December 27, 2000
12:47 PM   Subscribe

So we've got opinions about Bill Gates. But what about billionaire George Soros? He funds, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars a year, various causes in the US, in Europe, and elsewhere. He's a critic of what he sees as the excesses of late capitalism. But does Soros represent a good thing? (More inside...)
posted by snarkout (9 comments total)
I'm utterly thrilled that someone like Soros exists, if only for the fact that so many people with huge amounts of money to throw behind their pet causes are coming from philosophical paths that utterly diverge from mine, from Heritage Foundation founder Richard Scaife to the school voucher work by various Fishers (of Gap fame) and Waltons. I'm glad that there's someone out there willing to be the "Daddy Warbucks of the drug legalization movement" and to take the inevitable accusations of hypocrisy when he speaks out in favor of more, rather than less, government regulation of globalization. But is this what we've come to? Relying on billionaires of good will to say that capitalism sometimes hurts the poor, because politicians are too afraid of being tarred as socialists? Relying on billionaires to fund ballot initiatives to make laws that state legislators have ignored? Frankly, I think that's a somewhat scary thought. There's a reason we elect officials instead of having Bill Gates or Larry Ellison just hire them. Anyone else want to chime in?
posted by snarkout at 12:47 PM on December 27, 2000

It stinks.
posted by lagado at 4:20 PM on December 27, 2000

I don't know lagado, I like the guy. Sure he screws around countries, but if I could I would as well. Why? because some countries deserved to get screwed around.

I read a book on his life last year and it was fascinating to read how someone who really started with nothing become some rich and important. Here is a guy who beat billions against the pound and was so sure he was right. His assistant was sweating it, but Soros was sound asleep. He knew he was right and for so long he was always right. I like his views on capitalism and his approach to the market.

He has also done a lot to help eastern European countries and tries to promote openess in these countries.
posted by jay at 8:33 PM on December 27, 2000

Off topic, but reading some of the articles about Soros had me finding this passage: Years later, I was sitting with Fran Nazi in his office on the outskirts of Tirana, where young Albanians were discussing the concept of open society and preparing the launching of radio stations."

Fran Nazi. Now that is a horrible name.

Yay for somewhat good billionaire. Boo for his hidden evil plan. Yay for mistrusting billionaires. Boo for Nazis.
posted by daedsiluap at 1:09 AM on December 28, 2000

With the political process stagnant, with politicians held in thrall by corporate interests and the mantle of progressive initiative and advocacy being taken up by the billionaire I said earlier, it stinks.
posted by lagado at 5:15 AM on December 28, 2000

I know a few people who've been given the opportunity to study at Oxford through the Soros Foundation. While I'm not entranced by the source of his riches, it appears slightly less objectionable than that of Wafic Said. the weapons dealer who is currently bankrolling the new business school here (colloquially known as the Said College of Arms...)
posted by holgate at 8:19 AM on December 28, 2000

the mantle of progressive initiative and advocacy being taken up by the billionaire aristocracy... it stinks.

You'd rather, perhaps, that nobody with any power took up that mantle?

What really stinks is that everyone, at every point on the political spectrum, is so damned sure that they're right and literally everyone else is wrong. If a billionaire takes up a progressive cause, well, we all know billionaires can't be trusted, so he's obviously doing it for some nefarious purpose he's concealing from us. God forbid he could just be a man trying to make the world a better place the best way he knows how, just as any of us would do if we had similar resources.
posted by kindall at 12:11 PM on December 28, 2000

He's against the Drug War, which is enough reason for me to like the guy. It is sad, however, that the only way you can get any notice in this society is to have gobs and gobs of money.OTOH, Bill Gates seems to be doing more actual good for people. Why he's so widely hated baffles me. If you don't like his products, don't use 'em (isn't that what Linux is for?)
posted by Mr. skullhead at 5:58 PM on December 28, 2000

Everyone, please enjoy Doug Henwood's review of Soros' book, Let George do it.

posted by capt.crackpipe at 2:31 AM on December 29, 2000

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