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Bull markets George Soros on Globalisation George Soros202pp Public Affairs The Best Democracy Money Can Buy Greg Palast 224pp Pluto Press Lets play what if What if the speculators had failed in their attempts to drive the pound out of the exchange rate mechanism in 1992 What if poor old Norman Lamont had been able to fend off the attacks instead of capitulating in abject fashion Recent British history would have been quite different Spared the humiliation of Black Wednesday we might still have a Conservative government Labour had just lost four general elections in a row and quite understandably it was doubted whether it would ever return to office again Had the pound stayed in the ERM the recession would have been prolonged the economy would have struggled and unemployment would have carried on rising But had the government been prepared to accept a jobless total of say four million as the price of pegging the pound to the German mark it is conceivable that Britain would now be part of the single currency You dont need to buy the whole of this hypothesis to realise that George Soros changed Britain As the speculator-in-chief it was Soros who drained the Bank of England of its reserves on September 16 freed the economy from the shackles of the ERM and destroyed the Conservatives as a party of government But while Black Wednesday did nothing but good for the British economy it was also the first of a series of financial crises that have rippled backwards and forwards across the globe ever since During that decade the poacher turned gamekeeper Largely retired from the day-to-day business of managing his hedge fund Soros now devotes his time to philanthropy and to calling for reforms of the financial system that he exploited so lucratively Globalisation he says has led to the marginalisation of the poor neglected the public realm and resulted in financial markets that are
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