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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

George Soros: It’s Time to Make Justice Central to Development

George Soros recently intervened in the post-2015 debates, noting the need for universal access to justice. He identified four target areas issued considered crucial for post-MDG success by the  legal empowerment movement:

“1.        LEGAL IDENTITY: Being recognized as a person under the law is critical to everyday life. You need it to send your children to school or to receive medical care. State-issued legal identity documents, such as birth registrations, are usually needed.

2.       ACCESS TO INFORMATION. People should be able to find out about the laws and regulations that govern their lives.

3.      Both individuals and communities need to have their PROPERTY RIGHTS protected. Giving communities protection against land grabbing and the misappropriation of natural resources would be a great contribution to the fight against poverty.

4.       People need access to LEGAL SERVICES, both at the community-level and in formal justice institutions like the courts. For access to justice to be fair, people need to have legal aid—either through lawyers or through paralegals.”

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George Soros
George Soros

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George Soros was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1930. His father was taken prisoner during World War I and eventually fled from captivity in Russia to reunite with his family in Budapest. Soros was thirteen years old when Hitler's Wehrmacht seized Hungary and began deporting the country's Jews to extermination camps. In 1946, as the Soviet Union was taking control of the country, Soros attended a conference in the West and defected. He emigrated in 1947 to England, supported himself by working as a railroad porter and a restaurant waiter, graduated in 1952 from the London School of Economics, and obtained an entry-level position with an investment bank.

In 1956, Soros immigrated to the United States, working as a trader and analyst until 1963. During that time, he developed his own theory of markets called 'reflexivity', which he has laid out in his recent books THE ALCHEMY OF FINANCE and THE CREDIT CRISIS OF 2008 AND WHAT IT MEANS. In 1967 he helped establish an offshore investment fund; and in 1973 he set up a private investment firm that eventually evolved into the Quantum Fund, one of the first hedge funds, through which he accumulated a vast fortune.