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It was a rhetorical question. He is not the active manager of the businesses owned by his holding company.
You need to check yourself and your lightweight responses like that one. What the hell do you know about either one? If you think business and economics are the same, you're the one with his head up his arse.
I might think this particular quote's a lemon, but I think Buffet more often than not has a very good sense of what's actually going on, including his understanding that the very rich are skating on taxes. He's a capitalist I can respect and usually eschews the pettiness of saying "wahhhh you'll kill jobs" when confronted with taxation issues. He's also a hell of a lot more optimistic about the U.S. than most of the American right, but realistic that we can't expect to repeat the period from the birth of the stock market to 2000 in the present century.
Last coda, I'd usually rather read one of his letters to shareholders than most op-ed pieces on "the economy." And I'd way rather read them than the stuffy "Message from the Board" section of most annual reports, the thing his annual letter pretty much replaces.
There has been some discussion on the board over the last six months or so about public corporations and the issues with them. I am of the opinion that the "agency problem" inherent in having managers who are not shareholders running corporations (i.e. executive management) is the primary source of corporate malfeasance and undeserved over-compensation. Buffet's holding company appears to have addressed that issue, which might be one of the secrets of their success. From the 2010 letter to shareholders (page 7):
Our final advantage is the hard-to-duplicate culture that permeates Berkshire. And in businesses, culture counts.
To start with, the directors who represent you think and act like owners. They receive token compensation: no options, no restricted stock and, for that matter, virtually no cash. We do not provide them directors and officers liability insurance, a given at almost every other large public company. If they mess up with your money, they will lose their money as well. Leaving my holdings aside, directors and their families own Berkshire shares worth more than $3 billion. Our directors, therefore, monitor Berkshire’s actions and results with keen interest and an owner’s eye. You and I are lucky to have them as stewards.
This same owner-orientation prevails among our managers. In many cases, these are people who have sought out Berkshire as an acquirer for a business that they and their families have long owned. They came to us with an owner’s mindset, and we provide an environment that encourages them to retain it. Having managers who love their businesses is no small advantage.
Alignment of interests works. With that you don't need a million other mechanisms to make sure that the execs aren't screwing the shareholders. You still need to make sure they aren't screwing employees and customers, but at least they won't be raiding your 401k!
You have some examples of his formal training in economics? Every degree he ever got was in business. There were probably some economics classes in there (I took one in college) but that doesnt make him an economist.
Oh, and you response was "rediculously" lame. Back up your bashing.
He has a bachelor's in business and a masters in economics.
Ever heard of Benjamin Graham? Graham mentored Buffet and Buffett used techniques Graham taught him to become one of the most successful investors ever. Go leaf through "Security Analysis" and tell me that isn't mathematically based.
Buffet has very successfully managed his businesses and his portfolio through dozens of economic boom and bust cycles.
To make a claim that "Buffett knows nothing about economics" is what is lame. Funny, you didn't care to "back up" your claims yet you call on me to do so.
Would you like to back up your claim that Buffett doesn't know anything about economics because he's just a businessman? After all, business and economics are only loosely related and, according to you, Buffett has a history in bull$!tting, not math.
I guess we can leave alone the fact that Obama has several times called on Warren Buffett for economic policy advice. Meh, what does he know?