I take great personal offense at New Yorker writer Hendrik Hertzberg (whom I otherwise admire for his acute political commentary) for charging this week that George Soros "made and makes his billions in the amoral world of stock and currency speculation."
"Amoral?" as in lacking in a moral sensibility or not caring about right and wrong?
There's no proof whatsoever that Soros is motivated by amorality in his speculations if you must call his well considered and carefully researched positions in a number of gold mining companies, off shore drilling operations, the Monsanto Corp. and many others that are disclosed regularly in his SEC filings.
Anyone who has read Soros' analysis of the "The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What It Means," in which he spells out his concept, his mantra, his insights into "The New Paradigm For Financial Markets," (Public Affairs, 2008) No, Hertzberg. Nothing "amoral" about being a student of financial markets and understanding when the prices of securities or commodities or currencies have either risen too far or in other cases fallen too far. And then taking advantage of their having gone too far in one direction.
Is it "amoral" to have recognized in the summer of 2008 that the price of crude oil was in a massive bubble and set for a violent fall when it hit $148 a barrel. I call that brilliant and gutsy -- and it provided Soros with a giant profit of God knows how much.
Soros, like others, has studied the fate of the dollar in our deficit-ridden, debt-laden economy and decided that the price of gold was going to rise in value as the globe lost more and more faith in the dollar.
In fact, Soros declared publicly at Davos World Economic Conference in early 2010 that gold was the "ultimate bubble." Anyone who cared could take that notion under consideration. It was in direct contravention of "amoral."
It's tags like these that reveal the bias of the writer against the super-wealthy. Soros may be no angel. But, he is a damned brilliant investor and money-maker whose major moves can be lessons to all the rest of us who don't have the boldness or years of careful analysis to make our own investment decisions.
See my blog "Invest Like Soros, Don't Get Thrown From Gold Bull Market," in which I list Soros 10 largest investment positions.