Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger warned a banking crisis is possible, AI may be dangerous, and government overspending will end badly. Here are their 18 best quotes from Berkshire Hathaway's annual meeting.
- Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger held court during Berkshire Hathaway's annual meeting on Saturday.
- They tackled topics including banking, real estate, Apple, AI, Elon Musk, and de-dollarization.
Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger sounded off on the current banking turmoil, the bleak outlook for commercial real estate, and the possibility of de-dollarization during Berkshire Hathaway's annual shareholder meeting on Saturday.
Here are Buffett and Munger's 18 best quotes, lightly edited for length and clarity:
1. Warren Buffett: "When I woke up this morning, I realized we had a competitive broadcast going out somewhere in the UK, and they were celebrating King Charles. We've got our own King Charles here today."
2. WB: "A lit match can turn into a conflagration, or it can be blown out. We want to be there if the banking system, temporarily even, gets stalled in some way. It shouldn't, I don't think it will, but I think it could."
3. WB: "It would have been catastrophic, and that's why they were covered. Even though the FDIC limit is $250,000, that is not the way the US is going to behave, any more than they're going to let the debt ceiling cause the world to go into turmoil." (Buffett was discussing Silicon Valley Bank's collapse. He warned that enforcing the FDIC's cap on deposit insurance would "start a run on every bank in the country and disrupt the world financial system.")
4. Charlie Munger: "The hollowing out of the downtowns in the United States and elsewhere in the world is going to be quite significant and quite unpleasant."
6. CM: "He would not have achieved what he has in life if he hadn't tried for unreasonably extreme objectives. He likes taking on the impossible job and doing it. We're different — Warren and I are looking for the easy job. We don't want that much failure." (Munger was discussing Elon Musk.)
7. WB: "It just happens to be a better business than any we own." (Buffett was talking about Apple, and suggested the company's consumers would give up their second car sooner than part with their iPhone.)
8. WB: "I see no option for any other currency to be the reserve currency. But we should be very careful. It's madness to just keep printing money. It's very hard to see how you recover once you let the genie out of the bottle, and people lose faith in the currency." (Buffett was assessing the risk of de-dollarization and underscoring the dangers of excessive government spending.)
9: CM: "The man who's jumped off a tall building is all right until he hits the ground." (Munger was sounding the alarm on the US government's carefree fiscal policy.)
10. CM: "I am personally skeptical of some of the hype that's gone into artificial intelligence. I think old-fashioned intelligence works pretty well."
11. WB: "When something can do all kinds of things, I get a little bit worried. We won't be able to uninvent it. AI can change everything in the world, except how men think and behave." (Buffett drew a parallel between AI and the atomic bomb in terms of unknown, long-term consequences.)
12. WB: "What gives you opportunities is other people doing dumb things. In the 58 years we've been running Berkshire, there's been a great increase in the number of people doing dumb things."
13. WB: "If you're paying 12% or 14% on a credit card, you're saying, 'I'm going to earn more than 14% on money.' If you can do that, come to Berkshire Hathaway."
14. CM: "Modern law practice in a big firm is like a pie-eating contest where if you win, you get to eat more pie. I advise you to avoid that kind of a law firm. Life is too short to just do nothing but eat pie." (Munger attributed the quip to one of his relatives.)
15. CM: "It's so simple to spend less than you earn, and invest shrewdly, and avoid toxic people and toxic activities, and try and keep learning all your life, and do a lot of deferred gratification. If you do all those things, you are almost certain to succeed. If you don't, you're going to need a lot of luck."
16. WB: "If you make the right decision on a spouse, you've won the game. Keep trying to think things through, not do too many stupid things, and sooner or later you have a lollapalooza, as Charlie would say."
17. CM: "At Berkshire, we have a simple approach to estate planning. Just hold the goddamn stock."
18. WB: "You should write your obituary and try and figure out how to live up to it." (This was Buffett's advice to anyone trying to work out how they want to live their life.)
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