Friday, February 22, 2019

95-Year-Old Billionaire Charlie Munger Gives Advice to Socialists

Charlie Munger
Billionaire Charlie Munger (95), who is a long-time close partner of Warren Buffett (net worth $84.5 billion), also happens to be chairman of the Daily Journal Corp.

The company recently held its annual meeting in Los Angeles, where Munger held court. Many of the questions put to him, according to CNBC, were about the "secret" to his long and successful life.

While he addressed his answer to the shareholders of the Daily Journal who were in the room, it struck me that his answer has particular applicability to socialists who seem to be envious of everyone and who seem as though they will not be happy until the entire world is remade in their image with them running it.

Munger said this in response to the questions about his "secret":
You don't have a lot of envy.

You don't have a lot of resentment.

You don't overspend your income.

You stay cheerful in spite of your troubles.

You deal with reliable people.

And you do what you're supposed to do.

And all these simple rules work so well to make your life better. And they're so trite. 
Staying cheerful is a wise thing to do. And can you be cheerful when you're absolutely mired in deep hatred and resentment? Of course you can't. So why would you take it on?
Now, I'm sure if a socialist were to read this, the first thing a socialist would say is, "Well that's great advice if you are already a billionaire." But the thing is that Munger was not always a billionaire.

He at one time did struggle financially and really did get the short end of the stick at least when it comes to his eyesight. Because of a botched eye operation, he has lived for decades with extremely poor eyesight.

I recommend the excellent biography of Munger by Janet Lowe, Damn Right: Behind the Scenes with Berkshire Hathaway Billionaire Charlie Munger.

But the big takeaway is that maybe socialists for one minute should stop being envious, stop thinking of how they can rearrange all of society so that they can get more, and stop hating all capitalists, and rather spend a minute thinking how they can improve their own lives right now by taking some small step (and keep on taking small steps).



  1. You might as well ask a leopard to change its spots. The Socialist DNA is faulty and that's that.

  2. Channeling Jordan Peterson's message of responsibility is Munger & Wenzel, taking it on in manageable steps.

  3. He left out, "And a sh!tload of luck!"

    "And all these simple rules work so well to make your life better."

    Then his son must've had a character flaw (eg not cheery enough, just didn't do what he was supposed to) or he'd have conquered his leukemia and become a "self-made" billionaire just like his old man.

    And what kind of philanthropy does Munger do? Making it so that people who already have it made can make a little more. Good for him.

    And for the record, I'm a libertarian not a socialist, but this sanctimonious BS a lot of libertarians (ie RW) and conservatives spout, "If you're poor, it's your own fault," really pisses me off. People don't have so much control over their fortunes (their parents, where they're born, the times born into, etc.), and if yours is good, thank your lucky stars and be more charitable and less judgmental of those without.

  4. I agree that the "if you're poor, it's your own fault" line is misguided; it implies the person somehow made certain choices and ended up poor when in fact, they may just have been born poor (e.g., a kid in a poor place).

    But I think you're setting up a bit of a straw man. There *are* a lot of socialists who spend way too much time being envious, looking at how much money different people have, and then being bitter about that. There's a lot of "tax the rich! make them pay their fair share" kind of message going on. I think his advice makes sense. Are they sufficient to having a good life? No. Are they necessary? Maybe. It's sound I think.

    Is it a poor person's fault that they are poor? In a lot of cases, it isn't. They might have been born poor. But should they stay envious and be bitter? How would that help?