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George Soros: "We Have Just Entered Act II Of The Drama" - Full Speech

Tyler Durden's picture





 

Three days ago we brought attention to Soros' most recent outburst of negativity in a speech presented during a conference in Vienna, in which he said that "The collapse of the financial system as we know it is real, and the crisis is far from over. Indeed, we have just entered Act II of the drama." Below is the full text of Soros' speech.

In the week following the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers on September
15, 2008 – global financial markets actually broke down and by the end
of the week they had to be put on artificial life support. The life
support consisted of substituting sovereign credit for the credit of
financial institutions which ceased to be acceptable to counter parties.

As Mervyn King of the Bank of England brilliantly explained, the
authorities had to do in the short-term the exact opposite of what was
needed in the long-term: they had to pump in a lot of credit to make up
for the credit that disappeared and thereby reinforce the excess credit
and leverage that had caused the crisis in the first place. Only in the
longer term, when the crisis had subsided, could they drain the credit
and reestablish macro-economic balance. This required a delicate two
phase maneuver just as when a car is skidding, first you have to turn
the car into the direction of the skid and only when you have regained
control can you correct course.

The first phase of the maneuver has been successfully accomplished –
a collapse has been averted. In retrospect, the temporary breakdown of
the financial system seems like a bad dream. There are people in the
financial institutions that survived who would like nothing better than
to forget it and carry on with business as usual. This was evident in
their massive lobbying effort to protect their interests in the
Financial Reform Act that just came out of Congress. But the collapse
of the financial system as we know it is real and the crisis is far
from over.

Indeed, we have just entered Act II of the drama, when financial
markets started losing confidence in the credibility of sovereign debt.
Greece and the euro have taken center stage but the effects are liable
to be felt worldwide.  Doubts about sovereign credit are forcing
reductions in budget deficits at a time when the banks and the economy
may not be strong enough to permit the pursuit of fiscal rectitude. We
find ourselves in a situation eerily reminiscent of the 1930’s. Keynes
has taught us that budget deficits are essential for counter cyclical
policies yet many governments have to reduce them under pressure from
financial markets. This is liable to push the global economy into a
double dip.

It is important to realize that the crisis in which we find
ourselves is not just a market failure but also a regulatory failure
and even more importantly a failure of the prevailing dogma about
financial markets. I have in mind the Efficient Market Hypothesis and
Rational Expectation Theory. These economic theories guided, or more
exactly misguided, both the regulators and the financial engineers who
designed the derivatives and other synthetic financial instruments and
quantitative risk management systems which have played such an
important part in the collapse. To gain a proper understanding of the
current situation and how we got to where we are, we need to go back to
basics and reexamine the foundation of economic theory.

I have developed an alternative theory about financial markets which
asserts that financial markets do not necessarily tend towards
equilibrium; they can just as easily produce asset bubbles. Nor are
markets capable of correcting their own excesses. Keeping asset bubbles
within bounds have to be an objective of public policy. I propounded
this theory in my first book, The Alchemy of Finance, in 1987.  It was
generally dismissed at the time but the current financial crisis has
proven, not necessarily its validity, but certainly its superiority to
the prevailing dogma.

Let me briefly recapitulate my theory for those who are not familiar
with it. It can be summed up in two propositions. First, financial
markets, far from accurately reflecting all the available knowledge,
always provide a distorted view of reality. This is the principle of
fallibility. The degree of distortion may vary from time to time.
Sometimes it’s quite insignificant, at other times it is quite
pronounced. When there is a significant divergence between market
prices and the underlying reality I speak of far from equilibrium
conditions. That is where we are now.

Second, financial markets do not play a purely passive role; they can also affect
the so called fundamentals they are supposed to reflect. These two
functions that financial markets perform work in opposite directions.
In the passive or cognitive function the fundamentals are supposed to
determine market prices. In the active or manipulative function market
prices find ways of influencing the fundamentals. When both functions
operate at the same time they interfere with each other. The supposedly
independent variable of one function is the dependent variable of the
other so that neither function has a truly independent variable. As a
result neither market prices nor the underlying reality is fully
determined. Both suffer from an element of uncertainty that cannot be
quantified.  I call the interaction between the two functions
reflexivity. Frank Knight recognized and explicated this element of
unquantifiable uncertainty in a book published in 1921 but the
Efficient Market Hypothesis and Rational Expectation Theory have
deliberately ignored it. That is what made them so misleading.

Reflexivity sets up a feedback loop between market valuations and
the so-called fundamentals which are being valued. The feedback can be
either positive or negative. Negative feedback brings market prices and
the underlying reality closer together. In other words, negative
feedback is self-correcting. It can go on forever and if the underlying
reality remains unchanged it may eventually lead to an equilibrium in
which market prices accurately reflect the fundamentals. By contrast, a
positive feedback is self-reinforcing. It cannot go on forever because
eventually market prices would become so far removed from reality that
market participants would have to recognize them as unrealistic. When
that tipping point is reached, the process becomes self-reinforcing in
the opposite direction. That is how financial markets produce boom-bust
phenomena or bubbles. Bubbles are not the only manifestations of
reflexivity but they are the most spectacular.

In my interpretation equilibrium, which is the central case in economic theory, turns out to be a limiting
case where negative feedback is carried to its ultimate limit. Positive
feedback has been largely assumed away by the prevailing dogma and it
deserves a lot more attention.

I have developed a rudimentary theory of bubbles along these lines.
Every bubble has two components: an underlying trend that prevails in
reality and a misconception relating to that trend. When a positive
feedback develops between the trend and the misconception a boom-bust
process is set in motion. The process is liable to be tested by
negative feedback along the way and if it is strong enough to survive
these tests, both the trend and the misconception will be reinforced.
Eventually, market expectations become so far removed from reality that
people are forced to recognize that a misconception is involved. A
twilight period ensues during which doubts grow and more and more
people lose faith but the prevailing trend is sustained by inertia. As
Chuck Prince former head of Citigroup said, “As long as the music is
playing you’ve got to get up and dance. We are still dancing.”
Eventually a tipping point is reached when the trend is reversed; it
then becomes self-reinforcing in the opposite direction.

Typically bubbles have an asymmetric shape. The boom is long and
slow to start. It accelerates gradually until it flattens out again
during the twilight period. The bust is short and steep because it
involves the forced liquidation of unsound positions. Disillusionment
turns into panic, reaching its climax in a financial crisis.

The simplest case of a purely financial bubble can be found in real
estate. The trend that precipitates it is the availability of credit;
the misconception that continues to recur in various forms is that the
value of the collateral is independent of the availability of credit.
As a matter of fact, the relationship is reflexive. When credit becomes
cheaper activity picks up and real estate values rise. There are fewer
defaults, credit performance improves, and lending standards are
relaxed. So at the height of the boom, the amount of credit outstanding
is at its peak and a reversal precipitates false liquidation,
depressing real estate values.

The bubble that led to the current financial crisis is much more
complicated. The collapse of the sub-prime bubble in 2007 set off a
chain reaction, much as an ordinary bomb sets off a nuclear explosion.
I call it a super-bubble. It has developed over a longer period of time
and it is composed of a number of simpler bubbles. What makes the
super-bubble so interesting is the role that the smaller bubbles have
played in its development.

The prevailing trend in the super-bubble was the ever increasing use
of credit and leverage. The prevailing misconception was the believe
that financial markets are self-correcting and should be left to their
own devices. President Reagan called it the “magic of the marketplace”
and I call it market fundamentalism. It became the dominant creed in
the 1980s. Since market fundamentalism was based on false premises its
adoption led to a series of financial crises. Each time, the
authorities intervened, merged away, or otherwise took care of the
failing financial institutions, and applied monetary and fiscal stimuli
to protect the economy. These measures reinforced the prevailing trend
of ever increasing credit and leverage and as long as they worked they
also reinforced the prevailing misconception that markets can be safely
left to their own devices. The intervention of the authorities is
generally recognized as creating amoral hazard; more accurately it
served as a successful test of a false belief, thereby inflating the
super-bubble even further.

It should be emphasized that my theories of bubbles cannot predict
whether a test will be successful or not. This holds for ordinary
bubbles as well as the super-bubble. For instance I thought the
emerging market crisis of 1997-1998 would constitute the tipping point
for the super-bubble, but I was wrong. The authorities managed to save
the system and the super-bubble continued growing. That made the bust
that eventually came in 2007-2008 all the more devastating.

What are the implications of my theory for the regulation of the financial system?

First and foremost, since markets are bubble-prone, the financial
authorities have to accept responsibility for preventing bubbles from
growing too big. Alan Greenspan and other regulators have expressly
refused to accept that responsibility. If markets can’t recognize
bubbles, Greenspan argued, neither can regulators—and he was right.
Nevertheless, the financial authorities have to accept the assignment,
knowing full well that they will not be able to meet it without making
mistakes. They will, however, have the benefit of receiving feedback
from the markets, which will tell them whether they have done too much
or too little. They can then correct their mistakes.

Second, in order to control asset bubbles it is not enough to
control the money supply; you must also control the availability of
credit. This cannot be done by using only monetary tools; you must also
use credit controls. The best-known tools are margin requirements and
minimum capital requirements. Currently they are fixed irrespective of
the market’s mood, because markets are not supposed to have moods. Yet
they do, and the financial authorities need to vary margin and minimum
capital requirements in order to control asset bubbles.

Regulators may also have to invent new tools or revive others that
have fallen into disuse. For instance, in my early days in finance,
many years ago, central banks used to instruct commercial banks to
limit their lending to a particular sector of the economy, such as real
estate or consumer loans, because they felt that the sector was
overheating. Market fundamentalists consider that kind of intervention
unacceptable but they are wrong. When our central banks used to do it
we had no financial crises to speak of. The Chinese authorities do it
today, and they have much better control over their banking system. The
deposits that Chinese commercial banks have to maintain at the People’s
Bank of China were increased seventeen times during the boom, and when
the authorities reversed course the banks obeyed them with alacrity.

Third, since markets are potentially unstable, there are systemic
risks in addition to the risks affecting individual market
participants. Participants may ignore these systemic risks in the
belief that they can always dispose of their positions, but regulators
cannot ignore them because if too many participants are on the same
side, positions cannot be liquidated without causing a discontinuity or
a collapse. They have to monitor the positions of participants in order
to detect potential imbalances. That means that the positions of all
major market participants, including hedge funds and sovereign wealth
funds, need to be monitored. The drafters of the Basel Accords made a
mistake when they gave securities held by banks substantially lower
risk ratings than regular loans: they ignored the systemic risks
attached to concentrated positions in securities. This was an important
factor aggravating the crisis. It has to be corrected by raising the
risk ratings of securities held by banks. That will probably discourage
loans, which is not such a bad thing.

Fourth, derivatives and synthetic financial instruments perform many
useful functions but they also carry hidden dangers. For instance, the
securitization of mortgages was supposed to reduce risk thru
geographical diversification. In fact it introduced a new risk by
separating the interest of the agents from the interest of the owners.
Regulators need to fully understand how these instruments work before
they allow them to be used and they ought to impose restrictions guard
against those hidden dangers. For instance, agents packaging mortgages
into securities ought to be obliged to retain sufficient ownership to
guard against the agency problem.

Credit default swaps (CDS) are particularly dangerous they allow
people to buy insurance on the survival of a company or a country while
handing them a license to kill. CDS ought to be available to buyers
only to the extent that they have a legitimate insurable interest.
Generally speaking, derivatives ought to be registered with a
regulatory agency just as regular securities have to be registered with
the SEC or its equivalent. Derivatives traded on exchanges would be
registered as a class; those traded over-the-counter would have to be
registered individually. This would provide a powerful inducement to
use exchange traded derivatives whenever possible.

Finally, we must recognize that financial markets evolve in a
one-directional, nonreversible manner. The financial authorities, in
carrying out their duty of preventing the system from collapsing, have
extended an implicit guarantee to all institutions that are “too big to
fail.” Now they cannot credibly withdraw that guarantee. Therefore,
they must impose regulations that will ensure that the guarantee will
not be invoked. Too-big-to-fail banks must use less leverage and accept
various restrictions on how they invest the depositors’ money. Deposits
should not be used to finance proprietary trading. But regulators have
to go even further. They must regulate the compensation packages of
proprietary traders to ensure that risks and rewards are properly
aligned. This may push proprietary traders out of banks into hedge
funds where they properly belong. Just as oil tankers are
compartmentalized in order to keep them stable, there ought to be
firewalls between different markets. It is probably impractical to
separate investment banking from commercial banking as the
Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 did. But there have to be internal
compartments keeping proprietary trading in various markets separate
from each other. Some banks that have come to occupy quasi-monopolistic
positions may have to be broken up.

While I have a high degree of conviction on these five points, there
are many questions to which my theory does not provide an unequivocal
answer.  For instance, is a high degree of liquidity always desirable? 
To what extent should securities be marked to market?  Many answers
that followed automatically from the Efficient Market Hypothesis need
to be reexamined.

It is clear that the reforms currently under consideration do not
fully satisfy the five points I have made but I want to emphasize that
these five points apply only in the long run. As Mervyn King explained
the authorities had to do in the short run the exact opposite of what
was required in the long run. And as I said earlier the financial
crisis is far from over. We have just ended Act Two. The euro has taken
center stage and Germany has become the lead actor. The European
authorities face a daunting task: they must help the countries that
have fallen far behind the Maastricht criteria to regain their
equilibrium while they must also correct the deficinies of the
Maastricht Treaty which have allowed the imbalances to develop. The
euro is in what I call a far-from-equilibrium situation. But I prefer
to discuss this subject in Germany, which is the lead actor, and I plan
to do so at the Humboldt University in Berlin on June 23rd. I hope you will forgive me if I avoid the subject until then.

Via George Soros.com, h/t My Investing Notebook

 


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Sun, 06/13/2010 - 21:30 | Link to Comment Dismal Scientist
Dismal Scientist's picture

Regulators need to fully understand

That would be a start

Mon, 06/14/2010 - 06:53 | Link to Comment Treeplanter
Treeplanter's picture

Soros is pushing for more government control.  What could go wrong?  Central planning worked so well in the Soviet Union.

Mon, 06/14/2010 - 08:58 | Link to Comment Careless Whisper
Careless Whisper's picture

Keeping asset bubbles within bounds have to be an objective of public policy.

Oh really.

 

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 21:31 | Link to Comment Jake Lamotta
Jake Lamotta's picture

With derivatives, the Efficient Market Hypothesis goes out the window!

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 22:56 | Link to Comment pan-the-ist
pan-the-ist's picture

Yes.  My opinion - if you 'buy' a something in the market, that means you take possession of it.  If you can't take possession of it, then it shouldn't be on the market.  But then, I am a bit of a Luddite when it comes to markets.

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 21:41 | Link to Comment boeing747
boeing747's picture

Only after 3rd leg down, a real meaningful reform will put on table.

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 21:43 | Link to Comment FreakuentFlyer
FreakuentFlyer's picture

i will now memorize this speach verbatim and then use it to pickup chicks in bars!

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 21:58 | Link to Comment monmick
monmick's picture

I tried that already; it doesn't work! I spent the better part of the nineties trying to pick up chicks in bars by reciting Soros' theory of reflexivity...

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 23:04 | Link to Comment FreakuentFlyer
FreakuentFlyer's picture

i'm talking about central european fat chicks!

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 23:14 | Link to Comment monmick
monmick's picture

In that case, you will have to practice delivering the speech with the same Hungarian accent...

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 23:16 | Link to Comment FreakuentFlyer
FreakuentFlyer's picture

are you trying to tell me what to do - go high-frequency yourself! LOL

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 23:25 | Link to Comment Da Canuck
Da Canuck's picture

LOL, I doubt it would even work on them. This is the most boring drivel ever.

Mon, 06/14/2010 - 06:25 | Link to Comment williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture

These days I believe you will find all the really fat chicks in the US, but they will know more about suction dynamics.

Mon, 06/14/2010 - 10:42 | Link to Comment bmwmc
bmwmc's picture

Hey, those are my lines.  Let's just agree not to hit on the same whores.

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 21:44 | Link to Comment Xibalba
Xibalba's picture

Act II, in it's literature, stage, or film context, is usually the establishment of conflict between the players who have been developed in the first Act.  I'm praying for a speedy denoument. 

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 21:44 | Link to Comment Anarchist
Anarchist's picture

Not one mention of the massive fraud in the financial system. Nothing about his funding of "democratic" groups in the attempt to splinter eastern european countries into impotent rump countries controlled by the west. One day I would like Soros or Buffet to actually tell the truth.

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 23:18 | Link to Comment Tapeworm
Tapeworm's picture

Yes, and his crap about "markets" is nonsense. Guys like Soros would be bank tellers without the massive interventions that overwhelm a free market.

 I looked up the number for the after tax profit of all manufacturing, agriculture, and mining for the USA in 2008. (That would be all of the useable income after the games are done.) It was 112 billion.

 Even throwaways like the extention of UE benefits and a few other "unanimous consent" turds moving through the US senate dwarf the real economy every few weeks. Shitbag Soros made his mark in gaming the gaming of the Pound. Why do we put up with the system that rewards useless parasites like him that live off of the useless parasitism of goomint?

 It's too bad that he doesn't live in a castle in Hungary. I'd pay to go to a documentary moovie that shows the Hunkies storming the palace of the economic vampire.

 Oh, and they kill all from the dogcatcher up to the premier on the way.

This would be an inverse of Bela Kun, likely Soros' hero.

Mon, 06/14/2010 - 03:01 | Link to Comment Insert witty title
Insert witty title's picture

'Keynes has taught us that budget deficits are essential for counter cyclical policies yet many governments have to reduce them under pressure from financial markets'

What a load of crap. Lost all credibility at this early point. What Keynes taught us is that you can be a power hungry elitist fcktard who doesn't know anything about economics but if your theories help governments centralise power then you are held up as a legend.

Deficit spending perpetuates imbalances that recessions clean up. Its like going to  a cancer treatment centre on three mile island.

My missus says i need to stop getting so worked up. Woosa, Woosa, Woosa

 

/rubs ears

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 21:45 | Link to Comment RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

Hot off the press (as well as topic):

WASHINGTON — The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/14/world/asia/14minerals.html?emc=na

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 21:56 | Link to Comment Anarchist
Anarchist's picture

Most of these minerals were known to exist back in the 50's and 60's when the USA and USSR occupied Afghanistan. There is alos large gas and oil deposits. There were newspaper reports by both countries detailing the "finds". Lithium did not have a big importance then so it did not merit mention. The US got booted out in the 60's and in a hissey fit started funding "rebels" to attack major city centers. This led to the Tajik dominated government to beg the Russians to save them.

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 22:11 | Link to Comment SDRII
SDRII's picture

Timeline of announcement is interesting to say the least. Presumably now the strategy is not to kill but to enrich!

1. US Comdr. Afghan calls off surge for a few months to "study" Taliban dominated area

2. Debka reporting the Taliban has essentially outlasted the US and has "won" with help of integrated Tali/ISI C&C structure

3. Karzai more than once on the record saying the US is unreliable..

4. NYT headline that the US has discover resources throughout the country with a small

team of geologists.

 


Sun, 06/13/2010 - 22:28 | Link to Comment cbaba
cbaba's picture

Debka is not a reliable source, 50% lies.

Mon, 06/14/2010 - 01:09 | Link to Comment Teaser
Teaser's picture

But, But, That means 50% is true!

 

Holy Moly!

Mon, 06/14/2010 - 08:19 | Link to Comment cbaba
cbaba's picture

This is like yes he is a liar but he doesnt lie all the time, he is a good guy.!

Or he is a thief but a good one he steals only once a year. You like to be with a guy like this ? trust him ? dont you put into jail if you were a judge ? Holly Molly ...

 

 

Mon, 06/14/2010 - 03:18 | Link to Comment roadlust
roadlust's picture

50% opinion.

50% interpretation of "facts" from a Likud perspective.

That's technically different than lies.

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 22:39 | Link to Comment fxrxexexdxoxmx
fxrxexexdxoxmx's picture

I am proud that no conflict in the world in the 200 plus years of the United States of America cannot be trace back to the US.

Sunni Muslims kill Shia Muslims because they read the wrong book from the King James Bible.

America bad......everyone else on the planet good.

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 22:05 | Link to Comment Mitchman
Mitchman's picture

It sounds to me like the NYT playing press hack for the Administration again at a time when Karzai is making sweet talk with the Taliban and even the right-wingers are calling for us to withdraw.  Typical Administration bulls**t.  "Look what we found, Ma!"

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 22:17 | Link to Comment chumbawamba
chumbawamba's picture

So the implication being that we should stay so that we can exploit the mineral wealth that is not ours?

But there is one thing more important than any minerals, and that's being smack dab in the middle of the last leg of the oil pipeline from the Caspian states to the Indian Ocean.

http://pakalert.files.wordpress.com/2008/12/project-for-the-new-american...

This was all pre-ordained years ago.  The scripted drama has yet to reach the finale.

I am Chumbawamba.

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 22:21 | Link to Comment RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

Tends to skew the old saw about the U. S. being there on this so-called War on Terror.

Somehow didn't we know that there was a reason yet to be truthfully told?

Minerals in Afghanistan -- my how convenient.

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 22:35 | Link to Comment cbaba
cbaba's picture

Spending 1 trillion dollars for 2 wars in 10 years and we cant even find where the Osama Bid laden is hiding ? or we don't want to find it ?

The reason for war has never been terror it was all about money.

We went to Iraq for oil, and to Afghanistan for Caspian-Indian ocean pipeline. Russians tried the same but lost.

 

 

Mon, 06/14/2010 - 02:04 | Link to Comment zhandax
zhandax's picture

So why is there more oil floating off the coast of Alabama than imported from Iraq?

Mon, 06/14/2010 - 15:57 | Link to Comment RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

He didn't say the U. S. was any GOOD at doing this stuff -- just that we're doing it.

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 22:08 | Link to Comment monmick
monmick's picture

"The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits..."

I assume this isn't 43-101 compliant ! Does the SEC get to review and approve the Pentagon's news releases...

 

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 22:28 | Link to Comment RoRoTrader
RoRoTrader's picture

Bootylicious

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 21:52 | Link to Comment illyia
illyia's picture

I suppose the corrupt actor does not recognize his own corruption.

What's the word....?

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 21:58 | Link to Comment buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

A man of many Soros. Poor little billionaire.

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 22:09 | Link to Comment chumbawamba
chumbawamba's picture

Iraq's central bank was attacked by an armed group of "insurgents":

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100613/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_iraq

Us Americans have a thing or two to learn from our Iraqi brothers.

I am Chumbawamba.

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 22:25 | Link to Comment UGrev
UGrev's picture

With the exception of the "Ending up dead" part... I think we finally agree on something. 

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 22:18 | Link to Comment Dark Helmet
Dark Helmet's picture

Not a single mention of peak oil, other emerging natural resource constraints, or aging demographics. It's like he's pointing out problems with the roof construction on a burning house.

He also chastises markets for creating bubbles when those bubbles are ultimately created by central banks. Cheap credit in the 2000s caused the great housing hyperinflation.

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 22:19 | Link to Comment bob_dabolina
bob_dabolina's picture

"It is important to realize that the crisis in which we find ourselves is not just a market failure"

The market didn't fail. The market acted perfectly, exactly as it should have.

Do you understand that George?

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 22:23 | Link to Comment Kreditanstalt
Kreditanstalt's picture

As expected, Soros disses Efficient Markets Theory and the prevailing views of the 1980s - that markets are self-correcting mechanisms best left entirely alone.

Simultaneously, throughout his comments he never questions governments and regulators "stepping in" to "aid" failing financial institutions.  Never once is there any mention of the obvious: just let them fail.

For a market to work efficiently, there must be losers!!!

Something they'll just NEVER understand...

 

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 22:23 | Link to Comment cbaba
cbaba's picture

He agrees with Greenspan, this is bullshit, even someone who has no Economics degree can clearly understand that Greenspan made a big mistake( intentionally) by keeping interest rates so long so low.

Also he doesn't mention about a gold standard, he just thinks that Keynesian system is good if we can find ways to improve it, again bullshit, we don't need to create  new economic models, the Gold is the money, has been like this for more than thousands of years. All fiat monies has to be pegged to gold.

We don't need a jerk like him to create an economic theory and tell us what to do.

 

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 22:30 | Link to Comment Apostate
Apostate's picture

Soros loves central banking because it provides artificially high rewards to traders relative to the rest of the economy. And it gives him a government to influence or dominate, which he does at every opportunity. 

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 22:45 | Link to Comment NullShrub
NullShrub's picture

Soros is a skilled trader, but I'm not convinced of his abilities as an economist.  He has predicted doom before and missed.  A couple of interesting clips from an article I read some time ago...

 

"This is not the first time that Mr. Soros has prophesied doom. In 1998, he published a book predicting a global economic collapse that never came.

Mr. Soros thinks that this time he is right. Now in his eighth decade, he yearns to be remembered not only as a great trader but also as a great thinker.

Robert Soros, 44, who once claimed his father based his trades not on grand theories like reflexivity but rather on his back pain"

http://dealbook.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/04/11/george-soros-the-face-of-a-...

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 23:47 | Link to Comment Fred Hayek
Fred Hayek's picture

So, Soros has predicted 6 of the last 3 recessions?

Actually, I did like his CDS stuff.

 

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 23:06 | Link to Comment kingwallop
kingwallop's picture

All I heard was do more things like China.......

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 23:33 | Link to Comment Mactheknife
Mactheknife's picture

Bingo! We have a winner.

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 23:43 | Link to Comment JR
JR's picture

Soros is a globetrotting Rahm Emanuel, an international wheeler-dealer who promotes a crisis to use for his own benefit.

Here is the Soros Plan in a nutshell:  In positive economic times, companies make money and do well.  But bubbles can occur.  When those bubbles break, then financial authorities (this is Soros’ Keynesian word for taxpayer money) must step in to smooth out the broken parts of the bubble.

This plan will keep the markets on an even keel and the big players, namely the investment bankers, will make money all the time—but taxpayer monies will be constantly required to keep the system in order.

The goal of money equilibrium for the status quo has always been a socialist’s, a central banker's, Holy Grail.

Central planners dream of a  centrally-controlled government market place, and the worst possible person to tell us about that is a person who makes his living on the government non-market circuit.  Soros’ statements aren’t negative for financial planners—they are positive—what the financial planners did was perfectly right; now their system just needs a little tweak and twist here and there and a bigger dose of the same.

Soros is a pipeline guy looking for oil and gas in developing countries to exploit for personal profit. He's an international disgrace—who uses his money to buy political systems at the same time he envisions himself as some kind of economic author. Mussolini was a big energy man with good ideas.  Perhaps his views could be expressed at these conferences.

My message to Soros is—This is my money you intend to use to prop up this pretend market. It’s my money to use for my business, for my family members, for my future.  If you think your plan will work, then use your own money, not my money, and see if TBTFs can make it on their own.

IMO, Soros should be in some Italian prison somewhere, away from the light of morning; not in Vienna and Germany parading as some financial guru who has suggestions on how to run markets, particularly the U.S. economy.

Speaking of pretend markets where government's hand is on the scale, guess who’s for the energy bill that proponents first called the cap and trade bill until critics began calling it the cap and tax and now call the energy tax?  BP, of course.

Mon, 06/14/2010 - 00:39 | Link to Comment Adam Neira
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The BIS, IMF, World Bank, US Fed, ECB etc. are aware of the need for oversight in the international economy. George Soros as one of the providers of capital for various projects has a part to play. The private sector must obey certain laws however.

Mon, 06/14/2010 - 01:51 | Link to Comment faustian bargain
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??? 'aware of the need for oversight'? They all want to be the oversight. Soros too. It's called global fascism.

Mon, 06/14/2010 - 08:27 | Link to Comment cbaba
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+1

and these guys do some philanthropy to clean their hands and become nice guys in the society.

 

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 23:44 | Link to Comment dark pools of soros
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The End is Myyyy....ne

Mon, 06/14/2010 - 00:34 | Link to Comment Adam Neira
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"World Peace 2050" the film has many twists and turns. The plot is very interesting. The executive producer has appointed certain directors, actors, writers, extras, set designers and crew. Stay tuned all ! Prayer, vigilance and right action are the tools to employ. G-d is in control. He knows the ending...

Mon, 06/14/2010 - 01:52 | Link to Comment faustian bargain
faustian bargain's picture

Ged? Gid? I don't know this person you're talking about, but he sounds like he needs some serious deposing.

Mon, 06/14/2010 - 00:56 | Link to Comment jrh80
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While one cannot argue conclusively, there was a role that regulators played in popping the internet bubble.  One regulation required that daytraders have a minimum of $25,000 in assets in their brokerage account.  The Fed also spoke of proposing higher margin requirements.  This ultimately did not occur, however trading firms, in order to avoid this possible regulation, started policing themselves.  At the time, I was trading at Etrade and I remember seeing stocks being moved to no margin allowed or higher margin requirements from the normal 50%.  

Mon, 06/14/2010 - 01:23 | Link to Comment Spitzer
Spitzer's picture

Soros is a keynesian, how did him and Jim Rogers ever get along ?

Mon, 06/14/2010 - 01:39 | Link to Comment chumbawamba
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Have you ever considered that Rogers isn't who you think he is?

I am Chumbawamba.

Mon, 06/14/2010 - 05:17 | Link to Comment BumpSkool
BumpSkool's picture

....now that's something that demands an elaboration... Who do you think Rogers is?

Mon, 06/14/2010 - 03:14 | Link to Comment Escapeclaws
Escapeclaws's picture

IMHO what Soros has to say about equilibrium basically correct. His theory of what he calls "reflexivity" is the same thing as "resonance"--what you get when you put a microphone in front of a speaker--in physics, ie, run-away self-reinforcing behavior. He merely observes that market participants factor in the direction and extent of market moves--ie, the market itself--when deciding to buy or sell. This is indeed what technical analysis is all about. The distinction is between rational expectations posited in conventional econmic theory, ie, fundamental analysis and "value investing", vs "trading". Soros backpain was probably his somatic reaction to his recognition of feedback occuring in the market.

All of this is mathematically captured by nonlinear dynamics and by catastrophe theory. Nonlinear dynamics--an increasingly important part of the study of ordinary differential equations (ODE's) captures the feedback behavior of a system, whereas catastrophe theory relates to the current buzzword "tipping points". There is a nice interplay between the two fields. Last week, I posted the url of an article by Didier Sornette in which he examines the effect of "imitative" or "herding" behavior in the tech bubble collapse of 2000-02. The decline of the S&P is beautifully modeled by a log-periodic formula. This, in effect, captures the resonance phenomenon in financial markets.

I had also previously posted various quotations from Vladimir Arnol'ds' book on Catastrophe Theory which discuss how authorities, such as central bankers, should monitor and intervene to control dynamical processes, based on his conclusions from the mathematics of catastrophe theory. Soros' recommendations are right on point with those recommendations, specifically when he says, "Nevertheless, the financial authorities have to accept the assignment, knowing full well that they will not be able to meet it without making mistakes. They will, however, have the benefit of receiving feedback from the markets, which will tell them whether they have done too much or too little. They can then correct their mistakes."

As an aside, I can't help but notice that there is a cynical mindset--which I myself participate in--behind many of the comments on Zerohedge. Example: "Soros is a pipeline guy looking for oil and gas in developing countries to exploit for personal profit. He's an international disgrace—who uses his money to buy political systems at the same time he envisions himself as some kind of economic author. Mussolini was a big energy man with good ideas.  Perhaps his views could be expressed at these conferences." Nothing at all wrong with being cynical; it is more often than not the only way of separating the wheat from the chaff. Nevertheless, epistemologically speaking, cynicism is but one way of regarding reality and has it's own pitfalls. Cynicism constructs it's own reality and tends to be self-reinforcing, particularly when everyone becomes cynical. Just as "truth" for lawyers is essentially the argument of the winner of a lawsuit, so "truth" for cynics can be similarly circumscribed.

Mon, 06/14/2010 - 03:15 | Link to Comment chumbawamba
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There are times to be hopeful and times to be cynical.  It's all in the cycles, you see ;)

Right now we are in the cynical cycle.

I am Chumbawamba.

Mon, 06/14/2010 - 03:17 | Link to Comment Escapeclaws
Escapeclaws's picture

Voila. +1

Mon, 06/14/2010 - 03:52 | Link to Comment Turtle49
Turtle49's picture

Who wrote Soros's speech? 

Afghanistan:  The only thing that stands in the way of glorious wealth and the pipe dream of the PR types are the 24,000,000 humans (give or take a few million) that live in the area.  Just kill them all -- give the contract to terminate the locals to the low bidder with a ceiling of $1 a head -- and annex the area as a protectorate.  Then you can spend $15 trillion doing the environmental impact statement that should be finished sometime before the death of the Universe.  (I want that contract.)  If there are big bucks to be made how come the Chinese are not there right now?  On my Home Planet we have a name for the dream of wealth and stay the stupid course -- bull shit.

 

Mon, 06/14/2010 - 04:16 | Link to Comment chrisina
chrisina's picture

So which one is it? You want a market free of government interventions and regulations but you want to forbid speculators like Soros to make billions by betting against the pound?

Please explain.

Mon, 06/14/2010 - 06:44 | Link to Comment viator
viator's picture

This is a rare one newspaper-only scoop. Frankfurter Allgemeine reports this morning that EU officials will start talks about a bail out for Spain, citing unnamed sourced in Berlin. The paper said the situation had deteriorated so much that they did not want wait until the EU summit on Thursday. It also said neither the European Commission nor the ECB excluded an aid package. The paper quoted Spanish officials as denying that they are about to ask for EU aid, and immediatedly pointed out that Greek officials made the same claims before. The trigger is the freeze in the inter-banking market last week as the markets have lost confidence in the Spanish banking sector.

ww.eurointelligence.com/index.php?id=581&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=2821&tx_ttnews[backPid]=901&cHash=c246cd672a

 

Mon, 06/14/2010 - 09:57 | Link to Comment tip e. canoe
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banzai strikes again!   an equation is worth a thousand words.

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