George Soros is a hedge fund billionaire who became famous for making a billion dollars by shorting the pound in 1992. Mr. Soros has been in semi-retirement but he is still very influential as his predictions have impacts on the market. He is also active politically and he has a track record of supporting liberal candidates and issues such as criminal justice reform.
Soros was born and raised in Hungary to non-practicing Jews. His father Tividar Schwartz was a professional attorney. In 1936 Tividar changed the family name to Soros which means “will soar”. In 1944, when Soros was fourteen, Nazi Germany conquered and occupied Budapest. Tividar decided to split his family so as to maximize their chances of survival. He bribed government officials to conceal their Jewish heritage and he purchased forged papers that identified them as Christians.
In 1947 Tividar relocated the Soros family to England. George Soros attended the London School of Economics where he read the works of the philosopher Karl Popper. George Soros would later identify Popper as his spiritual mentor. Popper’s theory of an open society would come to play a principal role in Soros activities for the rest of his life. Open society is a moral code that espouses the principles of enhancing welfare for all of mankind. Popper rejected the assertion that certain truths are indisputable and that certain rights such as the right to life are unalienable. These beliefs are evidenced in Soros’ disdain of American politicians who have an unshaken belief in their culture’s nobility. Read more on NYTimes.com.
After graduating from the London School of Economics in 1952, Soros joined Singer and Friedlander, a brokerage firm based in London. Within a short period of time Soros became an expert in international arbitrage. In 1956 Soros relocated to New York and he became a stock trader. In 1961 Soros became a US citizen. In 1969 George Soros established his hedge fund the Double Eagle Fund with $4 million capital. The fund was renamed to The Quantum Fund in 1979. The value of the fund grew from $381 million in 1980 to $1 billion in 1985.
After the success of his hedge fund Soros ventured into philanthropy. He started by creating various Open Society Foundations. These organizations advance the concept of open societies as championed by Karl Popper. His network of Open Society Foundations has advanced and it is currently available in over 70 countries.
In the 2016 US Presidential election George Soros backed Hillary Clinton. He donated $25 million to her campaign and that of other Democratic candidates. After Trump’s unexpected victory Soros has become more active politically. He views Trump as a threat to the ideals of an open society. In a meeting of Democrat donors known as the Democratic Alliance Mr. Soros committed himself to opposing Trump policies that are contrary to his ideals.
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