Monday, October 13, 2008

George Soros Knows



Another very watchable edition of Bill Moyers' Journal on PBS this week; this time Moyers sits down with billionaire investor George Soros to get his thoughts on the world's current financial tribulations:

PBS: Interview w/George Soros

Set aside about 25 minutes for this one.

A few of Soros comments which stuck with me:

And, you see, it wasn't only in the housing market. There were all kinds of other financial instruments. So there was not just one bubble. I describe in my book there is the housing bubble. But this housing bubble, when that burst, it was only the detonator that exploded the bigger bubble, the super bubble.

Which is this 25 years of constant credit expansion using greater and greater leverage. The amount of credit in the economy has been growing at, I don't know, I don't know the exact figure, but maybe at least twice as fast as the economy itself. I think it's more like three.

And now, suddenly, you have a contraction of credit. And it's a sudden thing. And it's a period of great wealth destruction.


And this one:

You see, for the last 25 years — the world economy — the motor of the world economy was consumption by the American consumer who has been spending more than he has been saving, all right? More than he's been producing. So that motor is now switched off. It's finished. It's run out of — can't continue. You need a new motor.


And finally, this little exchange:

BILL MOYERS: But this is disturbing, George. If everything we're doing keeps accelerating the downward negative feedback and isn't working, are you suggesting, can one insinuate from what you say that we're heading for 1930?

GEORGE SOROS: Hopefully not. But we are heading for undoubtedly very difficult times. This is the end of an era. And this is a fact.

BILL MOYERS: End of an era?

GEORGE SOROS: At the end of an era.

BILL MOYERS: Capitalism as we have known it?

GEORGE SOROS: No. No, no, no. Hopefully, capitalism will survive. But the sort of period where America could actually, for instance, run ever increasing current account deficits. We could consume, at the end, six and a half percent more than we are producing. That has come to an end.

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— Posted by Michael @ 9:32 AM








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