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George Soros: Capitalism and Open Society

George Soros: Capitalism and Open Society

George Soros is a progressive icon for his support of liberal causes.

Formative Influences:

Soros, who is estimated to be worth about $25.2 billion, was born August 12, 1930, in Hungary. He immigrated to England in 1947 and was a 1952 graduate of the London School of Economics. In 1956, he went to New York and started working on Wall Street. Within a few decades, he had established his own hedge fund and made a fortune.

Part of Soros’ life-long work in fighting for freedom and an open society can be attributed to his experiences living under Nazism and then communism. He was also powerfully influenced by Karl Popper’s Open Society and Its Enemies (1945).

Soros’ philanthropic work advances ways in which open societies can be strengthened. He began the Open Society Foundations in 1984. The Foundations “work to build vibrant and tolerant societies whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people.” It supports numerous causes around the world, ranging from education to fighting xenophobia. Read more about George’s life story at biography.com

Soros and US Politics

George Soros has been a key funder of Democratic candidates and causes. According to a Politico July 2016 article, Soros had donated millions of dollars to aid the chances of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, “and other Democratic candidates and causes.” Not only was Soros’ support useful in dollar terms, but it was also felt that his giving could catalyze giving by other rich activists.

Ultimately, Hillary Clinton did not prevail in the 2016 Presidential election. Trump and his populist agenda emerged triumphant.

A Surprising Critique of Capitalism

There might be no more surprising critic of capitalism than George Soros, given his background. But an article he wrote in February 1997 issue of the Atlantic seems prescient, given the rise of Trump, Putin, Brexit and Macron. In the article, entitled “The Capitalist Threat,” Soros traces not only the influence of Karl Popper’s work on his own philanthropic activity but also the real-life conditions that influence open societies.

Soros sees the “excessive individualism” of modern-day capitalism as the more powerful threat to today’s open societies. He delves into the three ways “laissez-faire” market ideas can threaten the open society.

The first of these is the worship of market values and the denigration of other kinds of values and any kind of regulation. Second, this leads to a situation of “social Darwinism,” that extends the evolutionary theory into the realm of society. Third, transposing these ideas into the international affairs arena, states pursuing their own self-interest can create conditions internally that lead to the erosion of open societies. Visit his profile on Twitter.

The Career and Philanthropy of George Soros

The Career and Philanthropy of George Soros

According to Forbes, George Soros is worth $26.2 billion. He made his fortune as the Founder of Soros Fund Management, LLC. Soros was born in Hungary and his family fled the country due to the events of World War II and political unrest in the country. He attended the London School of Economics and then eventually immigrated to the United States. He settled in New York and, with $12 million, founded his company as a hedge fund in 1969.

As an investor, George Soros had an amazing amount of success. His biggest success came in 1992 when he and Stan Druckenmiller shorted the British Pound. He made so much money from this currency trade that he was credited as being the one who broke the Bank of England. Soros still continues to lead his company, including the recent hiring of Dawn Fitzpatrick as the new Chief Investment Officer. Visit Project Syndicate to learn more about George.

George Soros has been a longtime progressive, liberal, and supporter of Democratic candidates. He operates the Open Society Foundation where he seeks to keep the United States as an open society. He also resists Russian influence in Eastern Europe by funding political groups that seek to become and/or maintain being open societies with Western influence rather than being controlled by the authoritarian Russian government of Vladimir Putin.

George Soros is also a prominent critic of Donald Trump and his authoritarian style. He recently met with Democratic leaders including Nancy Pelosi, Elizabeth Warren, and Keith Ellison in order to develop a plan to fight the closed society policies of President Donald Trump. This meeting was the first major one held after the surprising and disturbing win Trump had in the presidential election. The plans that they developed were to not just combat Trump and the Republicans during the first 100 days of his administration but to also develop early plans for the upcoming 2018 and 2020 national elections. Learn more about his profile at Forbes.com.

This meeting took place against a backdrop where many Democrats are completely rethinking how they approach politics and voters. The group that George Soros is part of; the Democracy Alliance built its 2016 campaign around Hillary Clinton and her policies. They also thought they could win by mobilizing women and minorities while essentially ignoring working-class and poor white people. Many Democrats believe this strategy backfired and was the reason why Donald Trump won the election. The new plans being developed include how to reach working-class white people and address their main concerns, while continuing to appeal to women and minorities as well.

George Soros created the Democracy Alliance in 2004 along with now-deceased Peter Lewis and other wealthy donors. The group is planning on spending more than ever in order to defeat the plans of President Trump.

Learn more: http://www.biography.com/people/george-soros-20926527