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Who is George Soros?

George Soros is a renowned financier and philanthropist, whose investment acumen has made him a billionaire. Born in Hungary, Soros survived Nazi occupation and became a powerful advocate for democracy and human rights. His Open Society Foundations work globally to promote justice and equality. Curious about his influence on world markets and politics? Discover how Soros's actions resonate worldwide.
Brendan McGuigan
Brendan McGuigan

George Soros is an American investor, born in Hungary in 1930. He is one of the hundred richest people in the world, with a net worth of somewhere around $9 billion US Dollars (USD). In addition to his investments, George Soros is also well known for his political activism and philanthropy, and his advocacy of democracy abroad.

George Soros lived in Hungary during his early life, leaving during the Soviet occupation in the wake of Nazi control of Hungary. He moved to England in 1947, and received a degree from the London School of Economics five years later. He went on to work at Singer & Friedlander Bank in London.

George Soros' political action committees and media funds have been used to help elect many members of Congress.
George Soros' political action committees and media funds have been used to help elect many members of Congress.

George Soros eventually moved to America in the mid-1950s, taking work in New York City with F.M. Mayer and Wertheim & Company. During this time he continued to refine his theories of economics, particularly his theory of reflexivity in markets, which basically stated that the very act of valuing a market affects the valuation in either a vicious or virtuous cycle. In the 1960s he took work at Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder, rising to vice-president. In the late-1960s he began investing in a fund set up for him by the company, and by the end of the 1960s he was running another fund as well.

As a philanthropist, George Soros has committed millions of dollars to help eradicate poverty in the United States and abroad.
As a philanthropist, George Soros has committed millions of dollars to help eradicate poverty in the United States and abroad.

In 1973 he went his own way, setting up his own investment company, which would become Quantum Fund. His early goal was to make $500,000 USD within five years, allowing him to settle into a life of philosophizing and writing. In that five year period, rather than $500,000 USD he found himself worth in excess of $11 billion USD.

George Soros is perhaps best known for his activities in the currency exchange markets. He is infamous for being the man who “broke” the Bank of England. On Black Wednesday, 1992, the Bank of England had failed to float its currency or to raise its interest rates. One of Soros’ partners, Stanley Druckenmiller, saw the weak position this put the pound in. George Soros then capitalized on this by selling short an enormous amount of pounds, in excess of $10 billion USD worth. When the Bank of England did finally devalue the pound in response, George Soros made more than $1.1 billion USD in profit.

Since the 1970s, George Soros has been involved in a number of philanthropic projects throughout the world. His best known is likely the Open Society Institute, which promotes non-violent democratization throughout the world. His donations tend to draw attention for being very large, and it is estimated he has given away more than $6 billion USD to date. Some highlights include a pledge of more than $50 million USD to Jeffrey Sachs’ initiative to put an end to the worst of the poverty in Africa, the Millennium Promise, and $100 million USD for internet infrastructure in Russia. George Soros is also known for his political activism in recent years. In 2004, he came out adamantly against President George W. Bush’s re-election, donating more than $23 million USD to various groups trying to defeat Bush.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is George Soros and why is he significant?

George Soros is a Hungarian-American billionaire investor, philanthropist, and political activist. Born on August 12, 1930, in Budapest, Hungary, he survived Nazi occupation during World War II and emigrated to England in 1947. Soros is significant for his impact on global financial markets, particularly for his bet against the British pound in 1992, which earned him the nickname "The Man Who Broke the Bank of England." He is also known for his extensive philanthropic work through the Open Society Foundations, which promotes democracy, human rights, and freedom of expression around the world.

What is the Open Society Foundations and what are its goals?

The Open Society Foundations, founded by George Soros in 1979, is a network of philanthropic organizations that support civil society groups around the world. Its goals include advancing justice, education, public health, and independent media, as well as promoting human rights and democratic governance. The foundation operates in more than 100 countries, providing grants to various organizations and initiatives that align with its mission to build vibrant and tolerant democracies.

How did George Soros make his fortune?

George Soros made his fortune through savvy investments in the global financial markets. He founded Soros Fund Management in 1969, which eventually evolved into the well-known Quantum Fund. His most famous trade was in 1992 when he shorted the British pound, making a reported $1 billion profit as the currency collapsed. Soros's investment style is often described as a blend of macroeconomic analysis, intuition, and an understanding of human psychology.

What are some controversies associated with George Soros?

George Soros has been a figure of controversy due to his political contributions and philanthropic efforts. Critics argue that his funding of progressive causes and support for liberal political movements influence politics in ways that go beyond traditional philanthropy. Additionally, conspiracy theories often target Soros, falsely accusing him of orchestrating political and social upheaval for personal gain. These controversies are often amplified by political opponents and are not supported by credible evidence.

Has George Soros received any notable awards or recognition for his work?

Yes, George Soros has received numerous awards and recognition for his philanthropic and humanitarian efforts. For instance, he was awarded the Yale International Center for Finance Award from the Yale School of Management in 2000 and the Atlantic Council's Global Citizen Award in 2016. His contributions to society have been acknowledged by various institutions, reflecting his impact on promoting open societies and supporting human rights initiatives across the globe.

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Discussion Comments

christym

I'm not sure how I feel about George Soros -- I've heard that he has some strong views about our troops in Iraq, even calling them "oppressors." While he is totally entitled to his opinion, I think that being so aggressive might not be the best way to get his point across.

dill1971

Did you know that Soros has been convicted of insider trading? A French court fined him over 2 million dollars, even after he tried to appeal it.

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    • George Soros' political action committees and media funds have been used to help elect many members of Congress.
      George Soros' political action committees and media funds have been used to help elect many members of Congress.
    • As a philanthropist, George Soros has committed millions of dollars to help eradicate poverty in the United States and abroad.
      By: JackF
      As a philanthropist, George Soros has committed millions of dollars to help eradicate poverty in the United States and abroad.