George Soros  

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"George Soros became instantly famous on September 22, 1992, when, believing the Pound sterling was overvalued, he speculated heavily against it. The Bank of England was forced to withdraw the currency out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism, and Soros earned an estimated US$1 billion in the process. He was dubbed "the man who broke the Bank of England."" --Sholem Stein

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

George Soros (born August 12, 1930) is a Hungarian-born American businessman. He is famous as a currency speculator and a philanthropist. He is also the son of the Esperanto writer Tivadar Soros.

Soros was born and lived in Hungary until 1946, when he escaped Hungary for the West by participating in an Esperanto youth congress. As a young man, Soros traded currencies in the black market during the Nazi occupation of Hungary.

Soros emigrated to England in 1947 and graduated from the London School of Economics in 1952. In 1956, he moved to the United States. He has stated that his intention was to earn enough money on Wall Street to support himself as an author and philosopher. He is the chairman of Soros Fund Management and of the Open Society Institute.

Soros became instantly famous on September 22, 1992, when, believing the Pound Sterling was overvalued, he speculated heavily against it. The Bank of England was forced to withdraw the currency out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism, and Soros earned an estimated US$1 billion in the process. He was dubbed "the man who broke the Bank of England."

In 1997, under similar circumstances, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad accused Soros of bringing down the Malaysian currency, the ringgit.

Despite his carefully groomed media image, Soros is a controversial figure because on the one hand, as an international investor and currency speculator, he has become extremely wealthy (his fortune in 2000 was estimated at US$ five billion).

On the other, he freely acknowledges that the current system of financial speculation undermines healthy economic development in many underdeveloped countries.

Critics point out that Soros plays the currency markets through Quantum Fund, his privately-owned investment fund registered in Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles, a Caribbean tax haven which has repeatedly been cited by the International Task Force on Money Laundering of the OECD as one of the world's most important centers for laundering the illegal proceeds of the Latin American drug trade. By operating from Curaçao, Soros avoids paying taxes, and also hides the nature of his investors, and what he does with their money.

Soros has been active as a philanthropist since 1979, when he began providing funds to help black students attend the University of Cape Town in apartheid South Africa. Soros' philanthropic funding in Eastern Europe mostly occurs through the Open Society Institute and national Soros Foundations, which sometimes go under other names, e.g. the Stefan Batory Foundation in Poland.

He received honorary doctoral degrees from the New School for Social Research (New York), the University of Oxford in 1980, the Budapest University of Economics, and Yale University in 1991. Soros was a student of Karl Popper and says that his investment strategies are based on a Popperian skepticism about the reliability of any one human belief.

For many years, Soros did not involve himself greatly in US politics, but that changed under President George W. Bush. In an interview with The Washington Post on November 11, 2003, Soros said that removing Bush from office is the "central focus of my life," and "a matter of life and death." Towards that goal, Soros and a partner committed $5 million to MoveOn.org, a liberal activist group, bringing to $15.5 million the total of his personal contributions to oust Bush. He has also written a book, The Bubble of American Supremacy, which will be published in January, 2004. [1]

Soros is married with five children.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "George Soros" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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