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Munger on Finance in the US

By tatupu70 follow tatupu70   2016 Apr 12, 5:18am 3,100 views   6 comments   watch   nsfw   quote   share    


https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/warren-buffetts-hand-man-gave-133200819.html

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 [about finance].

You all see what goes on in finance: the craziness, the promotions, the fuzzy accounting, the crazy trading cultures…. It’s very bad for all of us that we have this huge overdevelopment of finance. And yet it’s very hard to do anything about it.

What happened: if you look back to, say, Edwardian England or the First World War, maybe 300 people, males, owned half the land in England. They had nothing to do. I mean, their under-butlers had under-butlers. What did they do, they went down to the clubs in London and sat around the card tables and gambled with one another for high stakes. That’s what human nature does when people have a lot of leisure. Fade in, fade out, and multiply the wealth per capita of the world by 30 or so and now we got all kinds of people who are like the lords of England who had all that time to play cards against one another and enjoy the thrills and things of gambling.

So we have a vast gambling culture, and people have made it respectable. Instead of betting on horses or prizefights, we can bet on the price of securities or the price of derivatives relating to securities, and we can bet on athletic contests. We have a huge amount of legalized gambling. And of course the public market, which operates every day with transactions, is an ideal casino. And there are a whole bunch of people who want to own a casino and make a lot of money without losing money on inventories or credit . . . and many other irritating parts of business. Just to sit there every night and go higher and higher. Who doesn’t want to be croupier in a casino? And very respectable people get drawn into it. They see other people getting rich.

There’s way, way too much of that in America. And too much of the new 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.

It’s the reason that people like Warren and me are a) charitable, and b) we’re running businesses. We’re not just buying little pieces of paper. So I think that we have something going in our nation that is really very serious and very bad. And I hate to agree with Elizabeth Warren on this subject, but she’s right. And I don’t see any way of stopping it except with some big legislative change. And you’d say, what difference does it make? Well, what happens is – as the cyclicality of gambling in securities and other goes on – what happens is the big busts hurt us more than the big booms help us.

We saw that when the Great Depression ended in the rise of Adolf Hitler. A lot of people think that Hitler rose because of the great Weimar inflation. Well you know Germany recovered pretty well from that Weimar inflation. What they did is they destroyed the currency, and they just issued a new currency. It’s very interesting. They got rid the mortgages and inflation, and they put the mortgages back and they [issued] a new Reichsmark. And that worked pretty well, just like it works fairly well in Argentina.

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 in that these crazy fools should never let people like Alan Greenspan – he’s an amiable man, but he’s an idiot – should not make the head of the Federal Reserve and governor of all banking; somebody whose hero is Ayn Rand, who believed in no government at all.

It was a very unlikely place to look for correct decision making, and we probably got the kind of decision-making we deserve. I think he’s an honest and amiable man, but he just didn’t see reality the way it was. A lot of people think that if an ax murder happens in a free market, well it has to be all right because free markets are all right. A lot of those people are in my party, by the way.

1   uomo_senza_nome_0   ignore (0)   2016 Apr 12, 7:09am     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

tatupu70 says

he’s an amiable man, but he’s an idiot – should not make the head of the Federal Reserve and governor of all banking; somebody whose hero is Ayn Rand, who believed in no government at all.

It was a very unlikely place to look for correct decision making, and we probably got the kind of decision-making we deserve.

Charlie Munger speaks the truth of course. There is only one presidential candidate who saw the flaws of Greenspan's thinking before, lo and behold -- Greenspan himself admitted it was flawed.

Anybody who believes free market can exist without government doesn't understand human nature. Human nature has both good and bad behavior, and the bad behavior utterly dominates the good unless some restraint is applied.

2   anonymous   ignore (null)   2016 Apr 12, 7:18am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

It would be much easier to list what Bernie is wrong on then to have all the redundant clutter , acting surprised, that Bernie told you so

3   tatupu70   ignore (0)   2016 Apr 12, 7:22am     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

errc says

It would be much easier to list what Bernie is wrong on then to have all the redundant clutter , acting surprised, that Bernie told you so

I agree--again and again on every major eff up of the last 20 years, Bernie has been one of the few that saw problem coming. That's what we need more than anything in a leader--the judgment, the big picture leadership, the independence to not follow blindly.

4   uomo_senza_nome_0   ignore (0)   2016 Apr 12, 7:28am     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

errc says

It would be much easier to list what Bernie is wrong on then to have all the redundant clutter , acting surprised, that Bernie told you so

ideology and blind worship of rich capitalists doesn't listen to reason.
It may listen to the rich capitalist himself saying the system is rigged.

5   NuttBoxer   ignore (2)   2016 Apr 12, 10:11am     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

tatupu70 says

and now we got all kinds of people who are like the lords of England who had all that time to play cards against one another and enjoy the thrills and things of gambling.

This is still only true of a small percentage of wealthy. The rest of us live in the matrix.

We are free to choose our leaders, as long as they're pre-approved.
We are free to make money as long as we give most of it to the central government.
We are free to own land as long as a we take on soul crushing debt.
We are free to speak our minds as long as we never question the state.
We are free to live our lives, as long as we conform do so within the confines of their debt system.

A better correlation would be the serfs of England...

6   Shaman   ignore (3)   2016 Apr 12, 10:49am     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

The majority is dead wrong most of the time. This means that if you're in the minority, even if you are 100% correct, it's hard to achieve team-oriented goals like passing legislation. Bernie is that guy who's been ignored and marginalized his entire career while being more right than anyone about everything. It's to his credit that he never gave in to the herd and did what nearly all long serving politicians do: compromise their ideals, accept bribes, and sell out the public.
Being in the middle of that pack is no honorable accomplishment even if you did get some shitty bills passed.


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