In an address to a peer group of high-net-worth investors in New York City, George Soros told the audience that he would have little to say to cheer them about the state of the global economy.
“At this junction it does not appear that we are going back to equilibrium and the state of disequilibrium has many facets,” Soros said, according to a summary of his comments provided by members of TIGER 21, which stands for The Investment Group for Enhanced Results in the 21st Century. The group’s 193 members collectively manage more than $16 billion, and include entrepreneurs, inventors and executives.
“The way I see it, this is about as serious and difficult an environment as I have experienced in my career,” he added.
In 2008, when Lehman went bankrupt, the financial system did collapse, Soros said. Now, he added, the viability of sovereign debt is in question. He believes this structural problem came to a head in Europe because of flaws in the construction of the Euro that have now been exposed.
He emphasized his belief that the current crisis will prove more severe and long-lasting than the crisis of 2008. While there is a central bank in Europe today, there is no treasury, he said, and one must be created to solve the current crisis.
“When the Euro was introduced everyone knew that the treasury was missing,” he said, “but there was no political will to have a fiscal union. The leaders thought that when the time came they would have the political will to put it in place. However, there is less political will today than there was in the 1990s.
“Therefore,” he continued, “the authorities have no solution and they are trying to buy time. Buying time usually works because you calm markets, and money that you put to work to save the market actually turns a profit. But in this case it is not working because the crisis is getting bigger and bigger, and the authorities are doing what it takes to keep things together, but never more. So, you actually need a continuing crisis to make what is politically impossible, possible.”
Ann Marsh writes for Financial Planning.