Unlike mutual funds, hedge funds play both the long and short side of stocks and indices. Short selling is vital to the market but hedge funds have mastered the art of playing both sides. They help run the market upwards until its overbought, all the while middle Americans are buying into said overbought market. Then, hedge funds help force the market down by selling their long positions and also by short selling as well.
The DOW was at 8417 on October 16, 1998; it closed at 8451 this past Friday October 10th, 2008. Ten years later the DOW is worth no more than it was in 1998. Yet hedge funds have made fortunes many times over. And guess what? Lots of those fortunes came from millions of middle Americans saving for their retirement.
If I were George Soros, I would not be able to sleep at night and probably become a socialist too. He produces nothing. Soros takes from middle Americans who are trying to save for retirement and he gives to the rich; including himself.
Can you imagine working in an occupation where when you die or can no longer do your job, the world becomes a better place? It must be a pitiful feeling, even with all of his money.