George Soros

Chairman, Soros Fund Management, LLC; Founder, The Open Society Institute

Born in Budapest in 1930, George Soros survived the Nazi occupation of Hungary during World War II as well as the postwar imposition of Stalinism in his homeland. Soros fled Communist-dominated Hungary in 1947 and made his way to England. Before graduating from the London School of Economics in 1952, Soros studied Karl Popper¹s work in the philosophy of science as well as his critique of totalitarianism, The Open Society and Its Enemies, which maintains that no philosophy or ideology has the final word on the truth and that societies can only flourish when they allow for democratic governance, freedom of expression, a diverse range of opinion, and respect for individual rights. Later, while working as a financial analyst and trader in New York, Soros adapted Popper¹s thinking in developing his own application of the social theory of ³reflexivity,² a set of ideas that seeks to explain how a feedback mechanism can skew how participants in a market value assets on that market. Soros began to apply his ideas on reflexivity to investing, using it to predict, among other things, the emergence of financial bubbles. In 1967, he helped establish an offshore investment fund. In 1973, he set up a private investment firm that eventually evolved into the Quantum Fund, one of the first hedge funds. In 1993, he founded the Open Society Institute. Over the past three decades, Soros¹s philanthropy has spawned a network of foundations dedicated to promoting development of open societies in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States. To date, Soros has given over $8 billion to support human rights, freedom of expression, and access to public health and education in more than 100 countries. Soros' most recent book is Financial Turmoil in Europe and the United States: Essays (2012).