George Soros, Hungarian-born US investor and philanthropist.
Fabric Coffin | AFP | Getty Pictures
Liberal billionaire George Soros warned on Tuesday of a global depression and said: Russian invasion of Ukraine It can be looked back on as the starting point of World War II.
Soros, at his annual dinner in the middle of the World Economic Forum, said that the course of history has changed dramatically since the last incident in Davos, Switzerland.
He told the audience, “Russia has invaded Ukraine. This has shaken Europe to its core.”
“The European Union was created to prevent such a thing from happening. Even if the wars stop, as it should eventually, the situation will never return to the way it was. Indeed, the Russian invasion could be the beginning of the Earth. War III and our civilization may not survive it.”
Soros said that other issues of concern to humanity, such as pandemics, climate change and avoiding nuclear war, should remain in the background. “That’s why I say our civilization will not survive,” he added.
Born in Hungary to a Jewish family that had survived the Nazi occupation, Soros immigrated to England and later to the United States. The financier funds liberal charities and non-governmental organizations around the world through its Open Society Foundations and made a famous bet against the British pound in 1992.
Speaking on Tuesday, Soros said the fight against climate change should rank second to the Ukraine war.
“Still, experts tell us that we are far behind and that climate change is on the verge of becoming irreversible. That could be the end of our civilization,” he said.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is widely seen as bringing a planned energy transition to a crossroads. Gas and oil prices rose and world energy markets became seriously unstable. Coal use increased as Western countries desperately sought alternatives to Russian hydrocarbons.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, I said The Kremlin’s attack on Ukraine could have major implications for global warming goals. Guterres called this short-sighted rush to fossil fuels “insanity”, before warning that humanity’s “dependence on fossil fuels is mutually guaranteed destruction.”
Soros said he finds the possibility of irreversible climate change “particularly frightening”. “Most of us accept the idea that we must eventually die, but we accept that our civilization will survive,” he said.
“Therefore, we must mobilize all our resources to end the war early. The best, and perhaps only, way to preserve our civilization is to defeat it. [Russian President Vladimir] Putin. That’s the truth of the matter,” he added.
Soros also targeted Beijing, which is experiencing the worst Covid-19 outbreak since the beginning of 2020. in early May, Chinese President Xi Jinping chairs high-level leaders’ meeting He stressed that the country must adhere to a “dynamic zero-Covid” policy and warned that otherwise economic consequences would follow.
State media urged authorities to urge the country to unite behind the decisions of the Communist Party of China central committee and “fight resolutely” against all questioning of virus control policies.
“The ongoing quarantines have had disastrous results and have pushed the Chinese economy into free fall since March,” Soros said on Tuesday.
Mention a Caixin Compound PMI indexSoros said China’s “steeply falling economic activity” should have global ramifications.
“These negative consequences will continue to gain momentum until Xi reverses course… As we come on top of the real estate crisis, the damage will be so great that it will affect the global economy. Global inflation is rising as supply chains are disrupted. It could turn into a global depression,” he said.
Last week, Goldman Sachs became the latest bank to cut China’s GDP forecast from 4.5% to 4%. April data dropped Growth as Covid-19 controls limited business activity.
— CNBC’s Sam Meredith and Evelyn Cheng contributed to this article.