George Soros, the hedge fund billionaire and leading philanthropist, has spoken about the challenges of open societies in the current world scenario. He explains that the uncontrolled advancement of laissez-faire capitalism along with the spread of market values across all areas of human life is foiling the democratic values and open society. Soros further said that the capitalist threat is the biggest enemy of the open society in today’s world, as communism has waned. When he was setting up the open society foundations in 1979, after making success in the financial market, the communism found to be the biggest enemy of the open society as it propagated the authority of the state over individual rights.
After the fall of communism in various Eastern European countries and the Soviet Union, the focus has shifted to western countries. However, Soros notes in The Atlantic that open society became a universal concept after the fall of communism. Interestingly, the open society foundations in the west did not register the importance of it and could not promote it significantly. After the fall of Berlin Wall, Soros personally spent 5-6 years to re-examine his thoughts on open society and started thinking about western society. He understood the need of reformulating the entire concept once it was referred to protect from communist menace. Soros rewrote the old concept of “power of the state over the individual freedom” to both “excessive power of state” and “excessive individualism” as the threat to open society concept.
He explained that too much competition with extremely less cooperation would create instability and intolerable inequalities. Soros thinks that the current society that is driven by the market place and laissez-faire capitalism doctrine is found to be imperfect if it cannot work on a common goal, not qualified for an open society and may break down. He, however, states that laissez-faire capitalism cannot be categorized with communism or Nazism as it inadvertently does the damage. Soros notes that while people enjoy a truly global market-based economy, they fail to notice the importance of keeping the values and other institutions for the creation of an open society.
George Soros is considered to be one of the biggest philanthropists in the earth with contributions over $13 billion in the last three decades. He supports various organizations working on accountable government, freedom of expression, societies that are promoting justice and equality, and transparency. Interestingly, Soros gave his support to various struggling communities including Europe’s Roma people, LGBTI people, sex workers, and more to bring back them to the main stream. Soros was born in Hungary in 1930, survived the Nazi invasion, and migrated to London after the Second World War. He completed his graduation from London School of Economics and emigrated to the U.S. in 1956. In 1970, Soros founded his hedge fund named Soros Fund Management and became the most successful hedge fund manager of the country.