George Soros quotes talk about various financial strategies and theories and about other difficult subjects. He speaks often in a way that is hard for the simple minded man to understand, it often requires a greater intellect to comprehend the words and sentences he puts together. His quotes show that he has an issue with world order and thinks it needs changing. He joins a list of Billionaires like Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates who all practice philanthropy.
George Soros, Hon FBA is a Hungarian-American billionaire philanthropist and investor. In one of his quotes, he showed his disapproval for philanthropy, so it is surprising he is known to be one. He even showed his disapproval for what George W. Bush did after the tragic 911 episode. Below are a number of quotes from Soros.
“I'm only rich because I know when I'm wrong.”
“It's not whether you're right or wrong, but how much money you make when you're right and how much you lose when you're wrong.”
“It is much easier to put existing resources to better use, than to develop resources where they do not exist.”
“Misconceptions play a prominent role in my view of the world.”
“How good are markets in predicting real-world developments? Reading the record, it is striking how many calamities that I anticipated did not in fact materialise.
“Scientific method seeks to understand things as they are, while alchemy seeks to bring about a desired state of affairs. To put it another way, the primary objective of science is truth, - that of alchemy, operational success.”
“The fact that a thesis is flawed does not mean that we should not invest in it as long as other people believe in it and there is a large group of people left to be convinced. The point was made by John Maynard Keynes when he compared the stock market to a beauty contest where the winner is not the most beautiful contestant but the one whom the greatest number of people consider beautiful. Where I have something significant to add is in pointing out that it pays to look for the flaws; if we find them, we are ahead of the game because we can limit our losses when the market also discovers what we already know. It is when we are unaware of what could go wrong that we have to worry.”
“In my view, philanthropy goes against the grain; therefore it generates a lot of hypocrisy and many paradoxes. Here are some examples: Philanthropy is supposed to be devoted to the benefit of others, but philanthropists are primarily concerned with their own benefit; philanthropy is supposed to help people, yet it often makes people dependent and turns them into objects of charity; applicants tell foundations what they want to hear, then proceed to do what the applicant wants to do.”
“I developed a theory of salesmanship based on the principle that one must not on any account identify oneself with the merchandise one is selling. Selling is a game where you score when you make a sale. If you allow your ego to be involved, the customer can brush you off and you lose; but if you do not identify yourself with your work you will be able to redouble your efforts when you are rejected, and if you make a sale you come out the winner.”
“Values are closely associated with with the concept of self - a reflexive concept if ever there was one. What we think has a much greater bearing on what we are than on the world around us. What we are cannot possibly correspond to what we think we are, but there is a two-way interplay between the two concepts. As we make our way in the world our sense of self evolves. The relationship between what we think we are and what we are in reality is the key to happiness - in other words, it provides the subjective meaning of life.”
“I commissioned two political experts to advise me about what I could do to oppose the re-election of President Bush.”
“The world order needs a major overhaul.”
“There is a powerful case for the market mechanism, but it is not that markets are perfect; it is that in a world dominated by imperfect understanding, markets provide an efficient feedback mechanism for evaluating the results of one's decisions and correcting mistakes.”
“My peculiarity is that I don't have a particular style of investing or, more exactly, I try to change my style to fit the conditions.”
“On the abstract level, I have turned the belief in my own fallibility into the cornerstone of an elaborate philosophy. On a personal level, I am a very critical person who looks for defects in myself as well as in others. But, being so critical, I am also quite forgiving. I couldn't recognize my mistakes if I couldn't forgive myself. To others, being wrong is a source of shame; to me, recognizing my mistakes is a source of pride. Once we realize that imperfect understanding is the human condition, there is no shame in being wrong, only in failing to correct our mistakes.”
“My main concern is with the world order.”
“At present, the developed countries condescend to the developing ones.”
“Markets are constantly in a state of uncertainty and flux and money is made by discounting the obvious and betting on the unexpected.”
“The prevailing wisdom is that markets are always right. I take the opposition position. I assume that markets are always wrong. Even if my assumption is occasionally wrong, I use it as a working hypothesis. It does not follow that one should always go against the prevailing trend. On the contrary, most of the time the trend prevails; only occasionally are the errors corrected. It is only on those occasions that one should go against the trend. This line of reasoning leads me to look for the flaw in every investment thesis. ... I am ahead of the curve. I watch out for telltale signs that a trend may be exhausted. Then I disengage from the herd and look for a different investment thesis. Or, if I think the trend has been carried to excess, I may probe going against it. Most of the time we are punished if we go against the trend. Only at an inflection point are we rewarded.”
“It is dangerous to build systemic reforms on a close association with one particular government. Systemic reforms need broad public participation and support. That is what makes them irreversible.”
“Economic theory is devoted to the study of equilibrium positions. The concept of equilibrium is very useful. It allows us to focus on the final outcome rather than the process that leads up to it. But the concept is also very deceptive. It has the aura of something empirical: since the adjustment process is supposed to lead to an equilibrium, an equilibrium position seems somehow implicit in our observations. That is not true. Equilibrium itself has rarely been observed in real life — market prices have a notorious habit of fluctuating.”
“The very first sentence of the September 2002 National Security Strategy (the President's annual laying out to Congress of the country's security objectives) reads, "The great struggles of the twentieth century between liberty and totalitarianism ended with a decisive victory for the forces of freedom and a single sustainable model for national success: freedom, democracy, and free enterprise."
“The main difference between me and other people who have amassed this kind of money is that I am primarily interested in ideas, and I don't have much personal use for money. But I hate to think what would have happened if I hadn't made money: My ideas would not have gotten much play.”
“Everybody says that I have a lot of power. But what does that power consist of?... Can I influence governments? I am beginning to be able to..." (1995)”
“It's more difficult, you know, to bring about positive change than it is to make money. It's much easier to make money, because it's a much easier way to measure success — the bottom line. When it comes to social consequences, they've got all different people acting in different ways, very difficult to even have a proper criterion of success. So, it's a difficult task. Why not use an entrepreneurial, rather than a bureaucratic, approach. As long as people genuinely care for the people they're trying to help, they can actually do a lot of good.”
“I CAN STATE THE CORE IDEA in two relatively simple propositions. One is that in situations that have thinking participants, the participants’ view of the world is always partial and distorted. That is the principle of fallibility. The other is that these distorted views can influence the situation to which they relate because false views lead to inappropriate actions. That is the principle of reflexivity.”
“The anti-resource curse initiative has stronger legs than most and that has made me very enthusiastic.”
"The main obstacle to further progress is the resource curse in China, and to a lesser extent in India."
“We may have true statements about situations that we are not involved in, and by understanding our own situations, we may approach the truth more or less. However, there is definitely some difference between reality and our own worldview, and this difference is part of reality. That is why the reality is so complex, and that is why full understanding becomes impossible. Reality is a moving target that forever exceeds our capabilities. Participation and understanding interact with each other to make sure that understanding is imperfect and that our actions have unexpected consequences.”
“I wish I could write a book that will be read for as long as our civilization lasts… I would value it much more than any business success if I could contribute to an understanding of the world in which we live or, better yet, if I could help preserve the economic and political system that has allowed me to flourish as a participant.”
“I'm not doing my philanthropic work, out of any kind of guilt, or any need to create good public relations. I'm doing it because I can afford to do it, and I believe in it."
“You know, I learned at a very early age that what kind of social system or political system prevails is very important. Not just for your well-being, but for your very survival. Because, you know, I could've been killed by the Nazis. I could have wasted my life under the Communists. So that's what led me to this idea of an open society. And that is the idea that is motivating me.”
"Although we can't rid ourselves of misconceptions, we can correct them when we become aware of them."
"Politicians will respect, rather than manipulate, reality only if the public cares about the truth and punishes politicians when it catches them in deliberate deception."
“If the cognitive function were operated in isolation, without any interference from the manipulative function, it could produce knowledge. Knowledge is represented by true statements. A statement is true if it corresponds to the facts. But if the manipulative function is at work, the facts no longer serve as an independent criterion of truth."
“I like to put it, we have a hit pay dirt. The effort to cure the resource curse is a good example of what private foundations working with NGOs can accomplish.”
“In economics, contingent, time- and context-bound theories.”
“For the sake of completeness, it should be mentioned that theories based on the principle of human insecurity are also flawed, otherwise they would invalidate the principle itself. The mistake inherent in the theory is that it does not make firm assumptions. What brings these principles closer to the representation of reality than deterministic theories, however, is to refrain from making false statements and to be open to modifications in the light of practice. Open societies are more open to development than closed societies.”
“For the sake of completeness, I have to mention that theories based on the principle of human insecurity are also flawed, otherwise they would invalidate the principle itself. The mistake inherent in the theory is that it does not make firm assumptions. What brings these principles closer to the representation of reality than deterministic theories, however, is to refrain from making false statements and to be open to modifications in the light of practice. Open societies are more open to development than closed societies.”
George Soros quotes are complicated, yet they must carry valuable information, he is a billionaire after all. He says he would love to change the world but recognized that is a difficult task. i hope his quotes are a benefit to anyone seeking financial advice and prowess.