Fellow Hungarian-born billionaire Tom Peterffy, founder of the electronic brokerage firm Interactive Brokers, told CNBC Tuesday that he is mystified by George Soros’s progressive views, saying the hedge fund manager and open borders advocate is “against free market capitalism” and “basically an anarchist.”
A partial transcript is as follows:
PETERFFY: I was born and raised in Hungary, I lived there for the first 21 years of my life, and I know that most of these people who want socialism basically don’t understand what they are talking about. I don’t know if they have really studied the issue. I think that people have to be motivated, they have to be incentivized in order to produce more goods and services, or better goods and services. Products like an iPhone, for example, could never happen in a socialist country. I don’t think these people know what the impact could be.
ROSS SORKIN: Thomas, what do you make of both the personal attacks — the bomb that was sent to his home, uh, he was also born in Hungary, he’s also a billionaire, George Soros?
PETERFFY: I don’t think that people should do things like that. It’s a terrible thing, I mean, you know, that person who should be put in jail or even worse – we should be civil to each other number one. Number two, we should have a debate instead of screaming and yelling at each other.
ROSS SORKIN: Why do you think given both of your backgrounds — how would you explain where you ended up in terms of how you think about the world, and where he ended up in perhaps how he thinks about the world?
PETERFFY: George Soros is an enigma. He’s a very bright man and I absolutely do not understand why he behaves the way he does. I think he’s basically an anarchist. He was against communism in the 70s, and he’s against free market capitalism today. So I don’t know what is in between. So I don’t understand it.
ROSS SORKIN: I’m not so sure that a, he’s an anarchist. I’m not so sure that he doesn’t believe in markets at all. I think that this might be an extreme version — the suggestion you’re making. I’d also make the argument that potentially, talk about socialism or socialism in Florida even, I’m not so sure that’s what is really on offer, so much as it’s about the pendulum swinging.
PETERFFY: Yeah, well, look — I mean you go to any socialist country.. you can’t find any country where socialism has been tried and where people are happy. It usually fails after some bloody interlude, it swings back to capitalism. Starting with the French revolution that has been through all throughout history. So ask yourself why is that? Why isn’t there a socialist country today where people are happy?