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The Imperfect World of George Soros

December 01, 2012 | About:
CanadianValue

CanadianValue

210 followers
Have you read any of George Soros writings on reflexivity? I have, and I'm still confused. I had to read four Berkshire Hathway shareholder letters after reading Soros to get my head back together.

That doesn't mean Soros doesn't interest me though, here is another article out about him this weekend:

George Soros cites Isaiah Berlin as an important intellectual influence, so it makes sense to see Soros through one of the Riga-born philosopher's best-known lenses -- the division of the world into foxes and hedgehogs. In his public life, Soros is a broad-minded fox: As a hedge fund manager, his success rested on his ability to make many different bets every day. In his philanthropy, Soros is foxy too, supporting, under the broad umbrella of "open society," dozens of causes in dozens of countries.

But intellectually, Soros is a more narrowly focused hedgehog. He has been pondering, articulating, elaborating, and publicizing variations on one big idea for more than half a century. The way he describes that central thought today is "the significance of imperfect understanding as a motive force or determinant of history."

Over the years, Soros's written expositions of this concept have sometimes met with bafflement, even as his financial prowess and philanthropic accomplishments have been widely admired. For Soros himself, though, his big idea and many public initiatives are intimately connected; his intellectual framework, he believes, is what has made him good at everything else. And, to his delight, after years of struggling to be accepted as a public intellectual, the turmoil in the world economy has finally made the rest of us more receptive to his insight.

"The present moment is a potent illustration" of how imperfect understanding shapes bad outcomes, Soros told me when I interviewed him recently for Foreign Policy. "We have had 25 years of a superboom, interspersed by financial crises. Each time, the authorities intervened by reinforcing the credit and leverage in the economy, until it became unsustainable. Then you had the crash of 2008, where the financial system actually collapsed and had to be put on life support, which consisted of substituting sovereign credit for the financial credit that was no longer credible."

Link to the entire article: The Imperfect World of George Soros

About the author:

CanadianValue
http://valueinvestorcanada.blogspot.com/

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