George Soros on PBS

Xxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx at
Sat Feb 24 13:06:54 MST 2001

Last night, there was a long interview with a famous Hungarian
speculator and currency trader Soros on public TV. It was instructive to
see how the bourgeoisie all of a sudden becomes so philantrophic as to
make suggestions about reforming the international financial structure
currently existing. Basically, the interviewer asked questions about
Soros' recently published book _Open Society: Crisis of Global
Capitalism_, where Soros makes a claim that financial markets
occasionally move towards equilibrium, hence are always unstable, and we
need the guiding hand of the government and international organizations
to regulate the markets. Soros invoked the Keynesian wisdom, adding that
he very much admired Keynes despite his homosexuality. He further said
that WTO went overboard in its claims for free trade at the expense of
environmental and labor conditions in various countries. And then Soros
continued talking about how the open society is in danger if the
financial turmoil currently existing can not be stopped, reminding the
political instability facing the Weimar Republic during the economic
depression years, and the subsequent rise of Hitler. As a typical
liberal internationalist, Soros claimed a new role for the US, a
responsibility, which includes, among others, being a less unilateral
and more tolerant power in international relations. This reminded me a
liberal version of Charles Kindleberger's much bolder and real politik
claim that in the absence of a stabilizer in the world economy, the
world system needs the leadership of the United States whose job is to
maintain the liberal economic order embodied in institutions like the
IMF and the World Bank. "US imperialism is not only necessary but also
desirable" kind of argument. Soros's vision of liberalism is replacing
Kindleberger's notion of "predatory" power with a hegemony of "benign
neglect" and multilateralism led by the United States. Humanist
imperialism, so to speak.

Soros's role in Asian and European currency crises is documented,
considering the fact that Soros made lots of profits from suddenly
changing currency values at a time when the Asian currencies were
overvalued due their pegging to dollar. When asked how much he made out
of Bank of England, Soros kind of said "I am only a speculator. I make
predictions about financial markets, which is what my function is in an
unstable financial environment. I don't determine the outcomes"

In any case, Soros also said that his father's memoirs will soon be
published. They are about how it feels like being a Hungarian Jew under
Nazi occupation. Making a connection to his Jewishness, the interviewer
subsequently asked what Soros thought about the current situation in
Israel, Soros said "there are enough Jews for Israel. I am not currently
occupied with Israel. My foundations are helping to restore open society
in Eastern Europe, China and Russia"

It was instructive to listen to the interview, and to learn more about
the bourgeois vision of the world, especially from a financier point of
view. When bourgeoisie self-consciously distorts the world, despite
trying to look like a philantrophic, they still are what they think they
are: defenders of capitalism. Soros openly acknowledged that he wanted
to see capitalism perish, not disappear. There is no questioning there.
He is what he is. When some progressives, on the other hand, defend free
trade or NAFTA in the name of Marxism, or quote Marx to back up free
trade, there my nerves stand up.

Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx
Ph.D Student
Department of Political Science
SUNY at Albany
Nelson A. Rockefeller College
135 Western Ave.; Milne 102
Albany, NY 12222

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