Railway porter-turned-billionaire financier George Soros delivered a stark warning that the financial world is on the wrong track and that it may be hurtling towards an even bigger boom and bust than in the credit crisis.
The man who ‘broke’ the Bank of England (and who is still able to earn a cool $3.3 billion in a year) said the same strategy of borrowing and spending that had got us out of the Asian crisis could shunt the financial world towards another crisis unless tough lessons are learned.
Soros, who worked as a porter to pay for his studies at the London School of Economics after emigrating from Hungary, warned the financial world to heed the lesson that modern economics had got it wrong and that markets are not inherently stable.
“The success in bailing out the system on the previous occasion led to a superbubble, except that in 2008 we used the same methods,” he told a meeting hosted by The Economist at the City of London’s modern and impressive Haberdashers’ Hall.
“Unless we learn the lessons, that markets are inherently unstable and that stability needs to the objective of public policy, we are facing a yet larger bubble.
“We have added to the leverage by replacing private credit with sovereign credit and increasing national debt by a significant amount.”
One crumb of comfort could be the 10-year period between the 1998 Asian crisis and the 2008 credit crisis. If the pattern is repeated, it should at least mean we have another eight years to go before the next crash.