Billionaire financier, businessman, philanthropist, and advocate of liberal idealism, Gyorgy Schwartz, more popularly known as George Soros, and his thoughts on:
A full and fair discussion is essential to democracy.
An open society is a society which allows its members the greatest possible degree of freedom in pursuing their interests compatible with the interests of others.
I chose America as my home because I value freedom and democracy, civil liberties and an open society.
Markets and Social Needs
I think there’s a lot of merit in an international economy and global markets, but they’re not sufficient because markets don’t look after social needs.
Markets are designed to allow individuals to look after their private needs and to pursue profit. It’s really a great invention and I wouldn’t under-estimate the value of that, but they’re not designed to take care of social needs.
Markets and Uncertainty
Stock market bubbles don’t grow out of thin air. They have a solid basis in reality, but reality as distorted by a misconception.
Markets are constantly in a state of uncertainty and flux and money is make by discounting the obvious and betting on the unexpected.
I’m not doing my philanthropic work, out of any kind of guilt, or any need to create good public relations. I’m doing it because I can afford to do it, and I believe in it.
War on Terror
Bush’s war in Iraq has done untold damage to the United States. It has impaired our military power and undermined the morale of our armed forces. Our troops were trained to project overwhelming power. They were not trained for occupation duties.
Just as the process of repealing national alcohol prohibition began with individual states repealing their own prohibition laws, so individual states must now take the initiative with respect to repealing marijuana prohibition laws.
Who most benefits from keeping marijuana illegal? The greatest beneficiaries are the major criminal organizations in Mexico and elsewhere that earn billions of dollars annually from this illicit trade – and who would rapidly lose their competitive advantage if marijuana were a legal commodity.
The criminalization of marijuana did not prevent marijuana from becoming the most widely used illegal substance in the United States and many other countries. But it did result in extensive costs and negative consequences.
The financial markets generally are unpredictable. So that one has to have different scenarios… The idea that you can actually predict what’s going to happen contradicts my way of looking at the market.
Once we realize that imperfect understanding is the human condition there is no shame in being wrong, only in failing to correct our mistakes.
The people currently in charge have forgotten the first principle of an open society, namely that we may be wrong and that there has to be free discussion. That it’s possible to be opposed to the policies without being unpatriotic.
The worse a situation becomes the less it takes to turn it around, the bigger the upside.
The United States
We are the most powerful nation on earth. No external power, no terrorist organization, can defeat us. But we can defeat ourselves by getting caught in a quagmire.
We must recognize that as the dominant power in the world we have a special responsibility. In addition to protecting our national interests, we must take the leadership in protecting the common interests of humanity.