The billionaire investor and philanthropist explains in an wide-ranging new interview how the Covid-19 pandemic puts everything about capitalism up for grabs, how Donald Trump is destroying himself and how the recent German constitutional court ruling could result in ‘the end of the European Union as we know it’
GREGOR PETER SCHMITZ (INTERVIEWER): You have seen many crises. Is the Covid-19 pandemic comparable to any previous one?
GEORGE SOROS: No. This is the crisis of my lifetime. Even before the pandemic hit, I realised that we were in a revolutionary moment where what would be impossible or even inconceivable in normal times had become not only possible, but probably absolutely necessary. And then came Covid-19, which has totally disrupted people’s lives and required very different behaviour. It is an unprecedented event that probably has never occurred in this combination. And it really endangers the survival of our civilisation.
Could this crisis have been prevented if governments had been better prepared?
SOROS: We have had infectious disease pandemics ever since the bubonic plague. They were quite frequent in the 19th century, and then we had the Spanish flu at the end of the First World War, which actually occurred in three waves, with the second wave being the deadliest. Millions of people died. And we have had other serious outbreaks, such as the swine flu just a decade ago. So it’s amazing how unprepared countries were for something like this.