Thursday, June 28, 2012

George Soros - a role model?

I have commented before that Mr. Soros' claim to fame is that he once blackmailed the British government and --- succeded! There is no doubt about the fact that Mr. Soros is an exceptionally brilliant mind and that, once he had acquired wealth, he put some of that wealth to charitable uses. Nevertheless, there is also no doubt about the fact that he owes his entire wealth to speculative investments, i. e. to the trading in abstract financial instruments.

No such abstract financial instruments could exist and no George Soros could acquire wealth in trading them if there were not a real economy somewhere out there. An economy where people spend a decent day's work to do/create something which is of enough value to others so that they pay them a salary and/or price for their products and services.

The only difference between George Soros and someone like Gordon Gekko is that Mr. Soros is an exceptionally well-educated man, a very cultured person and probably someone with a (guilty?) conscience. If not the latter, he wouldn't feel the need to give some money back to the society which enabled him to take it away from it.

Should Gordon Gekko be a role model for the next generation? I guess everyone would agree that not. Should George Soros be a role model? If yes, then only because he has better education, more culture and better manners than Gordon Gekko. But as far as the substance is concerned, he is no different from Gordon Gekko. Gordon Gekko would have driven a lot of airline employees into unemployment. George Soros caused a lot of financial loss to a lot of British and damaged British feelings of dignity like few others in modern times.

It is quite amazing how much publicity is given to this aged man. DER SPIEGEL published an interview with him where Soros prophesizes that Germany will be hated (as an American citizen, he should know best of all that being powerful and being hated often go hand in hand). The NYT just gave Soros the opportunity to announce that Germany must leave the Eurozone in order to save it. He had voiced that opinion before.

How about Warren Buffett as an alternative to George Soros. After all, Buffett, too, accumulated enormous wealth. The only difference is that Buffett did not make his money through the trading of abstract financial instruments which would not be possible without a real economy. Instead, Buffett made most of his money in the real economy by investing in value-creating businesses and giving them the financial resources to expand their businesses (and their value-creating...).

I think we would all be better off if the frontpages of financial media were occupied by the opinions of those potential role models who have indeed created tangible values for society. Who are they? They are the entrepreneurs and businessmen (and -women!) who have found a place between customer needs and their businesses' capabilities to create new jobs. Jobs which allow their holders to support a decent standard of living; jobs which pay a fair amount of income taxes; jobs which enable the businesses to pay a fair amount of corporate taxes; and jobs which allow the owners of those businesses to pay a fair amount of dividend taxes! Finally, jobs which eventually allow the states to generate enough revenues to pay for all the services which they wish to provide to their societies.

Where are these role models? Only in Germany, perhaps? No, they are in EVERY society and I have no doubt about the fact that they are also in sufficient quantity in Greece! 


  1. You don't have to make someone a role model to be interested in what they have to say, and Soros has something interesting to say.

    1. I agree with you. And I am not at all suggesting that Mr. Soros does not have interesting opinions. Part of his mission is to be interesting!

      As clear as I am that I do not consider Mr. Soros a good role model for the next generation, as strongly do I feel that the next generation needs to have role models. The Gordon Gekko's, unfortunately, were role models for a lot of intelligent young people for a number of years. As I suggest, I think there are a lot more fitting role models available and they should be brought on stage.

      Finally, as interesting as I often find it to pursue the discourse among highly intelligent and interesting people, I prefer listening to those who have practical excperience with solving the kind of problems that they talk about. Such as Prof. Velasco.

  2. 1. I think George Soros is the typical exploiter who somehow mistakes his ability to milk the capital system for his own gain as a kind of "positive impact". Now it is just him benefiting from that. He is a very negative role model.

    2. From my perspective this is in the end a fight between a large majority, who would like to let the accumulated debts nearly everywhere go up in a smoke of inflation and a minority of Nordics / Germany who insist to keep low inflation for ourselves. Switzerland and the Nordics are small enough to fill them up with money, until they cry uncle and peg to the Euro (or damage their industry and mortgage claims in Eastern Europe brutally). If Europe (ECB) holds the line, the US & UK have a problem with their AD cliff (aggregate demand) of 5 -7 % in front of them. And then it becomes a power question. Then it is understandable why all of US UK business Bloomberg, WSJ, FT, Krugman & acolytes bang endlessly on Germany.
    That’s why a/the economic adviser of Romney had this interview in Handelsblatt and the Obama crew went mad about it.

    3. I want to really applaud your effort. I saw you first time at Yanis's blog. Since the most Greek "economist" like Yanis, but also a delusional Costas Mitropoulos
    Have no clue about real world economics, you are probably one of the very few, who can really develop some real world strategies for Greece. And it seems your efforts with frequent postings pay off to make your side a focal point for “(Greek) people for a better Greece”.

    Nice to see!

    1. Thanks for the compliment and the article! So delusional as you I do not find Costas Mitropoulos. At least he recognizes the need for foreign investment. Without foreign investment Greece has really no chance to maintain the living standard on a sustained basis. Where I get nervous is when people like Varoufakis immediately call for official and/or semi-official funding for investment. If business conditions are excellent, private foreign investment will come by itself. And anyone, including Greece, who plans his future on the basis for forced investments --- well, good luck!

      I have to say this about Varoufakis: at least he has been totally straight-forward with me. He has told me very bluntly that he has no intention at all to talk about things which Greece could/should do for itself until the bigger problem of the EZ is solved. I disagree with him violently on that but I respect him for his honesty!

  3. Ich komme eher aus der Physiker / Ingenieursecke. Habe mir aber inzwischen aber auch einen MBA gegönnt, und mir Volkswirtschaft ziemlich intensiv angeguckt.

    Ein Grund für mich, mich an blogs zu beteiligen, ist das man ohne Diskussion und Feedback auf halbwegs geeignetem Niveau halt sehr leicht in Fehler / Unkenntnis verfällt und dann da hängen bleibt. Je mehr mir also jemand sagt, wo ich was nicht weiss, oder falsch verstanden habe, umso besser für mich.

    Ich bilde mir ein, von Ihnen irgendwo mal einen Masterplan für die griechische Ökonomie, oder eine Art Entwurf gesehen zu haben. Täusche ich mich, oder gibt es da einen link dazu?

    Aber nun zum FT Artikel von Mitropoulos:
    Er nennt 3 Gebiete für Griechische Expansion:
    1. „GateWay“ Handel Mitteleuropa – Ferner Osten
    2. Handelsweg Mitteleuropa – Naher Osten
    3. Tourismus

    Zu den folgenden Punkten:
    3.Tourismus ist klar, dafür müssen sie aber auch lieb und nett sein, nicht mehr die Transportgelegenheiten bestreiken, und wenn sie über den jetzigen „humanisten“ Bereich erheblich hinaus wachsen wollen, im Preis also Löhnen mit der Türkei und Ägypten konkurrieren, also mindestens 30 % billiger.
    2.Handelsweg Mitteleuropa – Naher Osten
    Wenn ich mir die Strassenzüge anschaue, dann ist Griechenland für kein einziges Nachbarland in irgendeiner Form nützlich, oder gar notwendig. Sogar die A3 / E80 zwischen Edirne und Svilengrad wird sorgfältig an Griechenland vorbeigebaut. Und selbst wenn, was wäre von ein paar Kilometer Transitstrecke ökonomisch zu erwarten? Ausser Erpressungspotential? Wegen solchem Verhalten wurde ja auch North Stream um Polen und Weissrussland herumgebaut. Wo sind da welche griechischen Jobs und Löhne? Was übersehe ich hier?
    3.Gateway Ferner Osten
    Bitte Bild vergrößern in:
    Wofür sollte Griechenland hier nötig sein. Russland wird sein Zeug nicht umpacken, und was aus Fernost kommt, geht in die Raffinerien in NL.
    Was kann Griechenland als Service hier bieten?

    „invest heavily in infrastructure and land development“
    Ich dachte das “Invest in Infrastructure” hat die EU randsatt mit 60 % GDP in den letzten 30 Jahren gemacht. Was versteht er unter „land development“ ? google bringt das eher als „sub urb“ planning ?
    Er spricht von 55 + 10 b Euro geplanten (?) Projekten. Haben sie von sowas schon irgendwas gehört.
    Oder sind das einfach nur phantastische Luftschlösser, die aus purer Verzweiflung entstehen, weil die angeblichen 50 b Euro Privatisierungen unter den herrschenden Verhältnissen vielleicht so 5 wert sind, ähnlich wie damals bei der Treuhand?
    Wenn ich mir einen brauchbaren Zwischenhändler vorstelle,
    muss er ehrlich sein, einen langfristig guten Ruf haben, berechtigte Forderungen pünktlich bezahlen, zuverlässig sein (also keine Streikunterbrechungen), erstklassiges Credit rating.
    Also alles was Griechenland restlos zerstört hat.
    Ausweitung des Tourismus macht nur als FDI Sinn, unter kompletten Ausschluss der griechischen Regierung.

    Bitte sagen sie mir, was übersehe ich hier? Für mich hört sich Mitropoulos an wie jemand, der aufgrund der Verzweiflung einfach irre geworden ist.

    1. Ich stimme zu, dass der Ist-Zustand keine großen Hoffnungen für eine wunderbare Zukunft gestattet. Um sich das vorstellen zu können, was ich mir auch jetzt noch vorstellen kann (wenngleich nur mehr in ganz minimalem Ausmaß), muss man etwas träumen. Man muss träumen, dass es Griechenland tatsächlich schaffen wird, ein ganz "normales" Land zu werden, wo wirtschaftlich vernünftig agiert wird. Die Kennedy's haben in Wahlkämpfen immer einen Spruch von George B. Shaw abgewandelt: "Most people look at things how they are and ask 'why'? I dream of things how they could be and ask 'why not'?

      Betreffend meinen "Masterplan" weiß ich auf der Stelle nicht, welchen Post Sie meinen. Unten ist eine Auswahl. Ist der "Masterplan" dabei?

  4. FYI: