George Soros on The Economy, Reflexivity and Open Society, Central European University Lectures, 2009/10/26-30

George Soros is a practical philosopher, applying his knowledge in a world that thinks linearly.  I’ve been interested in his ideas on reflexivity, and less on financial markets, so the whole series of lectures were not of equal interest.

Lecture 1: General Theory of Reflexivity
Date: Monday, 26 October
Time: 2.00 p.m. – 4.00 p.m.
CETModerator: Colin McGinn
Videoconference with the London School of Economics

George Soros will present the fundamentals of his guiding philosophy, laying the foundation for his four subsequent lectures. This session discusses historical understandings of objective reality, scientific inquiry, and the limits of human perception. It discusses the gap between perceptions and reality, illustrating how actions based on these flawed perceptions then reshape reality in a reflexive system.

[Part 1 at]
[Part 2 at]
[Part 3 at]
[Q&A Introduction at]
[Q&A Part 1 at]
[Q&A Part 2 at]
[Q&A Part 3 at]

Lecture 2: Financial Markets
Date: Tuesday, 27 October
Time: 2.00 p.m. – 4.00 p.m. CET
Moderator: Anatole Kaletsky
Videoconference with Massachusetts Institute of Technology

This lecture applies the general theory of reflexivity to financial markets, challenging the prevailing paradigm of the efficient market hypothesis. George Soros will discuss bubbles and the recent financial crisis in detail, testing his theory against major financial events.

Lecture 3: Open Society
Date: Wednesday, 28 October
Time: 4.00 p.m. – 6.00 p.m.
Moderator: Ivan Krastev
Videoconference with Columbia University

In this session, George Soros discusses the concept of open society, which guides his philanthropy and is central to his political and social thinking. Over the past quarter century, Soros has devoted over seven billion dollars to promoting the underpinnings of this concept—from equal access to justice to freedom of expression—around the world, from South Africa to Poland to the United States. Here, he describes the historical and philosophical roots of open society. George Soros builds on Karl Popper’s thinking while stressing the central importance of fallibility, relating this to reflexivity, and applying these concepts to political and social reality. The lecture concludes by discussing the balance between individual freedom and regulation to protect the common good.

Lecture 4: Capitalism Versus Open Society
Date: Thursday, 29 October
Time: 2.00 p.m. – 4.00 p.m. CET
Moderator: Mark DannerVideoconference with the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore

In this lecture, George Soros will explore the conflict between capitalism and open society, market values and social values. Focusing on the principal-agent problem, he will use contemporary economic and political examples to challenge market fundamentalism while presenting ideas for protecting the public good more effectively.

Lecture 5: The Way Ahead
Date: Friday, 30 October
Time: 1.00 p.m. – 3.00 p.m. CET
Moderator: Howard Davies
Videoconference with Hong Kong University

Turning his attention to the future, George Soros will focus on the increasingly important role that China is likely to play on the world stage. He will outline key global trends and discuss their major economic and political implications for the years ahead.

The CEU Lectures: George Soros on The Economy, Reflexivity and Open Society | Central European University


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