George Soros On The Burst Of The Dot-Com Bubble | 2002 | Summary and Q&A

September 8, 2021
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George Soros On The Burst Of The Dot-Com Bubble | 2002

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In this video, George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist, discusses his life, work, and thinking. He shares his experiences from hiding from Nazis as a teenager to making billions of dollars on Wall Street. Soros explains his desire to give his money away and how he aims to change society through his philanthropic efforts. He also discusses his views on globalization, the war on terrorism, and the Middle East conflict. Overall, Soros emphasizes the importance of addressing root causes and promoting open societies.

Questions & Answers

Q: How did George Soros's father influence him?

George Soros believes that his father had a significant influence on him. Despite his parents' conflicting views, Soros learned from both of them. This internal conflict shaped him and informed his thinking throughout his life.

Q: How did Soros's early experiences influence his risk-taking behavior?

Soros's experiences of hiding from Nazis and the Soviet invasion of his homeland at a young age taught him how to handle danger. It fascinated him, but he also recognized the importance of not pushing too far. Soros believes that his risk-taking behavior stems from his ability to assess and navigate danger effectively.

Q: Do childhood experiences of facing real risks contribute to daring behavior in politics?

Yes, Soros agrees that individuals who face real risks in their youth, like John McCain and veterans of the Vietnam War, may be more comfortable challenging conventions and taking on political machines. These experiences shape their perspectives and give them the courage to take risks later in life.

Q: How did Soros's early experiences inform his approach to investments?

Soros's early experiences with his father's currency transactions and gold dealings gave him an early understanding of finance. He learned when to take a stand and when not to, which influenced his investment strategies later on. Soros's father taught him valuable lessons about risk and taking stands, guiding his thoughts and actions throughout his career.

Q: Did Soros's philosophy major help him in his business success?

Despite not being able to explicitly communicate or explain his philosophy, Soros believes that his philosophical studies guided him in making money and deciding how to spend it. His philosophy provided the connecting link between his wealth creation and philanthropic efforts.

Q: How did Soros's views on uncertainty and reflexivity challenge prevailing theories in financial markets?

Soros recognized the limitations of the prevailing dogma of rational expectations and equilibrium in financial markets. He saw that uncertainty played a significant role in shaping markets, and his theory of reflexivity mirrored Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. Unlike natural sciences, social affairs are influenced by the theories we hold. This additional element of uncertainty affects social affairs and financial markets differently.

Q: Can overwhelming force effectively combat terrorism?

Soros argues that overwhelming force can actually play into the hands of terrorists. He believes that by applying excessive force, resentment and further acts of terrorism can be generated. Instead, Soros suggests a two-pronged approach that involves defending against terrorism while also addressing the root causes of grievances that terrorists exploit. Cooperation, information sharing, and addressing the underlying issues are essential in combating terrorism effectively.

Q: Is political change inevitable when a country opens up economically?

Soros disagrees that economic liberalization always leads to political freedom. Rulers are often reluctant to relinquish their power voluntarily. Pushing for change both internally and externally is necessary for political transformation. Soros found that movements often find an umbrella under religious institutions, like mosques or churches, to express dissent.

Q: What is Soros's view on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

Soros recognizes that there are legitimate grievances on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He points out the failure of Israel to address the Palestinian refugee settlements, and he criticizes the policies of the Sharon government. However, he acknowledges that extremism exists on both sides, and there is a self-reinforcing cycle of victimhood and resentment. Soros emphasizes the need for a two-state solution and the recognition of Israel's security.

Q: Can globalization be reversed, and what are its implications?

Soros believes that globalization is not irreversible, as it has occurred in the past and been reversed. He defines globalization as the globalization of financial markets, which has accelerated since the 1980s. While it has positive effects in wealth creation, it also lacks sufficient international arrangements for regulating and taxing capital. The dominance of financial markets has resulted in a lopsided development, neglecting important progress in areas such as labor rights. Strengthening institutions like the International Labor Organization is crucial to address these issues.

Q: What can be done to prevent exploitation of cheap labor in developing countries?

Soros acknowledges the challenges in preventing exploitation of cheap labor in developing countries. He highlights the need for strengthening international organizations like the International Labor Organization (ILO) to protect workers' rights and ensure fair labor practices. However, implementing legislation to restrict products made under exploitative conditions could undermine the principles of free trade and the World Trade Organization (WTO). A balanced approach that addresses both labor rights and the interests of global trade is necessary.


George Soros's life and work are shaped by his experiences, values, and philosophy. He emphasizes the need for open societies and addresses root causes in philanthropy and social change efforts. Soros believes that overwhelming force in combating terrorism can fuel resentment and further acts of terrorism. He criticizes the focus on power projection and dominance in the current global capitalist system and calls for a more balanced approach that promotes public goods and international cooperation. Soros also acknowledges the complexities of conflicts like the Israeli-Palestinian issue and advocates for a two-state solution based on recognition and security. In addressing globalization, Soros highlights the importance of fair labor practices and strengthening institutions like the ILO to protect workers' rights. Overall, Soros's insights encourage a holistic and nuanced approach to global challenges.

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