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Tomasz Wróblewski

Why countries are so afraid of George Soros

2016-06-24

We do not know what Brexit will mean for the future of the European Union, but we can already see what significance it has for speculative funds.

A special focus should be put on George Soros, an individual who is convinced that his destructive speculative machine will save the world; that it will bring justice, condemn those who have betrayed his leftist ideas of open society.

George Soros is not the richest financier in the world, nor is he the most effective. The publication Forbes estimates his fortune at 24 billion dollars, which places him in 23rd position on the world’s rich list and market analysts point to his numerous failures, his hasty, emotional decisions. He does however distinguish himself through his methods. Even for a speculator, he is known for his contrary approach and moralistic messaging. A declared socialist – a defender of interventionism and strong state regulation – he earned most of his fortune by attacking the currencies of over-regulated countries. Soros is a staunch supporter of raising taxes for the most wealthy, but his company is known for its financial operations helping investors to avoid paying tax. His influence on the media as well as his quick and decisive style of working has led him to be described as the model speculator, although in reality some of his successors have proved to be much more effective. However, Soros’ sudden engagement and “concern” for the Brexit issue and rule of law in Poland raises cause for concern, as is often the case when the billionaire starts scrutinising a certain market.

George Soros made his name when, in 1992, he forced the British government to devaluate the pound sterling and he made over a billion dollars by betting on the decrease of the currency. He became infamous among politicians when in 1997 he bet on the collapse of Asian currencies after creating mass panic in the financial markets. The Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad, accused Soros of aggressive financing against his state and branded him a persona non grata. But on the other hand, his financial undertakings have generated trust in his fund among investors. A whole range of factors influenced the Asian crisis and the role of Soros himself could be described as a hyena attacking a wounded animal.

Soros wants to present himself as a speculative-investor who is sensitive to the injustices of the world, in particular to the non-democratic actions of leaders, to which he counted the corrupt rulers of the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia. As proof of his ideological engagement aimed at making the world a better place, Soros created the Open Society, to which he has already invested almost 7 billion dollars – the maximum allowed by provisions for charitable causes according to American law. The foundation also finances the Central European University, which is designed to shape new elites and promote the idea of an open society and everything that can be associated with standard left-wing doctrines.

This also applies to his money which, as he has said himself, is nationless but is no doubt tinged with ideology. As with his charity initiatives and certain investments – including the recent purchase of over 5 million “Gazeta Wyborcza” shares by the entity supported by Soros, MDIF Media Holdings. In total, this gives him an 8,26% share in the media company. The “Gazeta Wyborcza” shares are not a promising investment, but buying them was a political gesture. It was a display of support for a media-political institute fighting the new political order that is opposed to Soros’ social democratic ideology – and aimed to stoke fear of the nationalist dictatorship of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, as Gazeta Wyborcza warns.

Of course, Soros is not opposed to all “dictators”. There are times when he is happy to get involved in various political-investment alliances. For many years, he had good relations with the Kirchners, Argentina’s presidential couple. First with President Nestor Kirchner and later with his wife and successor Christina, accused of authoritarian tendencies. He was within the presidential couple’s closest circle and was regarded by them as a personal advisor. Promoting and distributing the further issue of Argentinian treasury bonds, he could – whether he likes it or not – be regarded as a protector of the Kirchners’ authoritarian governments. Soros helped the Argentinian government right until the end, even after the country’s overspending was made public. When American courts refused to honour fallen Argentinian bonds, Soros refused to give up and took Mellon Corp. to court in London for unpaid percentages, claiming that the American decision does not cover foreign divisions of banks, and he continued to buy worthless bonds.

After the fall of the Christina Kirchner presidency, Soros remained an influential person in Buenos Aires and continued to assist the government and promote new bonds on the condition that the old ones, many of which were held by his Quantum Partners fund, were also recognized. Every time when Soros speaks out, we can be certain that a financial crisis is around the corner. Another bet that puts the world at risk. This does not necessarily mean that his words are always in line with his investments. On the contrary, often they are contradictory in nature – which is especially dangerous.

Fot. International Monetary Fund's photostream/ lic. Creative Commons/ flickr.com

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