George Soros’ Fight for an Open Society
George Soros is a wealthy philanthropist and the founder of The Open Society Fund, which supports organizations promoting justice and equality and fighting for freedom. Soros emigrated to the United States after surviving a Nazi occupation of his home country of Hungary and living under a communist regime. His philanthropic actions have allowed him to provide aid to the U.S., Africa, Asia, and Europe. He has supported same-sex marriage, the medical marijuana movement, and criticized the war on drugs. In an editorial article titled “The Capitalist Threat,” published in 1997 by The Atlantic, Soros discusses the problems of capitalism and the way in which its open market design does not promote an open society.
Holding his own share of hardships and discrimination, George Soros channeled his success in financial markets into a foundation called The Open Society Foundation. The goal of the organization is “making open societies more viable, and promoting a critical mode of thinking” (The Atlantic). The Open Society Fund is influenced by Karl Popper’s philosophy, which is that “societies can only flourish while they allow for democratic governance, freedom and expression, and respect for individual rights” (Open Society Foundation Org). Through these means, this foundation aided Central Europe in the 1980’s by supporting groups opposing communist regimes. After the collapse communism, the central focus of his organization needed to adapt to the survival of the former Soviet Union and the resistance of Western democracies.It is to the resistance of the Western democracies that George Soros focuses on in his criticism of capitalism.
In “The Capitalist Threat,” he points to what he refers to as “excessive individualism” as a threat to an open society. Focusing on competition over cooperation can lead to a closed and unstable society, as common interest and unification fall to the wayside of the free marketplace. As he says, “We are enjoying a truly global market economy…But we fail to recognize the need to sustain the values and institutions of an open society” (The Atlantic). The supply and demand system of capitalism, he argues, does not work in reality, and we have seen its adverse effects in American society.Though George Soros admits it is a difficult task to set out to accomplish, he believes it is possible to build a society based on the framework of an open society. As he says, “One could argue that the open society is the best form of social organization for making the most of life, whereas the closed society is the form best suited to the acceptance of death” (The Atlantic). George Soros continues to support the fight against injustice and unfair rule, fighting for freedom and an open society.