November 15, 2012
Between real estate, lucrative strikes, and repurchase deals, George Soros has built the profile of a mysterious man. He is considered amid the very few people that pull the strings of those controlling the market trends and the fate of people globally. He is also frequently mentioned as distinguished guest in secret dinners, and as notorious handler of the so-called CDS, i.e. the risk premiums dealing with debt gumbling.
Magyar in origin but US citizen, George Soros is born in 1930 and is considered an exceptionally successful entrepreneur, while his personal fortune is estimated around $ 21,1 billions. Meanwhile and along with his occupation with the global market, Soros is also involved in political activism through the direction of Open Society, a worldwide network dealing with funding reasearch programs worldwide, but especially in the most deprived regions of the earth. In addition to that , it is widely said that Soros, via his foundation, has been financially involved in the preparation of the “Rose Revolution” in 2003 in Georgia while playing a definite role in the reconstruction process of post-war Sarajevo after the Dayton Treatment of 1996.
Few months ago he has openly warned the EU leaders that Eurozone has entered a fatal phase that might possibly lead to its final breakup. In this respect, George Soros presented last week his new plan for the creation of a “Solidarity Fund” destined especially for immigrants in Greece. His announcement was made during a speech he gave in Berlin and dealing with the future of Europe.
Soro’s plan for the Solidarity Fund entails the financing of building constructions which are destined to refugees being sheltered in Greece. The first installments have been made by Soros himself, while a significant amount is already gathered and administered under the auspices of Raul Wallemberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, established in Sweden. As he pointed out in his speeech in Berlin, this effort is intended to urge Europeans to show solidarity to Greeks, and Greeks to show solidarity to immigrants. He also stressed out that Greece is captured and incapable of coping with the waves of immigrants crossing its borders, mainly due to the Dublin II Agreement which impedes the free pass of immigrants from one EU country to another. Therefore, as he underlines, Greece is obliged to cope with tens of thousands of immigrants, an issue that is not manageable.
Soros’s intention to finance the construction of solidarity houses and apartments in Greece can be commonly considered as a philanthropic gesture and a great endeavor to fulfill the gap left by the absence of public-led social responsibility and alleviation programs. Nonetheless, there are two additional elements in this process that are worth mentioning: 1) the way through which money will come and start liquiding the program in Greece; 2) the wider implication from Soro’s move vis-à-vis the global status of Greece.
With reference to the first one, its is expected that all money gathered will be transferred to selected NGOs in Greece that in their part will manage them accordingly. This is a common and globally-accepted way of working, but especially in Greece there is lately a growing mistrust over NGOs funding and money laundering. It is reported that during the last 10 years about 500 NGOs have been established in Greece with most of them exerting tax evasion, whereas a considerable part of them has no fundamental reasoning of existence and no specific field of activity. Therefore, it comes up a logically justified concern over the money flow process and whether any amount received will finally reach its destination.
With reference to the second one, in his speech in Berlin Soros put special emphasis on the fact that Greece is a country “in humanitarian need”. I personally reckon that while this statement is not abstaining from reality, it creates a unique precedent for the status of Greece globally. And this because “humanitarian” is a term commonly used to express a situation where a state, a region or a group of people are completely deprived from any means and the state or any other party involved with direct or indirect manner can do nothing to prevent and deal with it. In the Greek case, while poverty rates are increasing dramatically, if extreme conditions press for it, Greece is in place to establish a safety net or mobilize mechanisms of social care in order to deal with deprived people. Therefore, it is a matter of politics whether the Greek government decides not to mobilize the very crucial mechanism of poverty prevention and control (e.g. food supplies, intervention of the army, broad collectivities) which is mainly activated during war conditions. From this point to the point that Greece is in need of humanitarian aid, there is some significant distance -practical and theoretical.
Soro’s plan while being ambitious and pro-poverty, lacks cohesion and trust in terms of some of its very basic elements of implementation. But except for what I previously advocated as some of the major drawbacks or contestable sides of the funding process, there is another set of questions that has to be answered. First, why Soros is putting emphasis especially on the immigrants and ignores locals that are equally encountered with similar poverty issues? Second, why Soros is not establishing his foundation in Greece to self-monitor developments, but decides to keep its siege in Sweden?
In this respect, it goes without saying that the “Solidarity Fund” has its contesters and supporters. But at the end of the day, is someone else other than Soros carrying about poverty in Greece or are there any other large-scale initiatives, public or private, to strike poverty before it is to late?Dimitris Rapidis