US financier and philanthropist George Soros on Thursday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of "creating a Hindu nationalist state." He said that the "biggest and most frightening setback" of nationalism was in India. Soros was speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
He also expressed grief that the world's strongest powers -- the United States, China and Russia under President Vladimir Putin -- were "in the hands of would-be or actual dictators and the ranks of authoritarian rulers continued to grow."
Slamming Trump, he described the US leader as a "conman and the ultimate narcissist". "Trump... has managed to overheat an already buoyant economy. An overheated economy can't be kept at the boiling point for too long," warned Soros, credited with correctly predicting major market swings in his career as an investor.
"If all this happened close to the election it would have assured his election. His problem is that the election is still 10 months away and, in a revolutionary situation, that's a lifetime."
Soros also expressed particular alarm over Xi Jinping, who he said had broken with Communist Party tradition by concentrating power around himself, with the Chinese economy losing its previous flexibility.
While Xi "became a dictator as soon as he gained sufficient strength" his "success is far from assured" as demographics caused by the one child policy work against China.
He said that most troublingly, Xi was seeking to bring into existence "a new type of authoritarian system and a new type of human being who is willing to surrender his personal autonomy in order to stay out of trouble." "Once lost, personal autonomy will be difficult to recover. An open society would have no place in such a world."
George Soros on Thursday pledged one billion dollars for a new university network project to battle the erosion of civil society in a world increasingly ruled by "would-be and actual dictators" and beset by climate change.