Tuesday, February 24, 2009

George Soros' Depression

George Soros has weighed in on the severity of the present downturn:
Renowned investor George Soros said on Friday the world financial system has effectively disintegrated, adding that there is yet no prospect of a near-term resolution to the crisis.

Soros said the turbulence is actually more severe than during the Great Depression, comparing the current situation to the demise of the Soviet Union.

If one has any understanding of what has led us to these dire straits, this statement smacks of considerable irony. For those who aren't all that familiar with George Soros, he is a very, very wealthy man who makes his money speculating in forex markets. Probably his greatest trading feat occurred when in a single day, he made $1 billion (yes, with a "b." That is not a typo or an exaggeration.) by shorting the British pound. Which is to say, he borrowed pounds to buy other currencies, and when the pound fell like a stone, he easily payed back his debt with only a fraction of the money he received in the initial trade. He is much more widely known, however, for his political activities. Probably his largest initiative is the Open Society Institute, an international NGO that pushes for democratic reforms and open, accountable government. Which all sounds very nice to most decent and well meaning people. The problem with the whole "open society" movement, which is the brainchild of philosopher Karl Popper (who, irony of ironies, happens to be from Austria), is its embrace of "piecemeal social engineering." Not utopianism, mind you, which is abrupt and disruptive and therefore typically unsuccessful, but incrementalism, which will apparently be successful. Gradually, I suppose. Apparently, this is an important distinction. In any event, the movement embraces "political experimentation," "scientifically" changing one variable at a time as a society democratically determines its future shape and form. The Open Society Institute claims to support rule-of-law, but it ought to be clear to anyone who understands rule-of-law that the so-called open society and social engineering in general are decidedly anti rule-of-law. Remember, way back when, law was spelled Law. It meant something, because it was from God. It was part and parcel with Truth, Right, and Wrong. It didn't change. It was a collection of timeless, imutable, irrefutable codes based on more than the momentary whims of the vulgar mob. One doesn't engineer The Law. Period. A society which has been engineered is not open. It is engineered. "Democratically" doesn't change a thing. Popper's "open society" is a contradiction. The Open Society and Its Enemies was written in 1945. For students of the Great Depression, these ideas ought to sound familiar:
Do not confuse objectives with methods. When the Nation becomes substantially united in favor of planning the broad objectives of civilization, then true leadership must unite thought behind definite methods.

The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it: If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something. The millions who are in want will not stand by silently forever while the things to satisfy their needs are within easy reach.

-Franklin Roosevelt

(emphasis mine)

Planned societies. Planned by whom? Men. Experimentation in law and government, to acheive specified objectives. Haven't we been here before? Those who understand central banking and the Federal Reserve System, which should hopefully include any loyal readers at this point, will immediately understand that it was precisely this sort of planning and experimentation that led to this mess in the first place! The economy didn't just somehow derail; it was driven here by the social engineers and planners themselves! And George Soros, chief financier of the Open Society Institute, laments the demise of our system, a system of which he ought to approve, produced as it was a piece at a time, as we democratically chipped away at the Republic we were given to produce what we really wanted, a planned society. Planned by men like Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan, George Bush, and Barack Obama. We were goaded into the bliss of monetary expansion by the Federal Reserve, given to us by that friend and protector of all democrats, Woodrow Wilson. When the party was over, we turned to Franklin Roosevelt, who gave us Social Security and a New Deal, and who defeated the Nazi's and Imperial Japanese to make the world safe for democracy once again. Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson helped us fend off those awful Communists, who had the audacity to proclaim the superiority of a centrally planned system, under which their people suffered because, we were told, unlike in our centrally planned system, they didn't have democracy. Until just recently, we had George Bush, who did his best to bring democracy to the Middle East, which somehow protected our freedom here at home. We will soon have our savings destroyed by our Federal Reserve and be bankrupted by our Social Security debts. We will have been destroyed by our democracy, and enslaved by our centrally planned, socially-engineered Open Society. In my estimation, George Soros is correct, "the world financial system has effectively disintegrated." I hope he is happy.

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