Every person has both angelic and demonic sides to them, and George Soros is no exception. On the one hand, Soros is a famous philanthropist. Forbes called him the most generous giver, in terms of percentage of net worth. On the other hand, he is known as the “man who broke the Bank of England” and is also called “an enemy of the state” by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Soros has also found himself buried in an unnecessary controversy by launching a defamation campaign against China. Obsessed with an oversimplified dogma that the world is arbitrarily divided into open and closed societies, he has been trapped in the fallacy that a defeated China would be better for the “open society”, aka the US-led West.
By Chinese Dream Think Tank
Photo: Open Society Foundation
Since the late 1970s, Soros has succeeded in establishing his reputation as a philanthropist. But the shadow of an alleged hidden agenda surrounding his philanthropic work remains the elephant in the room. It is difficult for Soros to convince us that the funds for democratization campaigns in former communist states in Central and Eastern Europe have not sown the seeds of revolution in their soils. For example, his funding of pro-democratic programs in Georgia was considered to be crucial to the success of the Rose Revolution in Georgia.
While we are unsure whether Soros has any revolutionary plans behind the facade of his charitable work, we are sure that he is every inch an unscrupulous speculator who was unjustly enriched at the expense of an under regulated foreign exchange market in the UK in 1992. In the late 1980s, Britain was confronted with a burgeoning deficit in its current account. But the government did not pay much attention to this problem (Tim Lee, Why the Markets Went Crazy (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), p.140).
Another economic problem was that the exchange rate at which Britain was brought into the European Exchange Rate mechanism was too high. To make matters worse, inflation and interest rates were also high in Britain. All these weak economic fundamentals made the pound sterling an ideal punch bag for Soros and other speculators. Soros had been building a huge short position in British pounds for months leading up to Black Wednesday.
On Black Wednesday (Sept 16, 1992), Soros’ fund sold short more than $10 billion in pounds. The UK government, on the other hand, took strong steps to bolster the pound, including raising interest rates. Other currency speculators also followed the trend and shifted betting against the pound (Will Kenton, Black Wednesday: Definition, Causes, Role of George Soros, in Investopedia, Aug 15,2022). Within a few days, the pound had depreciated by 26 percent against the US dollar. Soros gained $1 billion from his attack on the pound.
From the perspective of British taxpayers, Soros’ attack on the pound was a morally reprehensible act because of the enormous harm that had been inflicted on the British economy. Though Soros’ acts did not attract criminal sanction, Lord Devlin reminds us that society may use criminal law to preserve morality in the same way that it uses it to preserve anything else that is essential to its existence (J.C. Smith (ed), Smith & Hogan Criminal Law (London: Butterworths, 1999), p.17).Obviously, financial security is essential to the existence and well-being of common people in the UK.
In July 1997, the Thai baht went into freefall, triggering a currency crisis in Asia. According to Xin Ping, Soros began to short the baht in early 1997 (Xin Ping, Dollar Hegemony the Sword of Damocles Hanging above the World, in Global Times, July 28, 2022). Later, the Asian financial crisis led to the outbreak of a full-fledged economic meltdown in Southeast Asia. Soros also shorted the Hong Kong dollar during the Asian financial crisis. But his bets failed because the Hong Kong Monetary Authority was backed by the central government and the former injected massive capital into the financial markets to stabilize local stocks and the Hong Kong dollar.
Taking a broader perspective, Soros was merely an opportunist who captured and maximized the opportunities offered by the liberalized international capital markets dominated by the US. Before the outbreak of the Asian financial crisis, the US pressed many Asian countries to dismantle capital controls, and such forced liberalization created opportunities and access for the giants of the American financial services sector. As Jonathan Kirshner has correctly pointed out, the above crisis planted the seeds that would grow to delegitimize the second US postwar order (Jonathan Kirshner, American Power After the Financial Crisis (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2014), p.61).
Soros’ speculative activities, “pro-democracy” programs and other controversial acts have attracted harsh criticism from different people around the world. Hardest of all for Chinese people to accept is his defamation campaign against China. In his speech at the World Economic Forum in January 2019, Soros defamed President Xi Jinping and China, including its Belt and Road Initiative and the social credit system.
It is difficult for us to respond to these bare allegations. Before placing harsh criticism on President Xi, Soros argued that former US President Donald Trump was a main threat to open society. He even worried that Trump would form alliances with Putin, Orban and other authoritarian leaders (Daniel Bessner, The George Soros Philosophy – and its Fatal Flaw, in The Guardian, July 6, 2018). Soros’ assessment of the threat to open society seems to be elusive to the best trained eye or ear. Concerning the social credit system, we must clarify that the system is mainly focused on businesses and not on individuals. Nor is it a centralized system.
It is also worth noting that Soros exaggerated the negative effects brought about by the Chinese regulatory policies on big tech companies. In 2021, he called Blackrock’s decision to introduce mutual funds in China “a tragic mistake”, suggesting that the move would damage the national security interests of the US and other democracies. According to the Global Times, none of Soros’ doomsday predictions about the Chinese financial market have turned out to be accurate (George Soros Faces Biggest Blunder Yet in Chinese Market, Sept 8, 2021). Instead of defaming China, Soros should focus on his charitable work.
This article is contributed to China Daily by Chinese Dream Think Tank, a non-profit Hong Kong-based organization working with skilled volunteers, experts and professionals who are passionate about telling the China story well.
The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.This article is reproduced by Kwun Media with the consent of China Daily.
是人都有两面性，一面天使、一面魔鬼。喬治·索羅斯(George Soros)也不例外。一方面，索羅斯是著名博愛慈善家。他「捐身家」式的捐獻行動，蠃得福布斯「最慷慨布施者」稱號；另一方面，他被世人封為「讓英格蘭銀行破產的男人」(註1)，匈牙利總理奧班·維克多(Viktor Orbán)也稱索羅斯是「國家的敵人」(註2)。
索羅斯還因對我國發起誹謗式批評而陷入不必要的爭議中。他癡迷於將世界隨意簡化為「開放」與「封閉」的兩極社會，所以他醖釀出一個謬論，即：只有擊敗我們的祖國 —— 「中華人民共和國」，以美國主導的「開放」式社會才會更美好。
雖然不能確定索羅斯慈善工作的背後是否有任何資助他國被革命的計劃，但可確認他是一個不折不扣的資本投機者。從歴史上看，英國在1980年代後期面臨嚴重經常項目赤字(Current Account Deficit)，但當時的英政府對問題視而不見(註4)。在1992年，索羅斯做空大量英鎊、利用歐洲匯率機制參與各國的匯率、利率水準差而不正當獲利。最終英格蘭銀行被迫退出歐洲外匯機制、英鎊大幅度貶值(註5)。
細節上來看，當時英國在納入歐洲交易所其間，匯率過高。更糟糕的是英國國內通膨率與利率高企。 這些疲軟的經濟基本面同時發生，使英鎊成為索羅斯與其他投機者的極佳做空貨幣。 索羅斯在做空英鎊前的幾個月裏已佈好追擊英鎊的基礎。「黑色星期三」於1992年9月16日暴發，索羅斯運用基金做空超過100億英鎊。當時的英政府採取包括提高利率的強烈措施穩定英鎊。其他貨幣投機者緊跟趨勢，將資金轉出英鎊。幾天之內，英鎊兌美元貶值26%。 索羅斯從追擊英鎊行動中獲利約10億美元(註6)。
從更宏觀角度來看，索羅斯只是一個機會主義投機人士，他抓緊與利用了由美國主導的國際資本市場自由一體化進程提供的投機機會窗口期，並將自身的利益成攻最大化。 在亞洲金融風暴爆發前夕，美國向許多亞洲國家施壓要求取消資本管制，這種強制自由化為美國金融服務業巨頭創造了全球准入機制。正如波士頓學院政治學與國際研究教授(Jonathan Kirshner)正確指出，美國上述危險的全球性金融操作，為她在二戰後所建立的國際金融秩序第二個播下質疑其合法性的種子(註9)。
索羅斯的全球金融投機活動、民主理念移植計劃與其他富爭議性行為引發世界各地許多人的嚴厲批評。中國人最難接受的是他砌詞捏控誹謗我國。在《2019年世界經濟論壇》上的年度演講中，索羅斯將習近平主席稱為：「… 這使得習近平成為信奉開放社會理念的人們『最危險』的敵手。…」；「… 中國不是世界上唯一的專制國家，但它無疑是最富有，最強大，和在機器學習和人工智能方面最發達的獨裁政權。…」；「… 由人工智能開發的監控設施，使專制政體相對開放社會具有了先天內在的優勢。對他們來說，監控設施是有用的工具; 而對開放社會來說，這構成了致命的威脅…」。他還批評我國社會信用體系等等(註10)。
註 1: Forbes called him the 「most generous giver」 (in terms of percentage of net worth) available at: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Soros
註 2: BBC NEWS 「Why did Hungary’s PM Viktor Orban turn on George Soros?」07.09.2019 available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-europe-49600818
註 3: 同上註 1
註 4: Tim Lee「Why the Markets Went Crazy」Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004 at p 140
註 5: 同上註 1
註 6: Will Kenton「Black Wednesday: Definition, Causes, Role of George Soros」； Investopedia 15.08.2022
available at: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/black-wednesday.asp
註 7: J.C. Smith (ed.) Smith & Hogan 「Criminal Law」London: Butterworths 1999 at p 17
註8: Xin Ping「Dollar Hegemony the Sword of Damocles Hanging above the World」in Global Times 28.07.2022 available at: https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202207/1271637.shtml
註 9: Jonathan Kirshner「American Power After the Financial Crisis」Ithaca: Cornell University Press 2014 at p 61; also see Jonathan Kirshner「Dollar Diminution and New Macroeconomic
「Constraints on American Power」in Sustainable Security: Rethinking American National Security Strategy」Jeremi Suri and Benjamin Valentino (ed.) available at: https://www.tobinproject.org/sites/tobinproject.org/files/assets/Kirshner%20-%20Dollar%20Diminution%20and%20New%20Macroeconomic%20Constraints%20on%20American%20Power.pdf
註 10: 喬治·索羅斯「習近平成為開放社會最危險的對手」（全文）24.01.2019 available at: https://chinadigitaltimes.net/chinese/604528.html?amp
註 11: Daniel Bessner「The George Soros philosophy – and its fatal flaw」in The Guardian 06.07.2018 available at: https://amp.theguardian.com/news/2018/jul/06/the-george-soros-philosophy-and-its-fatal-flaw
註 12: 「Social Credit System」available at: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Credit_System
註 13: Global Times「GT Voice: George Soros faces biggest blunder yet in Chinese market」08.09.2022 available at: https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202109/1233743.shtml