America's New Engine of Growth
George Soros is a Hungarian-born American financial speculator, stock investor, philanthropist, and political activist. Famously known for “breaking the Bank of England” on Black Wednesday in 1992, Soros’ estimated current net worth of around $9 billion ranks him the 99th-richest person in the world according to Forbes.
Currently, Soros is chairman of Soros Fund Management and the Open Society Institute, a grantmaking foundation that aims to shape public policy to promote democratic governance and human rights. Soros is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Council on Foreign Relations. Mr. Soros is the author of nine books, including most recently The New Paradigm for Financial Markets - The Crash of 2008 and What it Means.
George Soros: The engine of growth in the super bubble was the American consumer that consumed more than it produced.
For various reasons, we were able to build up a current account deficit that amounted eventually to 6.5 or 7% of the GNP. And also the consumers/householders were withdrawing from their equity from their mortgages, which was actually about the same at the end. It’s slightly larger, about $900 billion annualized.
That was the engine of growth for the world, and that engine is now switched off. It’s been knocked out. So, we need another engine. And in my opinion, in the end, it will be the problem connected with energy.
Global warming, which is threatening to our civilization and is not actually addressed, needs to be addressed. At the same time, we are also concerned about the ever rising cost of exploring for fossil fuels, particularly oil, and of course energy independence. And all those three factors required to develop alternate source of energy and invest in energy saving investments. And that ought to be the motor of the economy that is going to take us out of the recession, where you’re going to have unemployed resources, and those resources are better employed, rather than paying unemployment benefits, better employed or put to use in that direction.
That is where I see the way out of the global recession or depression that we are currently heading into.
Recorded on Oct 23, 2008.
Hear what billionaire George Soros says will fuel America's next economic boom.
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Can dirt help us fight off stress? Groundbreaking new research shows how.
- New research identifies a bacterium that helps block anxiety.
- Scientists say this can lead to drugs for first responders and soldiers, preventing PTSD and other mental issues.
- The finding builds on the hygiene hypothesis, first proposed in 1989.
Are modern societies trying too hard to be clean, at the detriment to public health? Scientists discovered that a microorganism living in dirt can actually be good for us, potentially helping the body to fight off stress. Harnessing its powers can lead to a "stress vaccine".
Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder found that the fatty 10(Z)-hexadecenoic acid from the soil-residing bacterium Mycobacterium vaccae aids immune cells in blocking pathways that increase inflammation and the ability to combat stress.
The study's senior author and Integrative Physiology Professor Christopher Lowry described this fat as "one of the main ingredients" in the "special sauce" that causes the beneficial effects of the bacterium.
The finding goes hand in hand with the "hygiene hypothesis," initially proposed in 1989 by the British scientist David Strachan. He maintained that our generally sterile modern world prevents children from being exposed to certain microorganisms, resulting in compromised immune systems and greater incidences of asthma and allergies.
Contemporary research fine-tuned the hypothesis, finding that not interacting with so-called "old friends" or helpful microbes in the soil and the environment, rather than the ones that cause illnesses, is what's detrimental. In particular, our mental health could be at stake.
"The idea is that as humans have moved away from farms and an agricultural or hunter-gatherer existence into cities, we have lost contact with organisms that served to regulate our immune system and suppress inappropriate inflammation," explained Lowry. "That has put us at higher risk for inflammatory disease and stress-related psychiatric disorders."
University of Colorado Boulder
This is not the first study on the subject from Lowry, who published previous work showing the connection between being exposed to healthy bacteria and mental health. He found that being raised with animals and dust in a rural environment helps children develop more stress-proof immune systems. Such kids were also likely to be less at risk for mental illnesses than people living in the city without pets.
Lowry's other work also pointed out that the soil-based bacterium Mycobacterium vaccae acts like an antidepressant when injected into rodents. It alters their behavior and has lasting anti-inflammatory effects on the brain, according to the press release from the University of Colorado Boulder. Prolonged inflammation can lead to such stress-related disorders as PTSD.
The new study from Lowry and his team identified why that worked by pinpointing the specific fatty acid responsible. They showed that when the 10(Z)-hexadecenoic acid gets into cells, it works like a lock, attaching itself to the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR). This allows it to block a number of key pathways responsible for inflammation. Pre-treating the cells with the acid (or lipid) made them withstand inflammation better.
Lowry thinks this understanding can lead to creating a "stress vaccine" that can be given to people in high-stress jobs, like first responders or soldiers. The vaccine can prevent the psychological effects of stress.
What's more, this friendly bacterium is not the only potentially helpful organism we can find in soil.
"This is just one strain of one species of one type of bacterium that is found in the soil but there are millions of other strains in soils," said Lowry. "We are just beginning to see the tip of the iceberg in terms of identifying the mechanisms through which they have evolved to keep us healthy. It should inspire awe in all of us."
Check out the study published in the journal Psychopharmacology.
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