Curious George

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George Soros' friends and foes alike should have much to chew on in this quality Jane Mayer profile in last week's New Yorker. Bonus points for the extended Star Chamber intro, and the various evidence points for a creeping and cranky Messianism.

Previous Reason criticism of anti-Soros smears here and here; criticism of Soros' ideas (which, as Mayer poignantly illustrates, is all the old guy really wants to be remembered for) here and here.

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  1. The best New Yorker story on Soros I’ve seen was a Talk piece on his 99-2000 New Year’s Eve party, featuring painted, naked trapeze artists, a chamber orchestra, some unbelievably excessive culinary and artistic displays, and assorted other examples of decadence. I couldn’t figure out whether they were sending up or celebrating the wretched excess (and I’m sure the ambiguity was intentional), but from the description I’d say it sure beat the shit out of the lousy Millennium party I ended up at.

  2. I understand the libertarian defense of Soros’ speculative attacks against the British pound, but it still seems to me the moral equivalent of yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater, then taking any money you find in coats and purses that were left behind. There’s some irony in this guy now presuming to tell me he knows what’s best for society.

  3. Papaya, from my understanding of the situation, I just don’t agree at all. The British Central Bank was manipulating the pound’s value. This type of centralized manipulation ALWAYS fails eventually… and the longer it takes to fail, the more damaging the result. He just hastened (and probably, thus, mitigated) the inevitable crash.

  4. “Papaya, from my understanding of the situation, I just don’t agree at all. The British Central Bank was manipulating the pound’s value.”

    The situation was that a group of the european countries had created a system call the European Currency Exchange Rate Mechanism that attempted to keep all their currencies trading within certain boundaries (trading bands) related to each other. At the time, the German economy was outperforming that of the other nations and that put a strain on the system. Britian was using it’s foreign currency reserves to buy up British pounds in the international currency markets in an attempt to prop up the value. Soros entered into short futures contracts against the pound. His move overwhelmed the British governent’s efforts and the value of the pound fell. Soros closed out his short positions at a huge profit ($1 billion dollars).

  5. Gilbert, thanks for the details.

  6. “This is the most important election of my lifetime. These aren’t normal times. The ends justify every legal means possible.” – Soros
    That’s OK, I guess, but one can buy a lot of law with that kind of money – that’s somewhat bothersome.

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