There are a lot of people out there who will be most familiar with George Soros as a political bogeyman. However, Soros is a real person. Furthermore, he is willing to back up his liberal politics with both his enormous wealth and his enormous influence as a multi-billionaire, which explains much about how he winded up as a political bogeyman. Regardless, Soros is believed to have a current net worth of more than $8 billion. Something that is particularly impressive because he donated $18 billion to the collection of charities called Open Society Foundations in October of 2017.
How Did George Soros Reach His Current Net Worth?
For those who are unfamiliar, Soros was born to a prosperous Jewish family in the Kingdom of Hungary. Like a lot of other upper-middle class Hungarian Jews in those times, they weren’t very comfortable with their roots, which presumably played a part in them being non-observant. However, it should be mentioned that there was an element of blending in as well, which was critical because Hungary was becoming more and more antisemitic in the lead-up to World War Two. In fact, Soros’s family changed their family name from the German Jewish-sounding Schwartz to the Hungarian-sounding Soros for this precise purpose.
In March of 1944, Nazi Germany occupied Hungary. There were some Hungarian Jews who deluded themselves into thinking that they could be spared the Holocaust by somehow placating the Nazis, but Soros’s father Tivadar Soros wasn’t one of them. Instead, he ensured the survival of his family by securing documents saying that they were Christians rather than Jews. Furthermore, he secured even more documents before selling them on to others based on their means as well as their circumstances, thus helping them to survive as well. On top of this, Tivadar Soros split up the family so that even if one of the family members were caught, the others would still have a chance to survive the war. This is the period when Soros pretended to be the godson of a Hungarian agricultural official, who himself had a Jewish wife who had to hide. Something that has been used to smear him as a Nazi collaborator by a disturbing number of conspiracy theorists.
Anyways, Soros survived the war, which is how he was able to immigrate to England where he became a student at the prestigious London School of Economics. In those times, he had to work as a waiter as well as a porter to make ends meet for himself. However, it is interesting to note that some of his current political views were already in place, as shown by how he would sometimes stand at Speakers’ Corner for the purpose of lauding internationalism in the constructed language Esperanto. In this, it seems safe to say that Tivadar Soros had a fair amount of influence on his son, seeing as how he was a huge Esperanto enthusiast.
Eventually, Soros managed to get a job at a merchant bank by pure persistence, which in his case, involved writing every managing director at every merchant bank in the whole of London. From there, he entered the field of arbitrage. For those who are unfamiliar, arbitrage is the practice of making money by capitalizing on price differences in two or more markets, which can be very lucrative for those who can act fast enough when they notice such circumstances. In time, Soros went on to enter the world of investments, thus resulting in the eventual creation of the very successful Soros Fund Management.
As Soros built up his wealth, he built up his influences as well, so much so that he is sometimes seen as someone who can have a notable impact on national economies. One example would be his famous short position on the pound sterling in the months leading up to September of 1992, which was based on his perception that the United Kingdom had a very unfavorable position in the European Exchange Rate Mechanism. As it turned out, Soros was right, which is how he walked away with more than a billion in profit in exchange for being labeled the man who broke the Bank of England. Besides this, there was the time when the Malaysian prime minister Mahathir bin Mohamad accused Soros of using his wealth to punish the ASEAN countries for accepting the membership of Myanmar during the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s. Said accusation was very much an example of antisemitism, which was perhaps unsurprising considering that said individual had already had an extensive history of making such comments by that point in time.
Summed up, it isn’t exactly difficult to find out how Soros has made his money. In short, he is one of the most successful investors of the modern era, as shown by how he rose from being a poor student to being one of the richest men in the entire world. With that said, while it is reasonable to say that Soros’s current net worth will continue to see changes in the times to come, it seems unlikely that they will reach the same heights as before he donated the majority of his wealth to his charities.
After all, Soros seems to be much more interested in supporting causes that line up with his world-view in the present time. Some of his spending has been on various political campaigns, as shown by his support for both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in the United States. However, most of his spending goes towards other causes, with examples ranging from the promotion of civil rights to the funding of scientific research. In particular, it is worth noting Soros’s support for pro-democracy organizations. Something that has brought him both praise from some countries for nurturing their democratic movements and condemnation from others that claim that he uses his charities as a way of imposing control.