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The Fate of the Union: How Europe Must Now Choose Between Economic and Political Revival or Disintegration [Englisch] [Gebundene Ausgabe]

George Soros

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11. März 2014
The European Union could soon be a thing of the past. Xenophobia is rampant and commonly reflected in elections across the continent. Great Britain may hold a referendum on whether to abandon the union altogether. Spurred by anti-EU sentiments due to the euro crisis, national interests conflict with a shared vision for the future of Europe. Is it too late to preserve the union that generated unprecedented peace for more than half a century? This is no mere academic question with limited importance for America and the rest of the world. In the past decade, the EU has declined from a unified global power to a fractious confederation of states with staggering unemployment resentfully seeking relief from a reluctant Germany. If the EU collapses and the former member states are transformed again from partners into rivals, the US and the world will confront the serious economic and political consequences that follow. In a series of revealing interviews conducted by Dr. Gregor Peter Schmitz, George Soros--a man of vast European experience whose personal past informs his present concerns--offers trenchant commentary and concise, prescriptive advice: The euro crisis was not an inevitable consequence of integration, but a result of avoidable mistakes in politics, economics, and finance; and excessive faith in the self-regulating financial markets that Soros calls market fundamentalism inspired flawed institutional structures that call out for reform. Despite the considerable perils of this period, George Soros maintains his faith in the European Union as a model of open society. This book is a testament to his vision for a peaceful and productive Europe.

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"It is clear that his observations about the eurozone crisis and the structural flaws in the euro are largely correct... The book remains an interesting read and Soros does an excellent job of concisely highlighting the challenges facing the EU... The book remains an interesting read and Soros does an excellent job of concisely highlighting the challenges facing the EU."--"""Soros's trenchant critique appears on the mark."--"Financial Times"

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

George Soros is chairman of Soros Fund Management and is the founder of a global network of foundations dedicated to supporting open societies. He is the author of several bestselling books including The Crash of 2008: The New Paradigm for Financial Markets; The Crisis of Global Capitalism; The Bubble of American Supremacy; Underwriting Democracy; and The Age of Fallibility. He was born in Budapest and lives in New York City. Dr. Gregor Peter Schmitz is Europe correspondent of Der Spiegel, one of Europe's leading newsmagazines.

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8 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Great snapshot of the current EU situation (and more) by the best global macro HF manager ever. 22. März 2014
Von Faluvegi Balazs - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Even though Soros studied philosophy and economics in London during the fifties, he learned much more from practice. As a pioneer of the Hedge Fund industry, and the most successful global macro manager ever, understands every aspect of the economic and political developments through the markets behavior. This the reason, that he is one of the best to teach us, what really causes the problems in the EU.

During the interview - which is conducted by an experienced journalist, Peter Schmitz from the Spiegel - Soros mostly talks about the current state of the EU economy, focusing especially of the vast disharmony between the financial and banking system in relation to the Euro. I was surprised many times when I was reading Soros' thoughts about the reasons. I knew from his earlier articles at some level, that he blamed Germany's selfish attitude, but I also thought the he also blames the PIGS countries either. It turns out, that only the first one is true. Soros has very profound arguments to support this view. I also didn't know, that he has such a pessimistic view on the future, especially that a decade ago he wrote in his books about the open society, he said that the EU is a role-model for the global community in building an open society. Of course, that doesn't guarantee economic success, something that he admits now.

Even though the book has one of the clearest view of the current snapshot of the EU economy, Soros tends to change subject too many times (something he tends to do in his other interviews too), which is a little annoying when you'd like to read more about the reasons behind his arguments, and Schmitz doesn't always handle him well in these cases. One example: as a Hungarian, I was personally a little disappointed, that when Soros was talking about the new EU countries and their more healthy state, but when he mentions that Hungary (where he was born and still has many roots) is an exception, Schmitz doesn't ask what he is referring to. The other problem is, that the book is quite short, one can suspect, that Soros had more to say, even though he touches many subjects including his life, hedge funds, other parts of the global economy, etc..

In the book, especially in the appendix, one can learn some more details about the basis of Soros theory of the markets and the society dynamics. These parts are mostly familiar for those, who read his earlier works. Also we can learn some of his life events, which are also repetition from his earlier books and interviews.

To summarize it, this book is well worth a read if you want to understand why is the EU and especially the Eurozone in its current situation. Five star, if it's the first Soros book or extensive interview for the reader, but four if you've read his earlier books.
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen Good title, but no ansers 8. April 2014
Von Rudolf E. Baer - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
"The Tragedy of the European Union.." makes interesting reading, but provides no answers. The content of the Appendix, which represents about a quarter of the book, has been published before.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen From an expert with a great track record 14. Mai 2014
Von Amazon Customer - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
A good summary of the issues in Europe and some solutions from somebody who has a strong track proven record in understanding how the economic system works practically.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen nice book 14. Mai 2014
Von Jimmy Yu - Veröffentlicht auf
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It is a nice book. Give me the thought of why European country will go down and bankrupt. George Soros make a good comment on European economy.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Still a better trader than philosopher 7. Mai 2014
Von Athan - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
The book is more about Soros himself than it is about the European Union.

In four interviews with the Europe correspondent of Der Spiegel you discover the wartime experiences that shaped Soros’ romantic views about the European Union as an “ideal free and open society” and gave him his fundamental insight that if the rules are past their sell-by date you need to break them. Soros tells us what he thinks the EU did right, where he thinks it steered wrong (when it imposed a common currency without carrying on with the reforms that would render the EU an ideal currency union), and why he thinks Europe is now condemned to a lesser future than it could have achieved. You also discover how bad the legendary trader wants to be remembered as a philosopher and a man who used his financial resources to help shape history. And his views about the Middle East, the Ukraine and world politics in general are actually very relevant. Leave it to him to say Putin is currently supporting Assad so the price of oil can stay above 100. You really need to be an 83-year-old billionaire to put that sort of thing in print.

That said, I think he’s got the tragedy wrong. As I’m writing this, Italy can issue 10yr bonds at 3% yield and Angela Merkel’s softly-softly approach that he spends two of the four interviews attacking, seems to have worked. The main economic issue Soros laments, namely that European states have been forced into the position of Latin American countries borrowing in dollars, the essence of the tragedy, seems to be resolved. And Angela Merkel who did not do something radical when she faced a different environment, who did not “lead or leave” Europe, looks vindicated.

That, I presume, is where the fifth chapter of his book ought to come into play, the bonus Appendix where he explains his theory of human fallibility and reflexivity, negative feedback loops (of the kind that made the spread of Italy mean-revert to the current 100bp versus Germany) and positive feedback loops that made it explode in 2011. Soros will have to wait for one of those positive feedback loops, I fear. Meantime, us mortals will have to chuckle about the fact that the theory mainly applies to giants like himself who actually CAN move the market when they trade. I don’ think Apple stock much cares when I’m in and out…

IMHO, the tragedy is not that Germany did not lead, it’s that Europe came face-to-face with bankruptcy and refused to change. Italy still has 28 closed professions and the infamous Article 18 that restricts the size of most business to 15 employees, Greece still has 700,000 public employees (against, say 1,700,000 federal employees in the US), Spanish banks have still only admitted that 13% of their loans won’t be paid, Brussels continues to refuse any assistance to Southern European states that are begging for help with immigration; German real estate is about to go stratospheric due to inappropriately lax and cheap money. We continue to have a distinct North and South, basically, and that’s because it is now 100% expected that the ECB will print.

Soros fails to predict, in essence, that Germany would endorse monetization, and laments an austerity that will not take place for a little while more, when we get to the point of sharing the American experience, which is that you cannot lift anyone but the very rich with the help of the printing press.

Merkel bended, basically. I await the next Soros book, where we’re told why that wasn’t enough.
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