George Soros lectures on capitalism versus an open society

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This post features video recordings of a lecture series by George Soros at the Central European University in Budapest, discussing capitalism versus an open society.

Part 1:
Soros explores the “agency problem” and its impact on both markets and politics. The principal-agent problem, in which those who are to represent others tend to place their interests ahead of those they are supposed to represent, poses a risk to ethical considerations, and in Soros’s view undermines values necessary for the operation of an open society.

Click here or on the image below to view the video clip.


Part 2:
He analyzes the agency problem inherent in the American political system. He believes the main culprit is a decline in public mortality which he says is fostered by the rise of market fundamentalism.

Click here or on the image below to view the video clip.


Part 3:
Soros states that while capitalism is not directly opposed to an open society, it poses a major threat to its survival. Because of opposition, he believes market and political participants should operate in separate spheres. Soros summarizes the lecture with a postulate that a focus on the “cognitive function” and on focusing on the public good will allow representative democracy to function better, and even only a small number of adherents to this would allow a new middle ground to be rediscovered.

Click here or on the image below to view the video clip.


Click here for a transcript of the lecture.

Source: Financial Times (here, here and here), October 29, 2009.

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