financial deregulation of the 1980s and marks the end of a free-market model that has since dominated capitalist countries.
Liberalization of the financial industry begun by the Reagan administration has led to a series of breakdowns forcing government intervention, Soros told economists and bankers last night at a private dinner at Columbia University in New York. The global recession, triggered by the collapse of the U.S. housing market, has “damaged the financial system itself,” he said.
Regulators are in part to blame because they “abrogated” their responsibilities, Soros, 78, said. The philosophy of “market-fundamentalism” was now under question as financial markets have proved to be inefficient and affected by biases rather than driven by all the available information, he said.
“We’re in a crisis I think that’s really the most serious since the 1930s and is different from all the other crises we have experienced in our lifetime,” Soros said.
Soros, founder of New York-based hedge-fund firm Soros Fund Management LLC, said last month at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that the Obama administration’s plan to buy toxic assets from U.S. banks won’t be enough to get financial institutions to start lending again.
A more effective approach for restarting the economy would be to inject capital directly into the banks and cut minimum capital requirements, Soros, whose firm oversees $21 billion, has said.
Soros’s Quantum Endowment Fund returned 8 percent last year. That compared with an average loss of 18 percent by hedge funds, according to data compiled by Hedge Fund Research Inc. of Chicago.
To contact the reporter on this story: Walid el-Gabry in New York at


Anonymous said...

Lucky, I trust that guy as much as I trust some other famous intellectuals that attempt to stand out by throwing around overarching novel ideas and buzzwords, that on deeper analysis, do not mean much because people already know them in the first place.

For example Samual Huttington wrote "The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order" and it gained quite a following including I think with the Bush administration which acted it out, thus "Clash of Civilization" actually became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

On the other hand, George Soros was outspoken against Bush and pumped $millions into trying to remove him from office. He came to Singapore in 2007 to give a talk and was interviewed on TV by Simon Tay.

He claimed that democracy had failed even in the US and he was looking to China for the new system. To China?!

I think he was trying to get his foot in the door of China. And not so much he thinks China has a wonderful political system to emulate.

China certainly has deep historical culture to learn from but to say that its present dictatorial political system is better than a democratic one just sounds too far-fetched. It current political system stifles performaing arts so much that Gong Li the famous Chinese actress admitted on TV it was a shame China despite its huge population could not produce anything to shout about along this line.

In any case, George Soros also appears to be an insider to the subprime issue for he was on spot during the aforesaid interview in predicting when the subprime bubble would burst and stock markets would rattle.

How could someone be so accurate given that stock market trends are notorious for being hard to predict even for seasoned investors?

Ex PM Mahathir of Malaysia accused him of engineering the Asian Financial Crisis. Many people thought Mahathir was over-stressed and was just looking for a scapegoat. But why of all people, he singled out Soros?

May be Soros is just an innocent victim of Mahathir wrath.

Anonymous said...

Mr Tan,

You are very widely read and widely travel.

As your reader, I thank you for sharing.

Yours sincere reader

Anonymous said...

eat the flesh spit out the bones. i am too lazy to complete his book in my library but, some pts do carry weight(after browsing some of hs writing).

"A more effective approach for restarting the economy would be to inject capital directly into the banks and cut minimum capital requirements, Soros, whose firm oversees $21 billion, has said."

i think declaring the year of jubilee would be better.

an interesting fella though.

Anonymous said...

Back in the days when Christians were being fed to the lions; one Christian, who was being pursued by a lion, ran all around the arena looking for a safe place to hide but to no avail. Finally he fell to his knees and said, "Oh Lord, please hear my prayer and fill this lion with the spirit of Christianity." Looking over at the lion, he saw the lion fall to its knees, clasp its front paws together and say, "Oh Lord, I humbly thank you for the food I'm about to receive."

Anonymous said...

the word on the street says that debts come from two levels.

fail to address that...bye bye

Anonymous said...

psst...another great the great turning

usually they re great in observation, solution wise...well, you judge for yrself lah

Anonymous said...

Soros is a Jew. Bernard Madoff is a Jew. In New York, financial capital of the US, Jews are dominant there. They comprised many investment bankers. They can create riches and they can also destroy it. In fact the Jewish lobby play a great role in American politics and its influence in the Middle East and the might and arrogance of Israel. In our early years even Singapore entrusted Israelis as our military advisers to build up our army.
In fact some years ago, it was even reported that an Israeli even became a Singapore citizen and PAP member and attended a PAP cadre conference.

LuckySingaporean said...

anon 4:30,

Of course you shouldn't just trust someone as complex as Soros. I'm just saying some of his ideas are valid and he has so far been spot on when it comes the world economy. Leadership is not just about following trends but spotting what can go wrong. Soros' book talks of fallability and reflexivity. It explains how the smartest of all people can make the biggest mistakes.

There are people who believe Soros has a hidden agenda and that remains to be seen.

Anonymous said...

To the guy who is posting Christian Joke, please be careful as not to challenge or make fun of the spirit of God, lest you are struck dead instantly like in the book of Acts. Be warned and stop posting jokes here, and especially joke on and about God, may Grace and Mercy and Peace of God be upon you and God does not give you what you deserve.

yamizi said...

anon @ 1:22pm,

maybe that guy doesn't believe in God

but then again, i don't quite see any relation between his jokes and what lucky is posting about

Anonymous said...

Its just a lighter side of life, we should let him post his dry jokes, its freedom of speech.

LuckySingaporean said...

Can the person posting those religious jokes as comments please exercise some control.

You can post your jokes at by starting a thread. I'm sure there are many who will appreciate so long as it is not offensive to any religion.


Anonymous said...

anon @ 1:22pm,

Is that a threat?

Anonymous said...

the person who is making these so called "jokes" please stop.

Lucky, I think something sinister might be going on here. They can't challenge you head on this point in time because factually they are on the losing end. I hope they are not cooking up something to close this blog using the Seditious Act.

Economist with a Heart :)

yamizi said...


I think you should start to moderate the comments coming in. For your good.

With your interest at heart.

Anonymous said...

Maybe that what they meant by engaging the public in the internet by telling jokes.... the funny thing there is a lot of good jokes on the father, son and holy goh but he dare not mention them.

With the way they monkey around with our reserves proves there is a lot of jokers in there.

Anonymous said...

Election is coming, people. Please stop joking and start getting serious. Here's an rally speech for you to whet your appetite.

Anonymous said...

Ideology is defined in one dictionary as "Imaginary or visionary theorization" and in another as "a body of beliefs".

With ideology you don't have to prove anything about it. In a smaller way ideology is simply called beliefs.

It is true everyone works with beliefs. Beliefs are inherent in people's hopes and fears which drive them to seek a better life.

However when beliefs are packaged in a convoluted manner that is subject to all kinds of interpretation, the very efforts of trying to decipher the convoluted messages generate passion and thus a compelling force to it.

However the beliefs therein might be largely wrong.

It is incredible how ideology can create mass delusions and illusions that are extremely difficult to break and enduring for millenniums even. For instance, a nationalistic ideology can cause a certain people to think they rule the world and are being greatly loved by the whole world when in fact they are not.

Ideology political, religious or otherwise should always be verified by factual experience and until they are it is a saner practice not to get too deep into one.

Anonymous said...

I would like the person who is posting jokes here to stop. this is a serious forum for serious people. not wild and crazy person like u! go post it at pap youth forum!

Anonymous said...

guys, perhaps i am myopic but i actually find the joke quite apt for this post. it simply says that a man's flesh is that lion's food, and its all just a food chain, a form of eco-system represented. so soros is the lion here who knows how to pray (too!). the interesting thing is who is the man to be makan-ed?

Truth, Compassion, and Integrity

Onlooker said...

Soros did quite well protecting the assets under his care.

The Crisis of Global Capitalism pg 200 1998(your link last time)
"Democracy is supposed to provide a mechanism for making collective decisions that serve the best interests of the community. It is meant to achieve the same objective for collective decision making as the market mechanism does for individual decision making. Citizens elect representatives who gather in assemblies to make collective decisions by voting. This is the principle of representative democracy. It presupposes a certain kind of relationship between the citizens and their representatives. The candidates stand up and tell the citizens what they stand for, and the citizens then choose the person whose ideas are the closest to their own. That is the sort of representative Thomas Jefferson was in the good old days, except that he stayed at home during the campaign. The process is based on the assumption of honesty in the same way as the concept of perfect competition is based on the assumption of perfect knowledge. The assumption is of course unrealistic. Candidates discovered a long time ago that they have a better chance of getting elected if they tell the electorate what it wants to hear rather than what they really think. The flaw is not fatal because the system has allowed for it. If candidates fail to live up to their promises, they can be thrown out of office. In this case, conditions remain near equilibrium. >>>The voters do not always get the representatives they desire, but they can correct their mistakes in the next round of elections .<<<"
Which unfortunately we can't get right now under the Misguided PAPer.
But what can be done though is to get more Alternative parties members in parliament so that the process of true democracy can start here again.
In 1965 there are people who supported other parties (including the british one) too.That Democracy.

Anonymous said...

Religion is bad thing to make joke of. I have helped to change the joke to rid it of religion reference and make something that is more real and practical.
So here it is...enjoy

Remember the days of MiniBomb when Investors were being misleaded by the FI ; one investor, who was being devastated by the FI, ran all around the arena looking for help but to no avail. Finally he fell to his knees and said, "Oh MAS, please hear my plight and fill this FI with the spirit of honesty and fairness." Looking over at the FI, he saw the FI fall to its knees, clasp its sophisticated uncomprehensible investors' contact together and say, "Oh MAS, I humbly thank you for the apathetic attitude you have shown to the investors. You will be greatly rewarded when this is over"