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Gnosticism Is A Hoot
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

General question for everyone in the thread (even Tzor) -

What is the deal with George Soros? Conservatives seem to hate him, but my US-Liberal acquaintances don't seem to care about him, and his Wiki page is vaguely positive. What's all the hubbub?

EDIT: To put it another way, his Wiki page lists some pretty impressive achievements, but nothing that I thought would scream OMG LIBERAL ANTICHRIST to the wingnut crowd. So why the screaming?
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Last edited by Gnosticism Is A Hoot on Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:06 pm; edited 1 time in total
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angelfromanotherpin
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-november-18-2010/the-manchurian-lunatic
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Gnosticism Is A Hoot wrote:
General question for everyone in the thread (even Tzor) -

What is the deal with George Soros? Conservatives seem to hate him, but my US-Liberal acquaintances don't seem to care about him, and his Wiki page is vaguely positive. What's all the hubbub?

EDIT: To put it another way, his Wiki page lists some pretty impressive achievements, but nothing that I thought would scream OMG LIBERAL ANTICHRIST to the wingnut crowd. So why the screaming?


The reality that conservative "thought" in the modern world is financed by like half a dozen creepy rich dudes is something that periodically causes right wing foot soldiers to have little bits of cognitive dissonance. However, since these guys are masters of projection, they assume that since they pretty much get their marching orders from people paid to write them by Rupert Murdoch or the Koch Brothers that liberals, progressives, and communists must be doing the same with different shadowy billionaires.

So they are constantly looking for evidence that George Soros (or maybe George Clooney) is the creepy mastermind behind Liberal thought in the same way that David Koch basically is the Cato Institute and Americans for Prosperity and the fucking Tea Party. The idea that other political viewpoints are different from them and actually don't slavishly follow talking points generated by shadowy billionaires seems totally foreign to them.

The reason that the right can't shut up about George Soros is not that he has amazing pull in leftist intellectual circles or that leftist commentators get piles of money to reword his latest diatribes or to denounce plans that might cost him money. It's that they are deep down certain that every other field of political thought is just as morally bankrupt as their own. Since their political movement could be destroyed root and branch by assassinating like six dudes, they assume every other political movement works that way too. The idea that OWS is actually leaderless simply does not register with them at all.

-Frank
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tzor
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Gnosticism Is A Hoot wrote:
What is the deal with George Soros? Conservatives seem to hate him, but my US-Liberal acquaintances don't seem to care about him, and his Wiki page is vaguely positive. What's all the hubbub?


I think the biggest "fear" among the conservatives (note that liberals generally don't even consider anything that isn't remotely a threat to thier agenda and who donates generously ... I suppose conservatives do that to some extent as well but they don't get Soros' money) is that the allegations are that he tends to short and distable. The most common example is the shorting of the pound that caused a small crisis in the UK for a while.

Here is a New American link that talks about general Soros parinoia.

Quote:
Known as “the man who broke the bank of England,” Soros prides himself on this billion-dollar endeavor. In The Shadow Party, Richard Poe relates:

He famously shorted the British pound in 1992, wagering $10 billion on a drop in its value. In a desperate bid to keep its currency afloat, the Bank of England tried to buy up pounds as fast as Soros could dump them. However, as more and more investors followed Soros’ lead and joined his efforts, the Bank of England eventually gave up.

The British pound was devalued, launching a tsunami of financial turmoil from Tokyo to Rome. When it was over, millions of hardworking Britons confronted their diminished savings, while Soros counted his gains. He had personally made nearly $2 billion on the catastrophe.

In 1997, the Malaysian Prime Minister accused Soros of doing the same to the Malaysian currency. In Thailand, Soros was labeled “an economic war criminal [who] sucks the blood from the people.”

According to Beck, Soros has been accused of causing financial collapses in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, and Russia.


Quote:
According to The Shadow Party, Soros adhered to this very system when he helped to bring about the Velvet Revolution in the Czech Republic, as well as revolutions in Ukraine, Croatia, and Jordan.


Then again, George helps with this because he actually says things that really are kinf of creepy. Whether or not they are true is another matter but they do allow people to believe that he would destabilize whole nations for shits and giggles just because he can.

You don't find that with the Koch Brothers.
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K
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

tzor wrote:


Then again, George helps with this because he actually says things that really are kinf of creepy. Whether or not they are true is another matter but they do allow people to believe that he would destabilize whole nations for shits and giggles just because he can.

You don't find that with the Koch Brothers.


Shit and giggles? Not billions of dollars of profit?

That being said, I don't think I'd really take anything seriously from a book that I can get on Amazon for $2.03 (hardback). The Shadow Party's conspiracy theories are not just laughable, but weak.

I mean, who really cares if a business guy makes money by weakening foreign currencies since it has nothing to do with US political issues?

On the other hand, the Koch Brothers are destabilizing the US political system directly. I take that shit a lot more seriously.


Last edited by K on Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:26 am; edited 2 times in total
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Maxus
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Democratic campaign manager's family cat is found beaten to death with 'liberal' scrawled on it.

See, this is what really worries me about conservative discontent. When liberals get upset, they do junk like whine or stage protests/human megaphones/other vaguely artsy stuff or try to do a citizen's arrest on Dick Cheney. When conservatives get upset, they decide it's time to start killing people.

Which does bring up an interesting point. Liberals treat their opposition as people to be proven wrong. Conservatives treat their oppositions as enemies to be beaten.
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K
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 4:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Well, it's not really a surprise. The right-wing is based on the fundamental belief that they have the right to impose their will on other people even if the issue is one that does not affect them personally.

Between that and their abhorrence for provable facts and love of ideology, it's seems natural that it would lead to more violence.


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Maj
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

K wrote:
I mean, who really cares if a business guy makes money by weakening foreign currencies since it has nothing to do with US political issues?


Would someone please explain how short selling a currency weakens it? Did that actually apply to what Soros did in 1992?
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Zinegata
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

K wrote:
I mean, who really cares if a business guy makes money by weakening foreign currencies since it has nothing to do with US political issues?


I do. That bastard screwed up the Southeast Asian money market, which does in fact affect me personally.

Needless to say, Soros never travels to SE Asia without a bodyguard anymore. He's on everyone's shit list here, including the Presidents and Prime Ministers.
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Zinegata
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Maj wrote:
K wrote:
I mean, who really cares if a business guy makes money by weakening foreign currencies since it has nothing to do with US political issues?


Would someone please explain how short selling a currency weakens it? Did that actually apply to what Soros did in 1992?


By shortselling currency you give the impression that something really bad is about to happen, which causes less well-informed people to panic and sell their Thai Bahts at a lower rate too. This balloons until everyone is trying to dump their reserves of SE Asian currencies.

Soros was one of the key players who triggered the Asian Financial crisis by shortselling.
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K
King


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Short-selling a currency means you make a bet that the next time you do a transaction, the currency will be lower and you make money (how you make money is more complicated than I am willing to explain).

The important bit is that the result is that the exchange rates are worse for the thing you successfully shorted, and enough shorting behavior makes people holding that currency to start shorting too.

This leads to the currency weakening.

This means that the Brit pound was worth less of other currencies, and that meant that pensioners living in other Euro countries had to move back to the UK and it meant nothing at all to people in the UK.

To be perfectly honest, it hurt a very small number of very wealthy people and a very small number of international students and tourists.

For a country like Malaysia that depends heavily on imports, you just made it much harder for them to buy an iPad (once again, you hurt a very small number of rich people in Malaysia) and for the government to buy things for capital investment like concrete and machines.

The conservatives flipped the fuck out because Rupert Murdock keeps some of his fortune in England and it hurt him and so he sent marching orders out for a character assassination of Soros.

Honestly, anyone that fucks with Murdoch gets a media shitstorm.


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Zinegata
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

K wrote:
To be perfectly honest, it hurt a very small number of very wealthy people and a very small number of international students and tourists.


Sending the entire region into a fucking recession is not "hurting a very small number of wealthy people". That's the lie people like Soros tell themselves so that they don't jump off a building for being the scum of the earth.

Fucking with the currency of an NIC (newly industrialized country) is a big deal - a much bigger deal than in the West - because our economies are still export and import driven. We don't have a big internal market yet to take up the slack.

Moreover, devaluing currencies doesn't just make it more expensive to import iPads. It makes it more expensive to import everything.

In the case of the Philippines, that includes staples like food because the economy has been aligned to take advantage of cheaper Vietnamese rice rather than local production. Thanks to assholes like Soros, the price of that imported rice suddenly doubled just so he can make a few billion off currency speculation.

Soros is scum. I don't give a shit about what he's doing in America, but as far as this region is concerned he's a crook; along with all the other currency speculators who helped trigger the '97 crisis.


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Maj
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I know what short selling is, and I understand the panic factor. What I'm confused about is this: Weren't the currencies involved having problems anyway? Did Soros actually cause the problem, or did he just accelerate the inevitable?
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K
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Zinegata wrote:


Fucking with the currency of an NIC (newly industrialized country) is a big deal - a much bigger deal than in the West - because our economies are still export and import driven. We don't have a big internal market yet to take up the slack.


True, but I'd argue that expecting to ever get fair or equitable economic transactions in global finance with more powerful nations is unrealistic.

The problem is not that Soros looted the region. The problem is that the region has been artificially kept weak so that people like Soros can loot it.
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K
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Maj wrote:
I know what short selling is, and I understand the panic factor. What I'm confused about is this: Weren't the currencies involved having problems anyway? Did Soros actually cause the problem, or did he just accelerate the inevitable?


Well, that's the billion dollar question (and Soros in not explaining the secret of how he makes billions every year).

A strong argument can be made that a number of factors made those currencies ripe for this tactic.

That being said, when Soros moves, the market shifts with him because he never really seems to fail at making money and everyone knows that.

Honestly, I think he's just a scapegoat because its a complicated issue and no one can really blame a number of poor economic decisions by a wide variety of players combined with relative economic weakness.

A single villain is so much more satisfying.
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Zinegata
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

K wrote:
True, but I'd argue that expecting to ever get fair or equitable economic transactions in global finance with more powerful nations is unrealistic.

The problem is not that Soros looted the region. The problem is that the region has been artificially kept weak so that people like Soros can loot it.


Not really. There is a considerable difference in simply looting a region; and actively engaging in rampant speculation to deepen a crisis and profit off it. Really, Paul Krugman says it best:

Quote:
"[N]obody who has read a business magazine in the last few years can be unaware that these days there really are investors who not only move money in anticipation of a currency crisis, but actually do their best to trigger that crisis for fun and profit. These new actors on the scene do not yet have a standard name; my proposed term is 'Soroi'


Is this the kind of guy you'd want to trust?

====

Also, re "keeping the region weak"...

While there were shitty deals made (i.e. the IMF emergency loans) and very real problems within the SE Asian Financial market (i.e. Crony Capitalism) that we have to fix ourselves, the idea that there is a grand plot by Europe/America to keep Asia weak finds very little credibility. The fact is, most US and European businesses want to invest in Asia - especially East Asia - as they're generally gonna get a better return on their money than going to say, Africa; while the home markets are saturated.

And if we really get a bullshit deal, enough folks are developing a tough enough spine to say "Fuck you" to the West anyway; that's what Malaysia did to Soros and they got hit less than Thailand.
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Zinegata
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

K wrote:
A single villain is so much more satisfying.


Well, first of all he wasn't alone in the speculation. And like I mentioned we had very real problems in our own financial systems like Crony Capitalism.

But the deliberate and malicious manipulation of markets certainly didn't help in any. Using "There were many villains!" is not an excuse for being one of the villains.
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Zinegata
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Maj wrote:
Weren't the currencies involved having problems anyway? Did Soros actually cause the problem, or did he just accelerate the inevitable?


They did. But it's also a matter of public record that the Thai baht was hit by massive speculative attacks on May 14 and 15, forcing Thailand to use up its foreign currency reserves and causing the currency to collapse a few weeks later. At the minimum the speculators (including Soros) accelerated it; but given that the attacks happened over just a period of 2 days it seems likely this was deliberate manipulation. Especially given that other currencies were hit by similar attacks in very short periods (whereas panics tend to take more time to coalesce).

Without the attacks, Thailand may have been able to do a more gradual decline of its currency and not trigger a panic.


Last edited by Zinegata on Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:43 am; edited 1 time in total
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K
King


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Zinegata wrote:
K wrote:
True, but I'd argue that expecting to ever get fair or equitable economic transactions in global finance with more powerful nations is unrealistic.

The problem is not that Soros looted the region. The problem is that the region has been artificially kept weak so that people like Soros can loot it.


Not really. There is a considerable difference in simply looting a region; and actively engaging in rampant speculation to deepen a crisis and profit off it. Really, Paul Krugman says it best:

Quote:
"[N]obody who has read a business magazine in the last few years can be unaware that these days there really are investors who not only move money in anticipation of a currency crisis, but actually do their best to trigger that crisis for fun and profit. These new actors on the scene do not yet have a standard name; my proposed term is 'Soroi'


Is this the kind of guy you'd want to trust?


Trust with what?

Trust to give me advice on markets? Sure, he's really quite good at making markets do what he wants.

Trust him to invest my money? Yup.

Trust him as a political thinker? Why not, since that is separate from his work as a vulture capitalist?

That being said, he's really a minor player in liberal thought. I don't even know why he gets targeted other than Rupert Murdoch's personal vendetta.
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Zinegata
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

K wrote:
Trust with what?

Trust to give me advice on markets? Sure, he's really quite good at making markets do what he wants.

Trust him to invest my money? Yup.

Trust him as a political thinker? Why not, since that is separate from his work as a vulture capitalist?

That being said, he's really a minor player in liberal thought. I don't even know why he gets targeted other than Rupert Murdoch's personal vendetta.


Again, I don't really give a shit about petty vendettas with Rupert Murdoch and your sheltered "It's only about the American left and right!" view of the situation.

Soros is scum. If you're willing to trust him with your money; then don't be shocked if he suddenly pulls some kind of speculative shit on the US currency and makes life for you and your family miserable. That the problem with vultures; they aren't picky about who they feast on.

Manipulating currencies for shits and giggles is only funny when it's not YOUR people who end up suffering.


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K
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Zinegata wrote:


Manipulating currencies for shits and giggles is only funny when it's not YOUR people who end up suffering.


Again, he didn't do it for fun. He did it for money. Lots and lots of money.

Your country got screwed by global capitalism. This is a classic example of blaming the player and not the game.

Do you honestly think someone else wouldn't have done the exact same thing? Does Soros have magic powers where only he can take advantage of these inequitable relationships in the global economic system?
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Zinegata
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

K wrote:
Do you honestly think someone else wouldn't have done the exact same thing? Does Soros have magic powers where only he can take advantage of these inequitable relationships in the global economic system?


Oh I see. You want to blame capitalism instead of actual individuals who engaged in outright economic manipulation.

Let's exonerate Madoff then. The folks who did Enron should go free. After all, capitalism is the real culprit. Boohoo for the people they conned.

Not every currency speculator is a crook who deliberately wrecks currencies to make an extra buck. There is a considerable difference between making money out of a crisis (business), and actually creating and pushing a crisis and throwing 600,000 Thais out of their jobs just to make a buck. That's not capitalism. That's just plain evil and criminal.

Soros is a crook; one of many who engaged in deliberate and malicious currency manipulation. Someone who you describe as a vulture. And really, you're defending him because he... what, pissed off Murdoch? Funds MoveOn.Org?

When he's in actuality pushing for less market regulations so he can pull more currency manipulation stunts even in America and Europe?

I'm beginning to suspect K has turned conservative on us. ROFL
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DSMatticus
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Maj wrote:
I know what short selling is, and I understand the panic factor. What I'm confused about is this: Weren't the currencies involved having problems anyway? Did Soros actually cause the problem, or did he just accelerate the inevitable?

Yes, no, and yes/no. They were having problems, Soros did not cause them, and he accelerated them but they weren't actually entirely inevitable; smarter monetary policy would have prevented the 1992 British crisis and nothing could have stopped the 1997 Southeast Asian crisis (you can only pretend growth is real for so long). The Southeast Asian crisis could have been far less painful, but I'll get to that.

The British Pound
So, there's this thing called the EMR. It's a fixed exchange for a bunch of European countries. Conservatives in Britain decide it's a good time to join. Problem: Britain's inflation rate is three times higher than Germany's. That's right; the great minds (HA!) of Britain's conservatives thought they could maintain a fixed ratio between two numbers growing at radically different rates. They were wrong, and everyone but them knew it and told them so. They didn't listen.

So, some other shit happens and the crisis comes to a head. Britain's conservatives still won't suck it up and leave the EMR (which would have let them prevent the crisis). It is obvious at this point that people are about to start shorting their currency, because shorting their currency will make money. When there is a buck to be made, people do it. Welcome to economics. Long story short; the shorting begins, lots of people make money and the British government loses a lot, their currency is devalued, and they are forced to leave the EMR anyway.

Britain's conservatives swore off smart monetary policy, and the free market bitchslapped them for it. The free market has spoken; conservatives are bad economists. Blaming Soros is kind of like paying someone to punch you in the face and then getting pissed when they do it. It doesn't make sense, and you should rethink what you're doing.

Southeast Asian Crisis
This is more interesting, but has almost nothing to do with Soros at all. Seriously. Soros is a fucking footnote here.

So, Southeast Asia basically sets itself up to be the perfect investment haven. Deliberately. Unfortunately, this turns out to be unsustainable; their economy grows and grows and grows but their productivity stays completely stagnant, which means the "growth" they saw wasn't anything except people shovelling money into Southeast Asia. Years in advance, people are saying that can't last.

And sure enough, the U.S. eventually tinkers with their interest rates and they lure investors away from Southeast Asia. When investor money stops flowing into the region, they collapse because the only thing that's been propping up their economies this entire time has been the investor money flowing in. This causes a lot of panics all at once, and some of these countries are doing the fixed exchange rate thing (see Britain, above), so they are super vulnerable to speculative attacks on their currency. So those speculative attacks happen. That's Soros's entire role in the Southeast Asian market collapse. He comes in at the end to take advantage of a panicked market and bad monetary policy to make money. Again.

But the story seriously doesn't end there (well, it does for Soros), it gets worse! The IMF decides to bailout these nations during and after. They attach to the bailouts strict conservative financial reforms. Things like; "don't bail out failing institutions, and cut government spending." The same things that are working so well in the EU. So, yeah. Instead of hitting bottom and at least bouncing back up, they just hit the bottom. And then the IMF urinates in their face.

The entire 1997 crisis is a step-by-step rebuttal of conservative economic ideology. I fucking love it.

But yeah, Soros steps into markets dominated by conservative ideologies and does perfectly legal things there that make him money. Conservatives don't like it when the free market bites them on the ass, so they would rather blame the people instead of the system, since it's their system and their system is Holy and Infallible. They realized there was a liberal they could blame, which makes it all the sweeter. Yelling at Soros is about not having to admit how terrible their ideas are.
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Zinegata
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

DSMatticus wrote:
But yeah, Soros steps into markets dominated by conservative ideologies and does perfectly legal things there that make him money. Conservatives don't like it when the free market bites them on the ass, so they would rather blame the people instead of the system, since it's their system and their system is Holy and Infallible. They realized there was a liberal they could blame, which makes it all the sweeter. Yelling at Soros is about not having to admit how terrible their ideas are.


Funny. Your story is almost word for word the position of Paul Krugman; the guy who proposed calling people who exacerbate crisis to make money out of them "Soros" Tongue.

While it's true that there were very many structural deficiencies in the SE Asian markets, this idea that Soros is a liberal scapegoat is one of the stupidest things I've ever heard and is just reflective of "there is only the American left and right" self-centeredness that afflicts Americans. Repeat after me: SE Asia cares NOTHING for your stupid liberal vs conservative shenanigans.

People didn't blame Soros because he's liberal. It's because he went in and wrecked the Thai economy along with the other speculators and cost them 600,000 jobs. Nobody told him to attack currencies to make a buck. Not every company does something to fuck over people just to make a buck. Don't excuse shitty behavior because it gives you brownie points for your American ideological battles.
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K
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Zinegata wrote:
K wrote:
Do you honestly think someone else wouldn't have done the exact same thing? Does Soros have magic powers where only he can take advantage of these inequitable relationships in the global economic system?


Oh I see. You want to blame capitalism instead of actual individuals who engaged in outright economic manipulation.

Let's exonerate Madoff then. The folks who did Enron should go free. After all, capitalism is the real culprit. Boohoo for the people they conned.


Madoff and Enron broke laws.

Soros didn't break any laws.

See the difference?
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