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Financial Turmoil in Europe and the United States: Essays Hardcover – February 7, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; 1 edition (February 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1610391527
  • ISBN-13: 978-1610391528
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #148,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Kirkus Reviews
“Soros is someone who has made his billions… anticipating the reaction of markets to ordinary realities, pleasant and otherwise—so it’s well worth paying attention to his views on the world’s financial systems.  Not for the faint of heart or the innumerate. For policy and financial wonks, a bracing read.”

Bloomberg
“Soros has called himself ‘a failed philosopher.’ He’s actually a rarer species: A pathologist of market linkages and psychology -- a man who quickly grasps how an unhealthy growth of credit here will morph into a morbid bubble there. His diagnoses are clear, whether he’s describing commodity index investing or former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s flawed plan to purchase distressed mortgage-backed securities.”
 
New York Journal of Books
“The current financial crisis is explained concisely with eloquence. Understanding what is happening and what is to be done is reason enough to read Financial Turmoil. . . . Dr. Soros shows us once again in these essays that he is not only a competent trader. He is an admirable thinker, and an adept policy analyst. If we were all as good at political economy as he is there would be no financial bubbles—and there would probably be less financial turmoil.”
 
Bloomberg
“This is a compilation of op-ed articles that the billionaire investor wrote as the euro crisis boiled up. As a retread, it displays Soros’s knack for assessing market linkages and psychology on the fly.”
 
Malaysia Star
“Every essay is excellent in brevity and content, attesting to Soros' consummate skill as a writer and his level of expertise as an investor. The introduction being the lead-in to a more serious matter is the best. In an astounding clear prose Soros explains the root of the crisis, calling it the culmination of a super bubble built since the 1980s under the reign of Reaganomics and Thatcherism that advocated for minimal government interference. Soro's recount of the aftermath of the crisis is by far the clearest. Not only is the sequence of events covered relevant, the principles and beliefs shaping minds of policy makers assigned to carry out rescue efforts are bluntly refuted.”
 
LSE Review of Books
“A curious combination of philosophy, finance and policy advice… His analysis is extremely authoritative and by pursuing his theory of ‘reflexivity’, his account has a certain uniqueness. It is also re-assuring to find that his argument is sufficiently complex as to be almost contradictory at times. Many accounts of the crisis seem to work the facts around a pre-determined narrative; Soros works his narrative around the facts… The book is a brisk and easy read, which contains such diversity of opinion as to interest anyone with an eye on recent events.”

About the Author

George Soros is chairman of Soros Fund Management and is the founder of a global network of foundations dedicated to supporting open societies. He is the author of several best-selling books including The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Crash of 2008; The Crisis of Global Capitalism; The Bubble of American Supremacy; Underwriting Democracy; and The Age of Fallibility. He was born in Budapest and lives in New York City.

More About the Author

George Soros was born in Budapest, Hungary on August 12, 1930. He survived the occupation of Budapest and left communist Hungary in 1947 for England, where he graduated from the London School of Economics. While a student at LSE, Mr. Soros became familiar with the work of the philosopher Karl Popper, who had a profound influence on his thinking and later on his professional and philanthropic activities. The financier. In 1956 Mr. Soros moved to the United States, where he began to accumulate a large fortune through an international investment fund he founded and managed. Today he is Chairman of Soros Fund Management LLC.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Yoda on February 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Any review of this book would have to start with what this book is and what its intended audience is. This book is not an original text but instead consists of a compilation of articles written for the Financial Times, New York Review of Books and the Wall Street Journal as well as testimony in front of the U.S. Senates' Commerce Committee. The bulk of these articles, about 80% of the total text, come from the articles written for the Financial Times. As such, they are written, obviously, for the audience that reads this paper - those very knowledgeable regarding macroeconomics and international finance. The articles assume that readers already have a good knowledge regarding those fields (i.e., at least equal to an upper level undergraduate economics major's education but more like that akin to an MA or MBA in the field). Readers without such a background would not obtain much from these articles.

The articles are assembled into four sections, each written in the years 2008 through 2011 inclusively. The articles begin with the onset of the crash in 2008 and end addressing the Euro crisis as it unfolded through the end of 2011. Those in the first half of the book (roughly) cover the need to provide liquidity to the banking and finance sectors in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 crash. Soros was opposed to the form of Paulson's original TARP plan, which would have provided Paulson with a blank check to act as he pleased, and instead proposed an injection of liquidity in the form of equity into the banking and finance systems instead. Soros makes the case that this would have been more efficient than ridding the banks of "toxic assets".
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Baraniecki Mark Stuart on February 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This excellent book is a collection of newspaper and magazine articles written by George Soros between 2008 and 2011 in which he covers the stock market crash of 2008, financial reform, the worldwide credit crisis and the Eurozone crisis of 2011.

There are now plenty of books about the credit crisis but they mostly explain what happened without giving much of an indication of how to find a way out. As of this writing (Feb. 2012) we are still in the thick of it and Soros' articles are usefully light on apportioning blame (we already know who did it) with the majority of the text dedicated to finding realistic solutions.

He sees the root of the problem in assets that were previously seen as riskless, but which are now, on the contrary, perceived as full of risk or maybe even worthless (e.g. AAA Sub Prime or Greek government bonds) and he goes directly to the point in suggesting that banks should keep their non-performing assets (it was their mistake after all) and receive large equity injections to keep them afloat and in the business of lending.
He accepts that this would be costly and he also sees a very important role for government in a) stopping the inflation of bubbles by controlling leverage and insisting on transparency b) banning outright credit default swaps that he sees as only serving to allow the completely dangerous unlimited shorting of bonds.

The sovereign debt/ Euro crisis is presented as needing serious and effective central financial control in the form of a European Treasury with the right to tax and control spending, although he recognizes the many political hurdles that need to be crossed to reach the finishing line of a safe Euro and responsible government budgets.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By mandrake on May 17, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The brilliant George Soros is right on the mark a couple years ahead of the events. Europe is collapsing and the one percent really want that collapse. Soros is the guy with the sign walking the streets saying the "End of the World" Repent austerity sinners and look to Saint Keynes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gderf on December 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Soros shares his expertise on currency speculation as well as politics. This series of short articles ( 2008-11) by George Soros is very informative on a number of economic topics, especially regarding the euro and Eurozone politics.

He cites construction flaws in EU governance including no common treasury and banking system weakness. He says the EU not political (Is the EU tending towards a political union?)
It needs an exit strategy for those not meeting requirements. It seems likely that there would be no members left. He shows that with Greece borrowing at 3%, they are not getting the purported benefits of the union. Germany has changed policy from promotion of the EU to reluctance to use deep pockets for rescue packages. He says that Germany must defend the euro. He proposes three steps to solve the current crisis:
1.a new treaty
2.isolate contagion
3.lower discount rate
A long term solution is more complicated involving a new treaty, EFSF assumption of Greek debt and guarantee of the banking system, ECB control of banks, control of risk and discount rate. Soros advocates delaying bank recapitalization until the current debt crisis is over. However, he wants Germany to guarantee the recapitalization process.

My impression of his economic idea of reflexivity is that it is a good refutation of standard equilibrium theory of market supply and demand rather than a useful algorithm for anyone but Soros. He believes CDOs have destructive effect on markets, although he seems to be one of few who understand them well enough to profit. He derides TARP as an effort to inflate away debt. Suggestions for reform in the USA include liquidation of GSEs Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac. We need enhanced competition not QE. His Inconsistent politics shows well founded contempt for past actions combined with a surprising expectation of better governance in the future. He deplores peace meal social engineering and misalignment of risks.
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