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Saturday, June 05, 2004
 
Soros Demonization Ramps Up

I'm just adding my bit to the chorus of disgust resulting from Tony Blankley's remarks about George Soros on Fox's Hannity and Colmes June 3.

Among other things ("He is a self-admitted atheist, he was a Jew who figured out a way to survive the Holocaust," critique of which I will leave to my esteemed colleagues among the non-bigots), Blankley accused Soros of "plundering the world's currencies," and "caus[ing] the Southeast Asian financial crisis in '97." I addressed another instance of this slander back in February, to the effect that Soros didn't plunder anything. He saw big, pre-existing imbalances in currency markets and profited from them. In doing so, it is quite likely that he prevented worse damage to the international financial system by popping currency bubbles before they could do more damage.

The real scumbaggery in Blankley's defamation comes from his standards of convenience when it comes to a democrat as opposed to a republican. "He's buying influence all over the world. He's a robber baron, he's a pirate capitalist, and he's a reckless man."

What sort of restraint would Blankley advocate Soros to have used? What's a capitalist to do when he sees an extraordinary opportunity to make money? Was he to stop himself, and say to those involved in the situation, "uh...gents, I believe the British Pound is tremendously overvalued. If I weren't such a nice guy, I could have taken the shirts right off your backs. Just thought you should know." They'd have laughed in his face. The Bank of England felt it was justified in keeping the exchange rate far above the point at which it would have otherwise been.

For Soros to have held himself back from legal means to make money is precisely the opposite of capitalism. Pursuit of self-interest in the form of wealth is what capitalism is all about. If Blankley is advocating that there should have been legal restrictions on Soros's ability to make his currency bets, then he's an apostate of the first order to conservative dogma. He clearly doesn't believe this principle should hold universally, but just for those with politics that differ from his own. He is a rank hypocrite.

Update: Non-bigot Max Sawicky takes out the trash. It's one of those days when the piddling liberal generalist (me) addresses the economic aspects and the distinguished liberal economist addresses everything else. Go figure. See also Kevin Drum's comments.