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 : http://www.soros.org/.
----------------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 email@example.com