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.
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