George Soros Dedicates His Wealth To Increasing Open Societies

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According to the New York Times, hedge fund manager George Soros has donated $18 billion to his own nonprofit organizations, Open Society Foundations. This is an incredible transfer of wealth by one person to one organization. It reflects Soros’ dramatic success at using financial markets to build wealth for himself and his investors. (He’s most famous for winning a huge trade against the Bank of England. Although the bank actively supported the value of the pound, Soros continued to short it. Eventually the Bank of England, not Soros, blinked.) It also reflects his deep, abiding belief in the value of open societies as he learned about them from the philosopher Karl Popper while still a student at the London School of Economics. And it clearly demonstrates his personal commitment to doing everything in his power to help the world progress toward his ideal of the open society.

In a 1997 article, Soros expressed the belief that applying the principle of letting markets decide into general society (outside of business) was a danger to democracy. The man who made billions from the financial markets (and who certainly didn’t stop trading) argued that capitalism had become a greater threat to democracy than the communism he had helped to overthrow.

The Open Foundation Societies has branches in countries around the world and is actively involved in many different issues. The range of general subjects listed on its website is too varied for easy generalization. There’s the Documentary Photograph Project. The Arab Regional Office in Amman, Jordan is working to bring George Soros’ ideals to a region of the world not known for its dedication to women’s rights or for the accountability its governments display to their citizens. Yet they are giving grants to improve governmental transparency, recognition of human rights and the rule of law. For example, that page on the website displays a link to an article on how Tunisia has neglected its small farmers and that’s leading to a crisis in their food supply.

Soros and his OSF in Hungary face great opposition from the government. It recently drafted a package of three laws labeled the “Stop Soros” package, according to the Budapest Business Journal. The three laws all address illegal immigration. Soros and the OSF support the right of Syrian refugees to settle in the countries of Europe, including Hungary. They basically impose controls on organizations that advocate for the rights of immigrants and refugees. In response, the OSF said the laws were not about them or George Soros, but an effort by the government to impose control over independent civil society in Hungary. They cited OSF’s 30-year history of funding nongovernmental organizations in Hungary that helped improve the lives of Hungarians. The laws would damage Hungary’s democracy and the right to free speech by its residents. The European Center for Not-for-Profit Law said the laws would impose a difficult burden on organizations, especially those accepted money from donors outside the country, which the OSF in Hungary obviously does.

To Read More : www.nytimes.com/topic/person/george-soros

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