May 7, 2017

Warren's wisdom

Nati Harnik / AP

Warren Buffett, 86, gave a master class during Q&A yesterday at Berkshire Hathaway's annual meeting ("Woodstock for Capitalists"), which drew 30,000 devotees to CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska:

  • On declining U.S. manufacturing: "Nobody should be roadkill ... Greater productivity will benefit the world in a general way, but to be roadkill, to be the textile worker in New Bedford [is painful] ... It would be no fun to go through life and say: I'm doing this for the greater good, and so that shoes or underwear was all for 5 percent less."
  • On cyber attacks: "the number one problem [for] mankind."
  • On not investing in Google: "I blew it."
  • On Amazon's Jeff Bezos, and his success in both e-tailing and cloud computing: "the most remarkable business person of our age ... I've never seen a guy succeed in two businesses almost simultaneously that are really quite divergent in terms of customers and all the operations."
  • On the House health-care plan, which would repeal added taxes on payroll and investment income for high earners: "It is a huge tax cut for guys like me."
  • On managing employees: "We count very heavily on principles of behavior rather than loads of rules."

P.S. Lead story of The (London) Sunday Times, "Brexit brings bonanza for billionaires" (paywall): "[W]ealthy individuals have benefited from the weaker pound since Britain voted for Brexit, boosting the sterling value of their overseas investments."

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