The Soros Lectures: At the Central European University

The Soros Lectures: At the Central European University

George Soros

Language: English

Pages: 144

ISBN: 1586489445

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In October 2009, George Soros delivered a series of lectures at the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, which provided a broad overview of his thoughts on economics and politics. Soros has achieved great and consistent success in the world of finance but has also contributed to the broader world of philosophy and human rights through the work of his Open Society Institute, an international network of foundations. These lectures are the culmination of a lifetime of practical and philosophical reflection. This book presents these five seminal talks into one volume, which offers a condensed and highly readable summary of Soros' worldview.

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compartmentalized in order to keep them stable, there ought to be firewalls between different markets. It is probably impractical to separate investment banking from commercial banking as the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 did. But there have to be internal compartments keeping proprietary trading in various markets separate from each other. Some banks that have come to occupy quasi-monopolistic positions may have to be broken up. Finally, the drafters of the Basel Accords made a mistake when they

society. In the previous lectures I was summarizing the conclusions of a lifetime of study and experimentation. Here I will be breaking new ground because my views on open society have changed over time and they are still evolving. As a result, the next two lectures will be much more exploratory in character. The connection between open society and reflexivity is far from obvious. On a personal level they are closely connected. As Lecture Three: Open Society 51 9781586488857-text.qxd:Soros

they achieved it. I do not want to be misunderstood. Painting too rosy a picture of the past is characteristic of people of a certain age, and I do not want to fall into such an obvious trap. I do not claim that Lecture Four: Capitalism Versus Open Society 83 9781586488857-text.qxd:Soros 12/9/09 12:26 PM Page 84 politicians were more honest or society was more just in 1956. America has made great progress since then in transparency, accountability, and social equality. But there has been a

that I returned to my philosophy. I published my first book, The Alchemy of Finance, in 1987. In that book I tried to explain the philosophical underpinnings of my approach to financial markets. The book attracted a certain amount of attention. It has been read by many people in the hedge fund industry and it is taught in business schools, but the philosophical arguments did not make much of an impression. They 8 9781586488857-text.qxd:Soros 12/9/09 12:26 PM Page 9 were largely dismissed

becomes self-reinforcing in the opposite direction. But positive feedback processes do not necessarily run their full course; they may be aborted at any time by negative feedback. Lecture Two: Financial Markets 29 9781586488857-text.qxd:Soros 12/9/09 12:26 PM Page 30 I have developed a theory about boom-bust processes, or bubbles, along these lines. Every bubble has two components: an underlying trend that prevails in reality and a misconception relating to that trend. A boom-bust process

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