Buf­fett’s Right-Hand Man’s Wor­ried About US Fi­nance

The Economic Times - - Companies -

New York: War­ren Buf­fett’s right­hand man, Char­lie Munger, is wor­ried about Amer­i­can fi­nance. Ac­cord­ing to the Berk­shire Hath­away vice chair­man, we have “a vast gam­bling cul­ture, and peo­ple have made it re­spectable.” Ba­si­cally, the stock mar­ket is a casino and too many peo­ple want to get rich quick.

“There’s way, way too much of that in­Amer­ica.And­toomu­chof the­new wealth has gone to peo­ple who ei­ther own a casino or are play­ing in a casino. And I don’t think the ex­al­ta­tion of that group has been good for life gen­er­ally, and I am to some ex­tent a mem­ber of that group.

“I’m al­ways afraid I’ll be a ter­ri­ble ex­am­ple for the youth who want to make a lot of money with and not do much for any­body else and who just want to be shrewd about buy­ing lit­tle pieces of pa­per. Even if you do that very hon­estly, I don’t con­sider it much of a life. Just be­ing shrewd about buy­ing lit­tle pieces of pa­per, shrewder than other peo­ple, is not an ad­e­quate life. It’s not a good ex­am­ple for other peo­ple.” Munger made these com­ments at the 2016 Daily Jour­nal Meet­ing back in Fe­bru­ary. A tran­script has just been posted by value in­vestor Whit­ney Til­son.

Munger, a Repub­li­can and a bil­lion­aire, also said that he agrees with the views of Sen. El­iz­a­beth War­ren (D-Mas­sachusetts) and Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Sen. Bernie San­ders (Ver­mont) on this is­sue.

“The truth of the mat­ter is that ... El­iz­a­beth War­ren doesn’t agree with me on many sub­jects, and I wouldn’t agree with her on many sub­jects, but she is ba­si­cally right when she says that Amer­i­can fi­nance is out of con­trol and that it isn’t good for the rest of us. Both El­iz­a­beth War­ren and Bernie San­ders are not two of my fa­vorite peo­ple on Earth, but they are ab­so­lutely right,” he said. Munger went on to ex­plain that there’s cycli­cal­ity in the se­cu­ri­ties mar­ke­tandthat“the­big­bust­shur­tus more than the big booms help us.” He added that what gave rise to Adolf Hitler was the Great De­pres­sion.

“What re­ally en­abled Hitler to rise was the Great De­pres­sion. You put on top of the Weimar in­fla­tion the Great De­pres­sion, and peo­ple were just so de­mor­al­ized that they were sub­ject to be­ing snook­ered by a gut­ter­snipe like Adolf Hitler. So I think this stuff is deadly se­ri­ous ...”

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