Mr. Soros' peculiar moral values, political views, and ideological preferences would be immaterial without the money that he can spend promoting and imposing them. The bulk of that money-currently estimated at not less than seven billion dollars-was earned in the minus-sum game of currency and stock speculation, contributing nothing to the creation of wealth and making millions of ordinary people poorer in the process. His offshore Quantum Fund-legally headquartered in Curacao, beyond U.S.-government supervision-specializes in speculative investments to take advantage of deliberately induced political and economic weaknesses of different countries and regions. In an interview with the Swiss weekly L'hebdo (May 1993), Soros outlined his strategy: "I speculate on discrepancy between the reality and the public image of this reality, until a correctional mechanism occurs, which approaches these two."
His profits are staggering. On September 16, 1992, he famously made a billion dollars in one day by betting against the Bank of England and the pound sterling. In July 1997, he contributed to the Southeast Asian financial crisis by shorting the Thai bath. In early 2000, he supposedly suffered losses on tech stocks, but some analysts now suggest that the burn of the NASDAQ was controlled and that Soros helped to start the fire. By last November, he was betting the U.S. dollar would plummet. As the London Independent reported (November 28, 2003), his activities were contributing to a growing belief on Wall Street that the dollar would slide even further.
There is nothing new in Soros' approach to making money or in the ability of such a person to make an impact, invariably detrimental, on his host society's morals and culture. What is new with Mr. Soros-in addition to the implausible claim that a private speculator could get as far as he has unaided by any established financial interests-is his systematic, concerted effort to use a large part of his fortune to promote his peculiar social and political views. He does so through a global network of "nongovernmental organizations" named after himself and active primarily in Eastern Europe but also in Africa, Latin America, and the United States. At age 75, money is not his object but his tool. He has used it to develop a well-coordinated global operation centered on the Open Society Institute (OSI) in New York, which funds a network of subsidiaries in over 50 countries.