from Asad Zaman
Market fundamentalism refers to a deep-seated ideological belief in the magical powers of the free market to solve any economic and social problem. The term ‘fundamentalism’ conveys the quasi-religious certainty expressed by contemporary advocates of the free market, who continue to maintain the belief in face of overwhelming amounts of empirical evidence to the contrary. Surprisingly, the term was invented by George Soros, one of the 30 richest men in the world, who has made billions in profits by exploiting this ideology.
The vast wealth of Soros comes from his deep understanding of the weaknesses of the free market. He became known as “the man who broke the Bank of England” when his short-sale of $10 billion worth of British pounds forced the Bank of England to devalue the pound, earning him $1 billion in profits. Free market ideologues support and permit short sales, even though their damaging effects are well documented. The Great Depression was precipitated and prolonged by short sales, which allowed financial sharks to profit from the misery of millions, just as Soros profited at the expense of a whole country. Later, during the East Asian Crisis, Soros also made profits from short sales of the baht and the ringitt, Thai and Malay currencies, as they were declining. However, he got out of the market early because of the justified fears that Mahathir Mohammad, who is not a free market ideologue, would impose capital controls.
Soros was once a student of Karl Popper, one of the greatest advocates of the free market as a key component of an open society. However, he is among the rare few billionaires who have become disenchanted with the workings of the free market which has created their wealth. Whereas his mentor regarded Communism and Fascism as the greatest threats to the “Open Society,” Soros has come to believe that the largest current threat is from market fundamentalism, which prevents the regulations necessary to allow a market to function efficiently, for the benefit of all. read more