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1993.07 金融家乔治-索罗斯的简介

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Finance: The Unifying Theme
A profile of financier George Soros

By Brendan Murphy
The Hungarian-born investment genius and philanthropist George Soros has shied away from publicity for most of his life, but the self-styled "financial and philosophical speculator" fairly vaulted into the public eye not long ago. Soros, age sixty-two, has been a figure of note on Wall Street for many years; his canny sense of financial-market turns led Institutional Investor magazine in 1981 to anoint him "the world's greatest money manager," a title he arguably retains today. He has also been exerting a significant and salutary influence in Eastern Europe since the mid-1980s, when he started distributing scholarships and photocopiers to dissident intellectuals in Hungary and other Soviet satellite nations, helping to set the fuse for the implosion of communism at the end of the decade.

Late last year he was yet more active in both spheres than he had ever been before. With the European monetary system groaning under high German interest rates, Soros's Quantum Fund and its investment outriders placed a $10 billion wager that Britain would be compelled to devalue the pound sterling. When this came about, on September 16, his funds were suddenly around $1 billion richer, and Soros had become the Man Who Broke the Bank of England. He made headlines again last December by committing $100 million of his own money to stave off the dispersion of the Soviet scientific establishment and by pledging $50 million to help provide areas of safety for Bosnia's tormented civilian population. Then, in January, he lent Macedonia $25 million to buy winter heating oil. All this is on top of the approximately $100 million annual budget of his many foundations. Explaining, Soros said that his financial gains had simply outrun his ability to give them away—though his magnanimity surely helped smooth feathers ruffled by his enormous profit from Britain's monetary misfortune.

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Taken at face value, this is the tale of a Wall Street tycoon who made a bundle in the market and decided to give some of it back. But Soros has made rather more than a bundle—his personal worth probably approaches $1 billion—and his philanthropic method is anything but typical. What distinguishes him in particular is the elaborate philosophy underpinning both his financial dealings and his efforts in behalf of Eastern Europe. In books such as The Alchemy of Finance and Underwriting Democracy, Soros has developed an operating theory he describes as "reflexivity." His notion is that the movements of financial markets and of history are shaped both by the perceptions of those caught up in them and by purely objective factors; the term "reflexivity" refers to the interplay, or "feedback loop," between events and participants' views of them. Most often the two tend toward convergence, but frequently what Soros calls "far-from-equilibrium conditions" develop—for instance, when market trends or historical events move so wildly that they defy the comprehension of those involved in them.

Soros's reflexivity theory can easily be seen at work in financial markets, where prices often soar or plunge on little more than psychology. But Soros says that the rise and fall of Soviet communism was much akin to a classic stock-market boom-bust cycle: the destruction of the Berlin Wall became inevitable once belief in Marxism-Leninism had seeped away and a "dynamic disequilibrium" set in.

Whatever the intellectual validity of his theories, Soros has seldom been let down by his intuitions as to the direction of markets or history. "I am particularly concerned with these extreme conditions when there is no tendency toward convergence," Soros tells a visitor to his Manhattan offices, as a rainstorm rattles the thirty-third-floor windows that give on a mist-enshrouded Central Park. Paintings by Hungarian artists of the interwar years hang on the walls. "I specialize in these far-from-equilibrium experiences," Soros says, adding, "This is the unifying theme."


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George Soro's wits were sharpened during the Second World War, when he went underground in Nazi-controlled Budapest with his Jewish family. His father, Tivadar Soros, an attorney, handed down the lessons he had learned as an escaped prisoner of war adrift in the Russian civil war. "That, of course, was a formative experience, a traumatic experience, for him," Soros says. "It changed his character and his outlook on life, and he passed it on to me." George fled postwar Hungarian Stalinism in 1947 to enroll in the London School of Economics. He studied under Karl Popper, whose critique of Marx, Hegel, and other proponents of historical determinism, in The Open Society and Its Enemies, has had an enduring influence on Soros's thought. Soros launched his financial career in London, and pursued it in New York beginning in 1956, with stellar results—though he still describes himself as a failed philosopher.

After serving Wall Street firms as an investment-portfolio manager and analyst, Soros turned to managing the Quantum Fund, an investment vehicle that he launched (under another name) in 1969. Its performance has been spectacular: compounded annual returns of 34 percent by the end of 1992 brought the fund's assets to $3.734 billion. An investor who placed $10,000 in Quantum at its inception and reinvested all dividends would by last year have held the sum of $12,982,827.62.

Soros has had financial setbacks, though. His fund posted a 22.9 percent loss in 1981, when he miscalled the direction of interest rates and took a bath in bonds; it shed $800 million in the 1987 market crash, which Soros had as much as predicted in The Alchemy of Finance earlier that year but had expected would hit first and with most force in Tokyo. High risk is a feature of "hedge" funds like Quantum, whose managers may borrow several times the value of their holdings to place large, aggressive market bets using futures, options, and other derivative securities, while hedging, or minimizing, potential losses with other such combinations of financial instruments. But at the end of the day they must be right in their hunches, or the consequences will be devastating. "To me, it's always been a very painful process, very painful, involving great suffering, actually," Soros once told a reporter. "Because if you lose money, it's very painful, and you can't make it without the threat of losing it."

Toughness is a Soros trait. Financial peers at one time described Soros as cold and arrogant, and Quantum has come under scrutiny for allegedly joining forces with the Salomon Brothers investment bank in a 1991 Treasury market "squeeze" maneuver. But he allows that his fiercely single-minded approach to markets has mellowed in recent years, referring to a 1981 "crisis" that he describes as "a battle between me and my success—that is to say, 'Am I the slave of my success or am I the master of my destiny?'" He resolved this in part by shifting his focus to Eastern European philanthropy and activism.

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Another trademark is Soros's ability to discern patterns where others see only chaos. "He sees trends globally, and he understands enough about how markets work so that he can see where to apply leverage—both intellectual and financial leverage," says Michael Lipper, the head of a Wall Street firm that tracks investment-fund performance, and a longtime Soros-watcher. "He can think out where a trend is going, and which security would be the major beneficiary of it."

Soros's bet against the British pound was one such play. On instructions from his Soros Fund Management think tank in New York, the Netherlands Antilles-based Quantum Fund (its offshore status frees it from U.S. regulation, and U.S. citizens, excepting Soros and a few officers of the fund, are not allowed to hold its shares) and related entities borrowed heavily in sterling, sold those pounds for German marks and French francs, and then locked in profits by repaying the sterling loans with devalued pounds. Soros made parallel bets in British stocks and German and French bonds to boost profits, which eventually came to $1.3 billion. Soros felt confident betting much on the collapse of the pound: the same process that had lifted the Iron Curtain and reunified Germany obliged the Deutsche Bundesbank to raise interest rates in order to dampen inflation, putting unbearable pressure on the recessionary British economy—and the pound.

Soros has brought much the same astuteness to his efforts in Eastern Europe. Tibor Vidos, a Hungarian political consultant, says that in 1984 Soros skillfully played on the Hungarian communist government's need to service its large foreign debt. "A billionaire stockbroker from New York was exactly the right person to have good relations with," Vidos says of Soros's approach to Budapest. Soros secured quasi-official status and then funded prodemocracy thinkers. Establishing an alternative to communist institutions heartened the opposition and helped to undermine the government. Soros encouraged the emergence of democratic movements, among them the Federation of Young Democrats, a group that today is in parliamentary opposition to the conservative nationalist Hungarian government, and could take power in the 1994 elections. "That he played a significant and historic role is without doubt," Vidos says.

Soros was a presence not only in Hungary: he backed Czechoslovakia's Charter 77 human-rights group from 1981 onward, and his Open Society Fund created a Polish foundation in 1985 to support the democratic process. But he has been as quick to cut his losses in international philanthropy as he has been in finance. He shut down his Chinese foundation in 1989, upon learning that it was controlled by the Beijing security apparatus, and he disengaged from intense efforts to rescue the Soviet economy in 1990 when the Shatalin Plan for immediate free-market conversion failed to win Mikhail Gorbachev's endorsement.

In the years since the Eastern European communist regimes started toppling, in 1989, the Soros Foundations network has widened to encompass Albania, Belarus, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine, and even, still, Yugoslavia. Soros has given a network offspring, the Central European University, in Budapest and Prague, a $25 million endowment with the aim of promoting understanding among the region's fractious nationalities and educating its future leaders.

Although Soros's initial objective in Eastern Europe was political—bringing down communism—the focus of his foundations now is education, nudging history by altering perceptions. His foundations also promote plurality in the media by supporting independent publications: in Romania the Soros Foundation for an Open Society spent $550,000 on newsprint for independent newspapers during last year's election campaign, and his Hungarian foundation subsidizes the newspaper Magyar Narancs (Hungarian Orange), a weekly in tune with the Young Democrats.

Ironically, communism's demise has complicated Soros's task. Funding decisions are tougher than when simple dissident status was an applicant's key qualification. Soros's dollars buy less and less as local currencies strengthen and Western prices arrive. More worrisome, Soros has become the target of anti-Semitic broadsides in Magyar Forum, a weekly published by the far-right wing of the governing Hungarian Democratic Forum. In one virulent attack, published in September of last year, an HDF parliamentarian disparaged Soros's role in the 1989 democratic transition, calling it "a self-engineered coup by cosmopolitans," the term "cosmopolitan" being a long-standing communist euphemism for "Jew." The article was titled "Termites Are Devouring Our Nation—Reflections on the Soros Regime, the Soros Empire." In Romania, as well, Soros has been maligned. Ultra-nationalists based in the ethnically mixed city of Cluj, in Transylvania, vilify Soros as a Hungarian infiltrator, and a parliamentarian representing Romania's Democratic Front for National Salvation has demanded that Soros's foundation be expelled.

Such attacks have put the various foundations somewhat on the defensive, even as their sense of mission has intensified. "We're very proud of the enemies we make, frankly," says Sandra Pralong, Soros's Romanian-born co-chair for the foundation in that country, "because the people who are most threatened by us are the ones who are most damaging for Romania." Soros "reminds the political circles in this country that the time when a society or a country could live as an [isolated] entity is over," says Andras Kereszty, the executive editor of Nepszabadsag, Hungary's largest daily newspaper. "Everything is integrated in the modern world; he represents this interrelatedness."

The Soros foundations taken together amount to a major regional institution influencing a generation of opinion-makers. The index of the Soros Foundations directory lists 641 names. The Hungarian television journalist Janos Horvat reckons that one in ten members of his country's first post-communist Parliament have had some Soros connection. For many in Eastern Europe, Soros represents success, reform, and hope. Ethan Klingsberg, an American lawyer who is the executive director of a Soros offshoot that helps new governments draft constitutions, recalls a meeting in Kazakhstan in January between Soros representatives and a group of independent intellectuals. "They had this club," Klingsberg recalls, "and they wanted to name it for him." Soros inspires fervor among his staff, too.

For all the undeniable progress to which he has contributed, Soros's outlook on the former Eastern bloc is decidedly dark. He fears that it may have shaken off communism only to succumb to nationalist dictatorships, and that "what used to be the Soviet Union may become a black hole that may eventually swallow up civilization." Soros initially envisioned his foundations as a short-term venture. He now says that "things haven't worked out, they're not going to work out, and so you've got a much longer period while I will need to be engaged." Yet he retains considerable relish for the task, which he says affords him more satisfaction than making money ever has.

This brings to mind a revealing story that Soros once told an associate about his wartime years in hiding. Holed up in a Budapest cellar at one point, he passed long hours with his father and brother playing games, a small cache of candies being the stakes. He and his brother saved up the sweets they won—but Tivadar Soros ate his winnings. "The point is that you have to do something with the bonbons," Soros said. "You can't just play with them and you can't just eat them all."


作者:Brendan Murphy

出生于匈牙利的投资天才和慈善家乔治-索罗斯(George Soros)一生中大部分时间都避开了宣传,但这位自称是 "金融和哲学投机者 "的人不久前才公平地跃入公众视野。索罗斯现年62岁,多年来一直是华尔街瞩目的人物;他对金融市场转折的敏锐感觉使《机构投资者》杂志在1981年将他誉为 "世界上最伟大的货币经理",可以说他至今仍保留着这个称号。自20世纪80年代中期以来,他在东欧也一直发挥着重要而有益的影响,当时他开始向匈牙利和其他苏联卫星国的持不同政见的知识分子分发奖学金和复印机,帮助引爆了共产主义在该十年末的内爆。



从表面上看,这是一个华尔街大亨的故事,他在市场上赚了一大笔钱,并决定把其中的一部分还给他。但是,索罗斯赚的不仅仅是钱--他的个人资产可能接近10亿美元--而且他的慈善方式也不那么典型。他的与众不同之处在于,他的金融交易和他为东欧所做的努力都是基于精心设计的哲学。在《金融的炼金术》和《包销民主》等书中,索罗斯提出了一个他称之为 "反身性 "的操作理论。他的概念是,金融市场和历史的运动既被那些陷入其中的人的看法所左右,也被纯粹的客观因素所左右;"反身性 "一词指的是事件和参与者对它们的看法之间的相互作用,或 "反馈循环"。大多数情况下,两者趋于一致,但经常会出现索罗斯所说的 "远离平衡的条件"--例如,当市场趋势或历史事件如此疯狂地发展,以至于让参与其中的人无法理解。

索罗斯的反身性理论很容易在金融市场上发挥作用,那里的价格飙升或暴跌往往只取决于心理因素。但索罗斯说,苏维埃共产主义的兴衰与经典的股票市场繁荣-萧条周期很相似:一旦对马克思列宁主义的信仰消失,"动态不平衡 "开始出现,柏林墙的摧毁就不可避免了。




乔治-索罗的智慧在第二次世界大战期间得到了磨练,当时他和他的犹太家庭在纳粹控制的布达佩斯进行地下活动。他的父亲蒂瓦达-索罗斯是一名律师,他将自己在俄罗斯内战中作为逃亡的战俘所学到的经验传授给了他。"索罗斯说:"当然,这对他来说是一种形成性的经历,一种创伤性的经历。"它改变了他的性格和他的人生观,他把它传给了我。" 1947年,乔治逃离战后的匈牙利斯大林主义,进入伦敦经济学院学习。他师从卡尔-波普尔,后者在《开放社会及其敌人》中对马克思、黑格尔和其他历史决定论支持者的批判对索罗斯的思想产生了持久的影响。索罗斯在伦敦开始了他的金融生涯,并从1956年开始在纽约追求,取得了辉煌的成绩--尽管他仍然称自己是一个失败的哲学家。


不过,索罗斯也有财务上的挫折。他的基金在1981年出现了22.9%的亏损,当时他误判了利率的走向,在债券上洗了个澡;在1987年的市场崩溃中,基金损失了8亿美元,索罗斯在当年早些时候的《金融的炼金术》中就曾预言,但他预计东京会首先受到冲击,而且冲击力最大。高风险是像量子基金这样的 "对冲 "基金的特点,其经理人可能会借入数倍于其持有的价值,利用期货、期权和其他衍生证券进行大规模、积极的市场投注,同时用其他此类金融工具的组合进行对冲,或将潜在损失降到最低。但在一天结束时,他们的预感必须是正确的,否则后果将是毁灭性的。"对我来说,这一直是一个非常痛苦的过程,非常痛苦,实际上涉及到巨大的痛苦,"索罗斯曾经告诉记者。"因为如果你输了钱,那是非常痛苦的,如果没有输钱的威胁,你就不可能赚到钱。"

坚韧是索罗斯的特质。金融同行一度将索罗斯描述为冷酷无情、傲慢无礼,量子公司因被指与所罗门兄弟投资银行在1991年的国债市场 "挤兑 "手法中联手而受到审查。但他允许自己近年来对市场采取的激烈的一意孤行的做法已经趋于成熟,他提到了1981年的一次 "危机",他将其描述为 "我和我的成功之间的斗争--也就是说,'我是我的成功的奴隶还是我的命运的主人?他解决这个问题的部分方法是将他的注意力转移到东欧的慈善事业和活动上。


另一个标志是索罗斯有能力在其他人只看到混乱的地方辨别出模式。"一家追踪投资基金业绩的华尔街公司负责人、索罗斯的长期观察者迈克尔-利珀(Michael Lipper)说:"他能看到全球的趋势,而且他对市场的运作方式有足够的了解,所以他能看到在哪里运用杠杆,包括智力和金融杠杆。"他能想出一个趋势的走向,以及哪种证券将是它的主要受益者。"


索罗斯将同样的精明带到了他在东欧的努力中。匈牙利政治顾问蒂博尔-维多斯(Tibor Vidos)说,1984年,索罗斯巧妙地利用了匈牙利共产党政府对偿还其巨额外债的需求。"一个来自纽约的亿万富翁股票经纪人正是与之建立良好关系的合适人选,"维多斯谈到索罗斯在布达佩斯的做法时说。索罗斯获得了准官方地位,然后资助支持民主的思想家。建立共产主义机构的替代方案使反对派感到振奋,并帮助破坏了政府。索罗斯鼓励民主运动的出现,其中包括青年民主党人联合会,这个团体今天在议会中与保守的匈牙利民族主义政府对立,并可能在1994年的选举中掌权。"Vidos说:"他发挥了重要的历史性作用,这是毫无疑问的。



虽然索罗斯在东欧的最初目标是政治性的--打倒共产主义,但他的基金会现在的重点是教育,通过改变观念来推动历史。他的基金会还通过支持独立出版物来促进媒体的多元化:在罗马尼亚,索罗斯开放社会基金会在去年的选举活动中花了55万美元为独立报纸购买新闻纸,他的匈牙利基金会资助了Magyar Narancs(匈牙利橙色)报纸,这是一份与青年民主党人合拍的周刊。

具有讽刺意味的是,共产主义的消亡使索罗斯的任务更加复杂。与简单的持不同政见者身份是申请人的主要资格时相比,资助决定更加艰难。随着当地货币的增强和西方价格的到来,索罗斯的美元买得越来越少。更令人担忧的是,索罗斯已经成为《马扎尔论坛》(Magyar Forum)中反犹太主义抨击的目标,该周刊由执政的匈牙利民主论坛的极右翼出版。在去年9月发表的一篇恶毒的攻击中,一位匈牙利民主论坛的议员贬低了索罗斯在1989年民主转型中的作用,称其为 "世界主义者自行策划的政变","世界主义者 "一词是共产主义对 "犹太人 "的长期委婉说法。这篇文章的标题是 "白蚁正在吞噬我们的国家--对索罗斯政权、索罗斯帝国的反思"。在罗马尼亚,索罗斯也被恶意诋毁。以特兰西瓦尼亚民族混居城市克卢日为基地的极端民族主义分子诋毁索罗斯是匈牙利的渗透者,一位代表罗马尼亚民族拯救民主阵线的议员要求驱逐索罗斯的基金会。

这样的攻击使各个基金会在某种程度上处于守势,甚至他们的使命感也得到了加强。"坦率地说,我们对自己树敌感到非常自豪,"索罗斯在罗马尼亚出生的基金会在该国的共同主席桑德拉-普拉隆说,"因为受我们威胁最大的人就是对罗马尼亚破坏最大的人。" 索罗斯 "提醒这个国家的政治圈子,一个社会或一个国家可以作为一个[孤立的]实体生活的时代已经过去了,"匈牙利最大的日报Nepszabadsag的执行编辑安德拉什-凯雷兹蒂说。"在现代世界中,一切都被整合了;他代表了这种相互关联性。"

索罗斯基金会加在一起相当于一个主要的地区机构,影响着一代人的意见领袖。索罗斯基金会名录的索引列出了641个名字。匈牙利电视记者亚诺什-霍瓦特(Janos Horvat)估计,在他的国家的第一个后共产主义议会中,每十个成员中就有一个与索罗斯有某种联系。对于东欧的许多人来说,索罗斯代表着成功、改革和希望。美国律师伊桑-克林斯伯格(Ethan Klingsberg)是索罗斯一个帮助新政府起草宪法的分支组织的执行董事,他回忆起1月份索罗斯代表和一群独立知识分子在哈萨克斯坦的一次会议。"他们有这个俱乐部,"克林斯伯格回忆说,"他们想为他命名。" 索罗斯在他的员工中也激发了狂热。

尽管他对所有不可否认的进步做出了贡献,但索罗斯对前东欧集团的看法是绝对的黑暗。他担心,它可能已经摆脱了共产主义,但却屈服于民族主义独裁,而且 "曾经的苏联可能成为一个黑洞,最终可能吞噬文明。" 索罗斯最初设想他的基金会是一个短期风险。他现在说,"事情没有成功,也不会成功,所以你有一个更长的时间,而我将需要参与其中。" 然而,他对这项任务仍有相当大的兴趣,他说这比赚钱给他带来的满足感更强。

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