Soros attacks Capitalism
February 4, 1997: 9:48 p.m. ET

Financier blasts West for not giving enough aid to emerging societies
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DAVOS, Switzerland (CNNfn) -- Billionaire financier George Soros blasted Western countries for not sharing the riches of capitalism with poorer nations trying to emerge from decades of oppression under the Soviet Union.
     Soros made waves at the World Economic Forum here last week with his biting criticism of capitalism, saying it has replaced Communism as the biggest threat to an open society.
     He claimed the West has abandoned Eastern Europe, letting the region wallow in misery as it struggles to shake off the legacy of its tyrannical past.
     "I have been disturbed how the open societies of the West did not seem to be very concerned with the principles of an open society," he told CNNfn. "They were not ready to make any sacrifices or any real effort to establish the basis of open societies in (Eastern Europe). It made me question what the open societies of the West stand for."
     Soros said the West is ruled by the stock market, which always leaves poor people behind.
     "The belief that the markets are perfect is very dangerous," he said, " because in fact they are very unstable. And they don't lead to the best allocation of resources because they tend to make the rich richer."
     Critics of Soros called his charges hollow. They said it is hypocritical for him to take this stand after making billions playing the markets.
     But Soros said his success supports his beliefs.
     "It's easy to say that here's a guy who got rich and he shouldn't be taken seriously," he said. "The fact that I made so much money is proof that the markets are not perfect. I recognized it and exploited it and this is how I got rich."
     The billionaire added that he agreed with Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's warning that the markets are overpriced.
     "The markets are always on the side of exuberance or fear. It's fear and greed. Right now greed has the better of it, which is rather nice (for investors) as long as it doesn't get out of hand," Soros said.Back to top


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