Herland Report: Multi-billionaire George Soros (born August 12, 1930) is one of the world’s largest donors to radical left-wing nonprofit organizations and politicians worldwide.
Soros has given hundreds of millions of dollars to nearly 5,000 liberal and ultra-left organizations campaigning for a more powerful role in international affairs for the United Nations, population control, socialism, and the defeat of Republicans and election of Democrats in the U.S.
Soros amassed much of his fortune via the controversial practice of global currency speculation, including earning $1 billion in a day by manipulating the British pound – which earned him the title of the “man who broke the Bank of England” in 1992, writes.
The dual Hungarian and U.S. citizen has used that fortune to manipulate world events. Soros is credited with funding and organizing the downfall of Georgia’s President Eduard Shevardnadze and Yugoslavia’s Slobodan Milosevic.
An article in the Winter 2017 edition of City Journal titled “Connoisseur of Chaos” noted how Soros giving and power is underrported in the press, stating “Soros’s global reach and influence far outstrip those of the Koch brothers or other liberal bogeymen – and that underlying it all is a vision both dystopian and opportunistic.”
In October 2017, The Wall Street Journal reported that Soros had transferred a staggering $18 billion to his Open Society Foundation, meaning the bulk of his lifelong fortune would be dedicated to promoting left-wing causes and organizations.
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Biography & Background
George Soros was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1930 as György Švarc, or George Schwartz, of parents Tivadar (Theodore) and Erzebet (Elizabeth).
Both were nonobservant Jews. As a child, according to his authorized biographer, Michael T. Kaufmann, Soros felt he had extraordinary powers, of even being “God-like.”
It developed into an adult sense of messianic personal destiny and a power urge that emerged as practical action rather than delusionary lust. But that would take many years and substantial hardship.
Jewish children were barred from attending school by the Nazis. Tivadar obtained false identity papers for his family and they each fled to separate homes, hidden as Christians. George lived with and posed as the godson of an employee of the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture and continued school.
In 1945, Soros survived the Battle of Budapest, in which Soviet and German forces fought house-to-house through the city. He saw the rubble and the corpses. As a Jew living in Nazi-occupied Hungary, Soros learned his first lesson in survival, making an indelible mark on his character and personal philosophy.
George was 16 when he finished the last year of gymnasium. Unlike his fellow students, he was consumed by philosophy. He read enough to teach himself a variety of classical schools of thought – from Plato to Epictetus to Archimedes.
The importance of Karl Popper
Michael T. Kaufmann told the story in his authorized biography, Soros: The Life and Times of a Messianic Billionaire. In 1947, Soros immigrated to austere post-war England and the home of distant relations, and he was not very welcome.
At the LSE, Soros met the man who changed his life, spurred his philosophic streak, inspired his reflexivity theory, and gave his foundations and institutes the “Open Society” name.
There are many stories about Soros’ philosophy degrees from LSE and his study under the iconic star of the school – philosopher of science Karl Popper, author of The Spell of Plato and Hegel, Marx and the Aftermath.in two volumes,
Popper’s book focused on closed societies that suppressed reason – ones he condemned as “magical, tribal or collectivist” – but didn’t say much about the open society itself, beyond freedom of scientific inquiry and the freedom to dissent.
Reflexivity posited that market values are often driven by the fallible ideas of participants, not only by the economic fundamentals of the situation.
Reflexive feedback loops are created where ideas influence events and events influence ideas. Soros further argued that this leads to markets having procyclical “virtuous or vicious” cycles of boom and bust, in contrast to the equilibrium predictions of more standard neoclassical economics.
Birth of the Soros Fortune
In 1967, Soros talked his employers into letting him start an offshore fund called First Eagle, long positions only, with $250,000 of his own money and $6 million from investors.
It went well, and two years later he launched the Double Eagle hedge fund with $4 million of investors’ capital including $250,000 of his own money. It was based in Curaçao, Dutch Antilles, a Caribbean tax haven beyond U.S. regulation.
All of its investors were also beyond U.S. regulation: Soros only accepted very rich non-U.S. citizens, mostly European.
He had developed his own theory that individual biases (e.g., the trend-following habits of speculators) introduce disequilibrium into an economy, so conventional “efficient market” theory doesn’t work. Soros extends his reflexivity theory to just about everything.
In finance, Soros uses it to explain “boom-bust cycles.” He goes further, arguing that when any social enterprise begins to rise – whether a market, a business, a movement, or a nation – the biases of individuals (investors, executives, movement leaders, or statesmen) create instability. They build a bandwagon effect, overvaluing or overreaching, which creates an artificial “bubble” that eventually bursts. Soros has attributed his hedge fund success to his reflexivity theory.
In 1981, Institutional Investor magazine put Soros on the cover as “the world’s greatest money manager.” But there were thorns in the hedge: Critics accused him of calculated hit-and-run tactics by quietly buying into a market – gold, for example, as he did in 1993 – deliberately leaking his “secret,” watching the bandwagon stampede drive the price up, then bailing out before the bubble bursts.
Quantum had only one losing year in its first two decades and George Soros obtained enormous personal wealth. Even though he failed to predict the stock market crash of 1987 and took a $300 million hit, Quantum was actually up 14 percent for the calendar year – and his personal compensation of $75 million made him the second-highest-paid man on Wall Street.
In 1993, Quantum earned him $1.1 billion – making George Soros the top earner on Wall Street, with personal holdings greater than the gross national product of 42 nations.
According to author Ron Arnold in the book Freezing in the Dark, Soros’ foundation work began modestly. “When he set up his Open Society Fund in New York in 1979 he was not particularly proud. He had long cast himself as a curmudgeon, saying he didn’t believe in philanthropy. His original fund was what the law calls a ‘charitable lead trust,’ which Soros described as ‘a very interesting tax gimmick’ allowing him to pass large sums to his heirs untaxed. But his charitable intent – and power lust – was genuine, and he soon went to work giving money away.”
Soros’ maiden philanthropic effort was a scholarship program for black students in Apartheid South Africa. He held the visionary belief that “the creation of elites among persecuted people is the most effective way to overcome prejudice.”
Extreme leverage is a George Soros character trait. Most readers of the financial pages know about the spectacularly leveraged coup that earned him a billion dollars overnight in a giant gamble in 1992. He bet $10 billion – most of it borrowed money – that by selling enough sterling short he could force the Bank of England to devalue the British pound and make a killing.
Soros, with a keen grasp of money and politics, had calculated that bankers in the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (EERM), pegged to the German mark, would refuse to uphold the overvalued pound because at the time Germany had its own problems paying for reunification. Great Britain’s inflation was also much too high (triple the German rate), and British interest rates were hurting their asset prices.
The EERM did refuse, so Britain pulled out and tried to prop up its sinking currency by itself. Prime Minister John Major and Chancellor of the Exchequer Norman Lamont spent billions of the government’s foreign reserves buying back pounds, trying desperately to shore up the value of sterling in the face of the daunting speculative tsunami that Soros started.
They ran out of foreign reserves. Soros’s fund sold short more than $10 billion in pounds. The pound crashed, making Soros a profit of $1 billion. On September 16, 1992 – a day known thereafter as Black Wednesday – British subjects woke up to find their money worth about 20 percent less than the day before when compared to American dollars, German marks, or even French francs.
On October 26, 1992, The Times of London quoted Soros as saying:
“Our total position by Black Wednesday had to be worth almost $10 billion. We planned to sell more than that. In fact, when Norman Lamont said just before the devaluation that he would borrow nearly $15 billion to defend sterling, we were amused because that was about how much we wanted to sell.”
Soros quickly became known as “the man who broke the Bank of England.” His daring short position paid off big, putting him among the elite in international finance. Had he lost that bet, nobody would know his name today. Source: Freezing in the Dark
Insider Trading Conviction
Political changes in 1988 piqued Soros’ interest in purchasing shares in French companies. The new government under Prime Minister Jacques Chirac began an aggressive privatization program, leaving newly privatized companies with undervalued shares. French financier Georges Pébereau contacted a Soros adviser with a plan for a group of investors to purchase a large number of shares in Société Générale, a leading French bank, with the intent to take it over. Without ever having met the financier, Soros decided against joining the group, which predictably failed. He did, however, continue his strategy of accumulating shares in four French companies: Société Générale, Suez, Paribas, and the Compagnie Générale d’Électricité.
In 1989, the Commission des Opérations de Bourse (COB, the French stock exchange regulatory authority) investigated whether Soros’s transaction in Société Générale should be considered insider trading. Several years later, a Paris-based prosecutor reopened the case against Soros and two other French businessmen, disregarding the COB’s findings. This resulted in Soros’s 2005 conviction for insider trading by the Court of Appeals. The French Supreme Court confirmed the insider-trading conviction on June 14, 2006, but reduced the penalty. In December 2006, Soros appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, and on the basis that he had no insider information, but in October 2011 the court rejected his appeal in a 4–3 decision, saying that Soros had been aware of the risk of breaking insider trading laws.
In August of 2016, the DCLeaks network posted more than 2,500 hacked documents from the servers of his Open Society Foundations. Predictably, the spotlight was on Soros’s global network, but the shocker was the undue influence Soros exerts over every level of America’s domestic government. The hacked documents reveal initiatives to federalize local police forces, campaigns to rig elections of state attorneys general in favor of Democrats, and racial-based initiatives intended to tilt the 2020 U.S. Census so redistricting would guarantee Democrat control of Congress for at least a decade.
Headlines expressed the shock. Breitbart News evoked Star Wars: “Dark Lord: Hacked Documents Reveal Magnitude Of George Soros’s Domestic Influence.” WND.com suggested zoology: “George Soros: Vilest creature in America.” LifeNews.com focused on his radical stance on abortion: “George Soros Gave Planned Parenthood $1.5 Million to Cover Up Sales of Aborted Baby Parts.” Politico reported it: “George Soros’ quiet overhaul of the U.S. justice system.” And Twitter took action against the leakers: “ .”
No headlines noted Soros’ proven power to overthrow nations. He is credited with funding and organizing the downfall of Georgia’s President Eduard Shevardnadze, Yugoslavia’s Slobodan Milosevic, and the general collapse of the Soviet Empire. Morton Abramowitz, former ambassador to South Korea, said that Soros is “the only man in the United States who has his own foreign policy and can implement it.”
According to the book, Freezing in the Dark: Money, Power, Politics and The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy by Ron Arnold, Soros “built a string of Open Society foundations in communist countries: his native Hungary in 1984, China in 1986, the Soviet Union in 1987, and Poland in 1988.” Arnold wrote:
“Despite KGB interference, Soros made significant gains as the Soviet economy tottered. He gave $100 million to support Soviet science when the country had no money to maintain laboratories or pay scientists’ salaries. He committed close to another $100 million to introduce non-Marxist educational materials that had previously been banned. He gave another $100 million to wire all 33 regional universities to the Internet. They accused him of promoting dissent to weaken their regime. As became evident in the Soviet collapse of 1989, they were right.”
Yet this anti-communist crusader quickly turned against capitalism. He wrote a 1997 Atlantic Monthly article titled “The Capitalist Threat:
“Although I have made a fortune in the financial markets, I now fear that the untrammeled intensification of laissez-faire capitalism and the spread of market values into all areas of life is endangering our open and democratic society. The main enemy of the open society, I believe, is no longer the communist but the capitalist threat.”
A chapter in Freezing in the Dark details the Soros emergence into American politics, which for a long time never interested him. Soros admitted to his biographer, Michael T. Kaufman, that he didn’t feel fully American, even though he was a naturalized U.S. citizen with dual Hungarian citizenship. Soros said: “I did not particularly care for the United States. I had acquired some basic British prejudices; you know, the States were, well, commercial, crass, and so on.”
Soros paid no attention to his highest foundation staffers who proposed building a left-wing organizations on par with well-established conservative ones, but “I do not view my role as countering the Right,” became his mantra. Staffers who came to the defense of an ineffectual Democratic Party got the other Soros mantra: “I do not view my role as funding ‘the Left’ or the Democrats.” But the election of President George W. Bush changed Soros’ thinking and philanthropy dramatically.
Arnold wrote: “On March 19, 2003, Soros couldn’t stand it anymore. American and British forces attacked Iraq in a preemptive strike. His deepest beliefs had been violated and President George W. Bush had violated them. It wasn’t just that Bush struck him as a common, uncouth, Texas redneck. Bush’s declaration that ‘you are either with us or you are with the terrorists,’ shortly after the 9/11 attacks really got Soros. He said it evoked memories of Hitler from his boyhood as a Jew in hiding from the Nazis in his native Hungary. It looked to him like American society, the world’s most open, was closing.”
Soros’ 2003 book, The Bubble of American Supremacy: The Costs of Bush’s War in Iraq, was a forthright critique of the Bush administration’s “War on Terror” as misconceived and counterproductive. He explains the title in the closing chapter by pointing out the parallels in this political context with the self-reinforcing reflexive processes that generate bubbles in stock prices.
In a November 11, 2003 interview with The Washington Post, Soros said that removing President Bush from office was the “central focus of my life” and “a matter of life and death.” He said he would sacrifice his entire fortune to defeat Bush “if someone guaranteed it,” and gave many millions to left-wing organizations even with no guarantees. Soros gave $3 million to the Center for American Progress, $2.5 million to MoveOn.org, and $20 million to America Coming Together. These groups worked to support Democrats in the 2004 election, which resulted in the re-election of President Bush and gains for Republicans in the United States Senate and House of Representatives.
After the 2004 Republican victories, Soros and other donors backed a new political fundraising group called Democracy Alliance, which supports progressive causes and the formation of a stronger progressive infrastructure in America. On October 26, 2010, Soros donated $1 million to the organization, the largest donation in the campaign.
On September 27, 2012, Soros announced that he was donating $1 million to the super PAC backing President Barack Obama’s reelection, Priorities USA Action. In October 2013, Soros donated $25,000 to Ready for Hillary, becoming a co-chairman of the super PAC’s national finance committee.
In June 2015, Soros again donated $1 million to the Super PAC, Priorities USA Action, which supports Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race. Since then he donated an additional $6 million to the PAC to support Clinton. Soros’ immersion in American politics is now routine. Read the
George Soros’ Related Wealth
- Personal fortune $24.9 billion in 2016 – 16th richest in the Forbes 400 in 2016.
- Foundation to Promote Open Society, 2014 assets $4,986,868 744.
- Open Society Institute, 2014 assets $1,757,161,818.
- Quantum Endowment Fund posted strongest gains of any other hedge fund in 2013, $5.5 billion return on $28.6 billion investments.
- Soros Fund Management is the private family office of the Soros operations and does not release its financials.