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Soros shorts UK

Robert Peston | 06:32 UK time, Tuesday, 20 May 2008

George Soros's dad had no interest in making money. His priority was the enjoyment of life, after having been a prisoner of war in Siberia during World War I - or so Soros fils says in his romp of a new book about the credit crunch (which has the unprepossessing title The New Paradigm for Financial Markets).

When I interviewed the hedge fund pioneer last night, I asked him how and why he acquired his voracious appetite for making money.

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"Money counts" he said. It gets you what you want. And if he hadn't made his many billions, he doubted he would have been sitting there being interrogated by me.

Well there's no accounting for taste.

More substantively, Soros has been one of the great philanthropists and political activists of our time - whose voice, thanks to his financial clout, has resonated from the New Europe to not-so-new Washington.

There's also a shambolism about his success and aspirations which is highly engaging.

He doesn't for example deny that his most successful investments have been spawned as much by his backaches - brought on by worry about whether his funds were being astutely invested - as by the application of reason.

The book is a totally compelling, well-ordered stream of consciousness, which - by turns - attempts to demolish neo-classical economics, gives a diary of his recent trading performance, and expounds his own philosophy of social science.

His main argument is that the neoclassical postulate that markets tend to equilibrium is nonsense. He founds this view on what he calls the theory of reflexivity, which broadly says that use of scientific methodology in economics is wholly inappropriate, because economic agents cannot avoid influencing the outcomes they forecast.

Academic economists may sneer. But he has become considerably richer than all of them put together by investing according to his own conviction that markets tend to disequilibrium.

I've written before about how he sees the credit crunch as the end of a 25-year superboom poisonously coupled with the collapse of the US housing bubble.

So I will concentrate here on his current prognostications.

There is of course a problem of his own making in giving weight to these predictions, because he can't dignify them as scientifically accurate forecasts for all the reasons given above.

That said his track record as a money maker means they shouldn't be dismissed out of hand (though some will be uneasy that he talks his own trading positions). In 2007, when he took active control of his funds for the first time in years and put his money where his mouth is, he made a return of more 30% (which is no slouch for someone who says that at the age of 77 he doesn't really know how to use the full gamut of modern financial products and techniques).

Here are a smattering of his views:

1) The US is in for a longer and deeper recession than most professional forecasters expect - and that will ultimately lead to a further weakening in the dollar.

2) Prospects for the UK are poor, because of the fragility of our housing market, our personal indebtedness and our dependence on a financial services sector that is heading for bad times. He fears we could be in a worse mess than the US.

3) The longer-term outlook for China is very uncertain. And he would not be surprised if the developing bubble in Chinese markets ended in a financial crisis, though he thinks such a crisis won't happen for a few years yet (if at all).

So the years of onwards and upwards may be behind us. Which may be a shame for those of us yet to make our first billion (unless we're planning to short more-or-less everything outside of Asia and the Middle East).


  • Comment number 1.

    "Prospects for the UK are poor"... "fragility of our housing market, our personal indebtedness and our dependence on a financial services sector" - about right I think.

    But what we need to ask is for how long and how deep. If we do not ask these questions we risk a very long term decline. In particular we need to know what steps should we take to mitigate our situation (short of blaming all and sundry which is a waste of time.)

    Living beyond our means was always going to be a problem however we must strive to protect the parts of our nation which we really value, such as (in my view) the NHS.

    I also argue that we would do better to be within the Euro zone than outside. The USA is never going to protect us from financial turbulence as they are unable to protect themselves, whereas a large 'home market' of 500million with a single currency provide us with a degree of protection from currency instability.

    The time may have passed and the rest may no longer allow us to join, why should they? I recall our many attempts to join the EEC when quite often we were rejected and my biggest fear is that our best friends in the World may take a similar attitude now.

  • Comment number 2.

    It is difficult to fault Soros in his perception of the positions of the UK and the USA. Short of a new massive finds of 'cheap' natural resources, primarily oil, preferably in the USA it will have to either pay up with consquence or seize others' oil.

    A Roundtable discussion with Soros, Greenspan, Volcker and perhaps King and Trichet might be illuminating, some difficult questions might be asked that media interviewers might shy away from.

    It is important to note that Soros is an investor rather than an unelected 'Central Banker' dealing with the elected representatives. The latters' interests are not as aligned with good economic management as they strive to continually tell us, though I'm not sure that explains Greenspan's policies from 1987 on.

    Soros didn't comment and probably wasn't asked about the UK Welfare State and whether this could survive as its cost and the shrinking ability of the UK economy to fund it are incompatible.

  • Comment number 3.

    Soros's comment that we are over dependent on the financial services sector is of course something that anyone with an iota of understanding of economics and industrial strategy realised a long time ago.

    What is worrying though is that as yet Govt doesn't seem prepared to do anything about it.

  • Comment number 4.

    When someone tells you that economic situation is going to be worse for longer or better sooner, you should always ask from what point of view they're coming from.

    Chairman Brown, for example wants us to believe that everything will be just dandy in a few months time. He is terrified of a house price crash and loosing that feel good factor.

    House prices are gonna fall 20-30% over the next two years so the Chairman's goose is cooked.

    Mr Soros of course has bet on a longer deeper recession. Rising commodity prices, asset depreciation and a Dow where the earning ratio of the top 30 shares is over 75% (ie the top 30 shares would have to pay you every dime those companies earned for 75 years before you would break even on the share purchase) read 'Huston we have a problem!' So Big George is probably right.

    Oh dear.

  • Comment number 5.

    I do not pretend to know the future of the global economy. But as the article is entitled "SOROS SHORTS" maybe we shouldn't surprised he is predicting (wishing) a worse credit crunch - if had a millions riding on a downturn i'd be predicting it too and if i new people would listen to me when i predicted it - well all the better for it!

    Mr Soros had indeed be right on more than on occassion but how much of that is luck rather than skill?

  • Comment number 6.

    I am always amazed at the lack of Professionalism shown by the investment community, Amateurs included.

    These people are supposed to be experts but the amount of herd mentality thinking and trading going on in the Markets is astonishing.

    Surely would be investors should be reading the accounts, studying reports etc, not relying on soundbites from Newspaper's and websites to inform their decisions!

    What is going on here ?

  • Comment number 7.

    I'm afraid that John from Hendon's (post 1) idea that we should be in the euro zone would only make matters worse.

    The euro would not protect us from our housing market, dependence on the financial services sector or personal indebtedness. However, we would also be subject to lower interest rates (which would stoke up house prices and the demand for debt) and not have the flexibility for our exchange rate to fall to an attractive level for our exporters or companies wishing to invest in the UK.

  • Comment number 8.

    Aside from the issue that Soros is being held up as some sort of seer based on the fairly obvious conclusion that "what goes up must come down" (since that is what has happened during every single previous economic cycle ever recorded), I'm curious as to why billionaires seem intent on philanthropy. Does he have a sense of guilt over having made huge mountains of cash out of the misery of others for many years (not merely from betting on the recent credit crunch)? You don't become obscenely rich by paying decent wages and ensuring good working conditions in third world countries, do you? Perhaps the economy wouldn't be quite so vulnerable to crazy situations like the one we find ourselves in now if there were a few less budding "philanthropists" in the world.

  • Comment number 9.

    Quite simply, rising food, fuel and mortgages are the real threat to the UK economy - and these manifest themselves in falling house prices etc. Leave interest rates as they are and we're cooked. Personally, I don't believe that reducing interest rates, in itself, is sufficient and as the MPC seems reluctant to do even this - brace yourself for one long and deep recession.

  • Comment number 10.

    To #7

    Don't be 'afriad' of the Euro Simon2224. Think of the size of the market that would be our home market if we were ever to be inside.

    If you think that competitive devaluation of the worker's pay will allow us to carry on with transferring money from the poor to the rich as we have in the last decades than ask yourself what sort of country will we have in the end.

    No health service unless you pay for it - get knocked over in the street and unless you have a credit card with sufficient funds they leave you. Do you really want to live in such a country?

    We will have short term pain that is the result of the absurd increase in money supply of the last decade inflating asset values o matter if we are in or out of the Euro.

    Far better to have a large home market without currency fluctuations so that what we earn is not dependent on the George Soros's of this world speculating the the currency. It is making China so strong and it did make the US so strong in the past. Do you really want to on off shore tax haven and nothing else?

  • Comment number 11.

    Given the "Micawber Principle",

    "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."

    how much misery are we due..

  • Comment number 12.

    The problem with the Thatcherite and New Labour approach to the economy is that we have sold-off the family inheritance to squander the proceeds like the Prodigal Son.

    We have sold-out our productive industries, i.e. agriculture and manufacturing, to buy cheap goods elsewhere, but this has led to an increased supply of money that has to be spent somewhere else, i.e. unrealistic house prices. (The law of supply and demand.)

    How can we maintain a healthy balance of trade, if we have nothing to trade in? How can we produce goods, if the children of farmers and engineers decide it is more profitable to be a doctor, lawyer or accountant instead?

    Britain became great partly through trade, but what are we going to trade?

    As for being part of the EU, our membership has stopped us from stopping the overwhhelming impact on our housing from Eastern Europeans, which has cost us far more than their low wages. Oh that it was only a free-trade zone!

  • Comment number 13.

    What is the point of this? and why are we being presented with the ramblings of this old man as thoug it s economic gospel? Probably because he is saying exactly what Robert Peston wants us to hear. After a relatively quiet few weeks Peston is back doing what he does best. Trying to wreck the British Economy and instill panic in the minds of the populus with his biased, one sided, economic half truths and lies.

  • Comment number 14.

    Why do they call it World Business News if all it focuses on are the big heavy markets? Are South America and Africa ever going to be given there rightful place? At least a tickker tape with the figures for ALL the important global markets, not just the big boys.

  • Comment number 15.

    RE: 13

    Sigh. In case you haven't heard, Soros is a billionaire, having made much (all?) of that money investing. He clearly has better than average insight into the way financial markets work. He has been proven right more than once in the past when large sums of his own money were at stake. (Compare, for example, Gordon Brown, who backs his own judgement with very large sums of other people's money - and is then proven wrong.) What Soros has to say is worth listening to because he might be right again, as he has been so often in the past. You may not approve of the fact that he is a billionaire, or how he came to be one, but the value of his judgement is manifest - even to you.

    And as for

    "Peston is back doing what he does best. Trying to wreck the British Economy and instill panic in the minds of the populus with his biased, one sided, economic half truths and lies."

    Go on then, quote one lie. Just one. Any one at all. Given that this is "what Peston does best" there must be plenty to choose from in this blog. I'm sure you'll understand if I don't hold my breath.

    Just because you find the facts unpalatable does not make them "lies" or "biased".

  • Comment number 16.

    I bet he knows Prudence too?

  • Comment number 17.

    grayhammyhamster 13 is a little harsh I fear. Personally I find Robert's analyses interesting and amusingly informative. I'm also interested in what George Soros has to say and he's been around long enough to have some perspective. I agree with his thoughts on our prospects and fear he's right in his pessimism.

    We all need to start to face up to reality and stop believing in the fantasy which is New Labour, started by Tony Blair and which Gordon Brown joined in with. He (GB)seems to live under the misapprehension that the good times were due to him alone when the reality was that the world economy was doing well and until the debt in this country caught up with everyone. We all need to start living within our means, simple as that and that includes governments. In a way it was wicked to encourage people to take on more debt than they can realistically cope with and the government was guilty of that as much as the financial services industry eg student debt is going to cripple many.

    I don't think joining the euro will help at all. We will completely lose all control of our own finances. We could all probably do with a good dose of monetarism and reduction of the tax and spend labour policies. Start cutting out the huge waste on meaningless government jobs and simplify the taxation and benefits system. Spread out the remaining "real" jobs a bit more so that everyone works less eg 4 days per week rather than hugely increasing unemployment.

    Start to unravel some of the ridiculous overcomplication we've got ourselves into. For instance what's wrong with people looking after their own children instead of paying someone else to do it for them for at least some of the time?

  • Comment number 18.


    "Start cutting out the huge waste on meaningless government jobs and simplify the taxation and benefits system".

    Thank you - it's nice when someone places a comment that reflects your own point of view. As a government employee that is about to be disestablished, so that the civil service can create a new section that does exactly what we do now, I can ensure you that you have good insight!

    "What's wrong with people looking after their own children..."

    Heaven no! We might promote family values, how could we cope, we're not qualified to look after our own children after all.

  • Comment number 19.

    You've basically got 2 choices. You either beleive what Brown/Darling say, or you beleive what Soros says.

    Somehow, for some inexplicably bizarre reason that I can't quite put my finger on, I have difficulty accepting anything Brown/Darling say.

    So it's Soros then.

    Oh dear.

  • Comment number 20.

    Another worthy attendee of Darrum's proposed roundtable discussion (2) would be Warren Buffet. He also has made many billions of dollars by ignoring conventional investment 'wisdom' and betting on his own judgement of long-term value, however unfashionable this was.

    Soros is exactly right to deny the economic theorist's belief in convergence to equilibrium. There are too many obvious examples where this does not happen.

    The reason for this is clear: The economy is a highly complex machine which comprises millions of parts (people, companies, governments, and economists themselves) all of whom have subtly or widely different motivations. The result is a multiple feedback system with both negative and positive feedback (similar to the Earth's environment, in fact).
    Such systems exhibit near-static behaviour under the temporarily dominating effect of negative feedback, punctuated by sudden bursts of positive feedback in which they switch rapidly into a different state.
    All sufficiently complex feedback machines behave this way, and the economy is no differerent.
    What the classical economists seem reluctant to admit is that their own beliefs - and those of everyone else - are important economic factors. However good an economic model is in the laboratory, as soon as it is used to make decisions it becomes a new part of the system being modelled, and therefore becomes inaccurate.
    No economic model can work for control purposes unless it includes the effects of its own existance, but no economic model can ever know how much its predictions will be believed. Which is why intelligence and experience are needed to interpret events . . .

  • Comment number 21.

    I don't think anyone can argue that markets tend to disequilibrium. Greed and the herd instinct would be difficult to eradicate. However the end of the 25 year super boom? Tell that to the millions of BRIC citizens who want their share of the "good life". Is this a 77 year old running out of puff talking? I noted the skip count in my street is increasing - my cousin just sold her house for cash after been on the market for 3 days - the stock market hasn't crashed - employment seems fine etc etc. It depends on which end of the telescope you look through.

  • Comment number 22.

    I have heard bitter Thatcher haters rejoice that George Soros, the 'philanthropist', made billions on Black Wednesday.

    Looks like he's going to be making billions in Black 2008, black 2009 and beyond I'm not sure they'll feel quite so warmly about the man who looks to be bringing down a second government with his pronouncements.

    I wonder what his angle is? Is he going to buy up the world's supply of paper so that Gordon Brown will have to pay him in gold so he can print more money?

    Is he just going to short the pants off the entire UK economy? The FTSE certainly seems to think so today.

    The sad thing is he's not saying anything that sensible folk haven't been saying for the last 8 or 9 years. I.e, 'Excuse me but where is all this money coming from?'

    We know where it's coming from. It's coming from Gordon Brown's reckless borrowing and squandering. Why do you think there is no serious drive to get any value for money from all this squandering? Why are a whole host of building companies only belatedly coming under scrutiny for collusion in public service tenders?

    Look at me says Gordon, I 'invested' a billion pounds building a new hospital. What is a new hospital except a big shed with some machines that go 'ping' and a bunch of people in uniform.

    I bet Tesco doesn't spend a billion quid when it throws up a big shed with machines that go 'ping' on the outskirts of town. They don't charge you for parking either. Naaaah, Gordon Brown was not worried about value for money. The whole purpose of the exercise is/was to get the money out there. Pump-prime the economy. Who cares if I overpay? It's only borrowed money and I grab 50% of it back in tax one way and another.

    Plus nobody dare question you if you declare you've doubled 'investment' in the NHS. Or increased nurses pay by 30% in two years. Or doctors pay by 30% overnight. Gee, I wonder what they'll do with all that money? Well, I guess a million NHS staff, with 30% extra disposable income will go out and bid up the price of housing by 30% x 3.5 times their salary for everybody else. I.e double it. So we'll all have to spend double for the same house.

    And if they've already got a house the harder-thinking thinking of the electorate won't/didn't take much persuading to 'release the equity' and go and buy a new flat-screen TV, Volvo XC90, foreign holiday and massage the GDP figures even more.

    Thanks Mr Soros for pointing it out but as ever I have to ask where the British media were when we might have been able to rein in this lunacy before it got to this stage. I mean it was obvious what was going on all along. Why weren't the papers and Evan Davies shouting it from the rafters?

    In fact, now that the parties officially over, as evidenced by Ms Flint, I think you could be reminding folk a lot more pointedly who was the cause of all this.

  • Comment number 23.

    Hello Robert and all your doom monger mates at the BBC. In ealry April you crowed fom the roof tops that First direct had withdrawn mortgage products. You couldnt get enough of it! Well today they have reinstated them, but I see no sign of comment anywhere on the BBC website. WHY?! Pesumbly this development does not fit your agenda of talking down the British economy. I really am sick and tired of the lying, twisted media, lead by the BBC who seem hell bent on ruining the country and the lives of those who live in it.

  • Comment number 24.

    For me your article on George Soros depicts him as a cunning ruthless person whose single minded goal or objective in life is to try and turn any given situation, in the financial markets, towards increasing his personal wealth. Regardless of the effects this might have on peoples lives and the businesses involved. In many respects he is a sad old man and that possibly explains why he wishes to be seen as a great philanthropist.

    None the less he does deserves some praise and credit for surviving so long in the "Piranha tank" that we call the investment markets. Also for becoming one of it's largest and most important fishes. I also happen to agree with him when he says that scientific methodology in economics is not wholly appropriate to the financial markets because that implies there is a certain ammount of predictability in the way these markets operate. The recent turmoil in the finacial markets clearly demonstrates there is no substitute for genuine commercial and business awareness. It seems that too many of the business school graduates who are running the large investment banks and other large businesses lack this awareness. The same thing can also be said of many of the people running the country or aspiring to run the country, be they Labour or Conservative.

  • Comment number 25.

    Hello greyhammyhamster and all your mates at Labour HQ. Incidentally where is that now that the Labour party are insolvent?

    You chaps need to lay off the soma and have a real think about how this 'miracle economy' was financed. Lets, for the avoidance of argument , set aside any alleged improvements in education or the NHS. Lets look at how all this 'improvement' was financed. By borrowing. And that borrowing flushed through the wider economy encouraging further borrowing. And all that borrowing begat a monstrous bubble in house prices and a monstrous spending binge on the back of the feel-good factor engendered by our massively appreciating asset.

    Which is where we're at. The fact that First Direct are prepared to lend money again is not exactly cause for elation unless you think we need even higher house prices and even more borrowing.

    I too am sick of the media that seems determined to lie and ruin this country and the lives of the people in it. Where were they instead of exposing this economic disaster when it was in its infancy in 2002?

    Do they have nobody in these papers who was alive in the 1970's? Nobody who could draw a parallel between the reckless borrow and squander policies of the 1970's? Nobody who could draw a parallel with the insane housing bubble of the late 1980's?

    Now suddenly they've all remembered what followed the reckless borrowing of the 1970's and the insane housing bubble of the 1980's. Too bad Gordon Brown the financial genius and history graduate didn't remember too. He's got a very high IQ apparently. Well I demand a recount.

    Perhaps he remembers what happened to the PM of 1997. Still plenty of time to remind him though.

    Don't let the country down Crewe.

  • Comment number 26.

    What do you think his motivation is in sharing his insights with you?

  • Comment number 27.

    Post 25. I think the problem is that anyone who tried to say that what happened over the last few years was unsustainable and we shouldn't be doing it was told that it was "different this time because .......".

    Those of you who complain about the negativity from Robert have to remember that the majority of people who are borrowing and spending have no real idea who he is (or George Soros for that matter). Their opinions are formed by Kirsty Allsopp and her kind on TV. They, together with the estate agents and the "Financial Advisers", have persuaded people to spend spend spend.

    I have said before that there are some people out there who need protecting from themselves, anyone who stretched themselves at a time when interest rates were at a long term low was asking for trouble. Those who sold them the financial products are equally as guilty. There are some unfortunates who will get into trouble after losing a job etc but there are a lot who will lose out after taking terrible decisions either out of ignorance or greed.

    The sad part of it is that the prudent and the poor will also lose out when things go wrong.

  • Comment number 28.

    Soros shorts the economy - the only motivation in this can be to make money, that is what Soros is very good at - it brought down the tories and will do labour.

    I was always led to believe that a good investor would "sell the fact and buy the rumour". Given that Soros is a good investor, what rumour is he building and where does his money currently sit?

    It is clear that in the last six months low US interest rates have caused an exodus of money from equity into the commodities market (try a CNN search), now we have a concerted effort from Trichet to talk down the prospect of ECB rate cuts (remember the same from the Deutsch bank on Black Wednesday), as well as a push from Buffett and Soros to talk down the equity markets still further hmmm.........where does that put his money - we will no doubt find out when he makes another few $bn in a couple of months time.

  • Comment number 29.

    #23 GreyHamster - mortgage approvals in general are the lowest since the mid 70s, who cares what First Direct are doing? This is not happening because the media are talking down the economy, if anything it's because they were the main cheerleaders of the enormous property bubble in the first place. A bubble that everyone knew had to come to an end - only not you perhaps.

  • Comment number 30.

    Not sure that there s a lot there which is not obvious, Economics is not an exact science - it just tries to get some mathematical models which help us to understand better what is going on.

    Markets tend to over react - to let the Georges of this worldmake money.

    George isn't interested in markets which are more balanced as you can't make money out of them by speculation.

    The UK has the the 5th largest Industrial output in the world and the 5th largest manuacturing output. We enjoy a healthy society with low spending on health (8.1%of GDP v 15.4% for the US). Not all the news is bad, sorry not all the information is bad.

    Strange that nobody has mentiond this.

  • Comment number 31.

    #23 greyhammyhamster, First Direct have indeed restarted offering mortgages, but the rates have gone up considerably - approximately 0.5% for fixed rates.
    I suggest that if the truth worries you so much you would prefer to avoid it you read government briefing notes rather than the BBC!

  • Comment number 32.

    Post 30 what are your sources? last time I saw any relevant league tables the UK was slipping into even Europe's lower half for competitiveness and quality of life etc i.e things that actually matter, and since when did low spending on health become a good thing?

    But good to see the CML come crawling out and fall inline with most of the other modest house price deflation predictions of the vested interests.
    The Agents/Lenders/Brokers/Surveyors were all behind the curve on the way up now they playing catch up to save their credibility on the way down.
    Because he's his own man George Sorros has credibility in spades:Credibility - something corporate puppets like Fionnuala Earley are losing fast.

  • Comment number 33.

    How much of this crisis is politics ?

    How many people has Mr Brown upset in the Finance community and are they responsible for making a bad situation worse?

    We ought to be told........

    PS: even the end of the world wouldn't make me vote tory after Thatcher!

  • Comment number 34.

    It's an interesting set of comments - from Mr Soros, and from all you guys commenting on that!

    It somehow seems pretty obvious that what the banks and Govt economists want to happen, is that economics behaves sensibly and stably and that house prices go up at a rate that makes houses a nice little investment. Nice idea. Completely wrong.

    Soros has basically pointed out what anyone with half a memory would know: House prices can't go up like that ad infinitum, as at bottom, someone has to be able to buy the cheapest one. If the cheapest two-bed terrace is only available at about six or eight times the salary of someone in their thirties, then clearly these houses are ludicrously priced and must come down. It happened just after 1990 (I bought a house in 1992, mortgage was three times my salary), and it's happening now. They will continue to fall until Mr / Ms Average-Income for a first-time buyer, can afford to buy without having to rely on crackpot economics.

    Common sense dictates, keep your mortage to three or at most four, times your salary. With mortgages tied to that, house prices can't go mad. You can only sell a house for what someone can afford to pay. Lenders offering large multiples of sometimes joint incomes, were simply stoking up trouble.

    Ergo: The economy could do fine, once the house prices are back to 'normal' at affordable levels. There is simply no point in having vast sums of paper money tied up in property where it does nothing. Get it out of that by having property at realistic values, and we can all think about spending money on other bits of the economy rather than ludicrous mortgages or rents. Might even create a few jobs.

  • Comment number 35.

    Well, I wouldn't totally disagree with Soros's little comments on the future.
    But then again, anyone with a few years behind them, a brain and who reads the news both financial and international, could easily make the same list - I could hear more inspiring viewpoints in th pub.

    But let's just point up the central issue : When tired and visionless BBC researchers (or bloggers) reach for their dog-eared contacts list, it seems that under "F" for Financial they only have Soros's phone number.
    Of course old George never minds dressing up his own betting position as "intelligent opinion".

    Soros is the scum that floats to the top in any badly monitored capitalist system.
    If you think he's a crusty, nice old gent - he isn't - he's a self-serving freeloader.

  • Comment number 36.

    Europa ( and the USA ) must get out of Oil and Gas only ,with Solar,Wind and Water Turbines,Hydrogen and Methanol Fuel-Cells,Geothermal, Fusion Ignition, ethanol and biofuels specially for aviation , new batteries and hybrid motors, new composite materials, new ideas, new choices,right now ! if the actual leaders dont do it,vote them all out...

    and when i hear the Miliband brothers, i don't believe one word they say, they want the UK to stay addicted to Oil and Saudi Arabia and their partner Israel, this old movie will get us nowhere, we need a break from the Middle East, a total break!

  • Comment number 37.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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