In a rare appearance at the University of Michigan on September 14, Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman Charlie Munger participated in an extended discussion with CNBC anchor Becky Quick. In a wide ranging discussion, Mr. Munger commented on a variety of topics related to the economy and generally sounded less upbeat than Warren Buffett who made some very bullish statements regarding the economy earlier this week. However, as Mr. Munger says at the outset, Berkshire Hathaway did not achieve its success through macroeconomic forecasting and investors are better served by not focusing excessively on such forecasts.
“I will be surprised if employment bounced back with the wonderful speed that it did after previous economic disappointments … I just see business after business after business which is rationalized so that it can do creditably in terms of protecting its balance sheet and its earning power while utilizing fewer people. So this is a bad market for easy employment compared to the conditions which have existed most of the time in recent decades.”
We are very fortunate that the video of the event is available online. In order to view the video, you must have the Microsoft Silverlight plug-in installed on your computer. Click on this link to download the Silverlight plug-in.
Click on this link to view the video
As an aside, from viewing the video, it is a bit shocking to see many empty seats in the audience.
Disclosure: The author of this article owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway.