George Soros: I am a passionate critic of market fundamentalism | Letters

Daniel Bessner has written a thorough and insightful review of my philosophy and actions throughout my life (How George Soros thinks, The long read, July 6) but his assessment itself suffers from a fatal flaw – a set erroneous assumptions about the beliefs and convictions underlying this philosophy and these actions.

Bessner says that I believe “in a necessary link between capitalism and cosmopolitanism” and that I believe “that a free society depends on free (albeit regulated) markets”. He further asserts that my “class position has made [me] unable to advocate the sweeping reforms needed to make the world happen [I desire]”.

On the contrary, I have been a passionate critic of market fundamentalism at least since I first addressed the phenomenon in my essay. The capitalist threat in the Atlantic Monthly 20 years ago. Moreover, I have been a strong proponent of what Bessner calls “bottom-up reforms” that could make the world a better place than I and many others desire – for example, I would cite the positions I have taken regarding reforms after the financial crisis. crisis of 2008. Anyone who examines the file will see that my proposals were far from the dominant approach of the “center left” which ended up prevailing. Along the same lines, regarding Eastern Europe after 1989, Bessner writes: “It was more than a lack of political will that constrained the West at that time. In the era of ‘shock therapy’, Western capital flowed into Eastern Europe – but this capital was primarily invested in private industry, as opposed to democratic institutions or community building grassroots, who have helped kleptocrats and anti-democrats gain and retain power. .” I am okay. But Bessner continues: “Soros had identified a key problem but was unable to appreciate how the very logic of capitalism, which emphasized profit above all else, would necessarily undermine his democratic project. He remained too attached to the system he had conquered. On the contrary, my interventions were entirely in favor of “democratic institutions and grassroots community building”, and I urged others, including governments, to follow me in this approach.

Likewise, Bessner’s conclusion that my status “as a member of the hyper-elite and [my] the conviction that, despite all its failures, history was heading in the right direction [me] unable to fully take into account the ideological obstacles that stood in the way of [my] internationalism” is unfounded. I don’t think I ever expressed optimism that the story is headed in the right direction. Martin Luther King said that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice”. I’m less optimistic, which is why I’ve spent my life actively trying to bend the bow in a positive direction. But recognizing that I am a biased evaluator of my life’s work, I will submit it to the judgment of history.
George Soros
Open Society Foundations

Join the debate – email [email protected]

Read more Letters from tutors – click here to visit

Comments are closed.