Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Interview with George Soros: the Fall of Europe

On May 12, George Soros was awarded the Tiziano Terzani Prize for his 2012 book Financial Turmoil in Europe and the United States: Essays. The following interview is adapted from a press conference in Udine, Italy, on that occasion.

Soros is well known for his political and economic influence.

SOROS: I have been very concerned about Europe. The euro is in the process of destroying the European Union. To some extent, this has already happened, in the sense that the EU was meant to be a voluntary association of equal states. The crisis has turned it into something that is radically different: a relationship between creditors and debtors. And, in a financial crisis, the creditors are in charge. It is no longer a relationship between equals. The fate of Italy, for example, is no longer determined by Italian politics – which is in a crisis of its own, I would say – but rather by the creditor/debtor relationship. That is really what dictates policies.

QUESTION: But the stock markets are apparently in good condition. Why do you think we are in a crisis? Do you think this kind of honeymoon will go on for a long time?

SOROS: The answer is no. We are in what I call a far-from-equilibrium situation. Therefore, it cannot last. But I am not in a position to predict the future.


QUESTION: Do you think the current economic crisis is possibly the final step in a general philosophical crisis in the West?

SOROS: I discussed this in 2000, in my book on The Crisis Of Global Capitalism: Open Society Endangered . So far, global capitalism is surviving, but with great difficulty. I hope it will continue to do so, but with less difficulty. I don’t think there is a viable alternative to global capitalism, but it does need better institutions.