Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Charlie Munger on being fair

From the Berkshire 2011 Annual Meeting (as quoted in Charlie Munger: The Complete Investor):
Generally speaking, where Berkshire has the power, we try to be more than fair to the minority who don’t have the power and who depend on us. You can say, “Aren’t they wonderful, moral people?” I’m not sure we get credit for a lot of morality because we early knew how advantageous that would be to get a reputation for doing the right thing and it’s worked out well for us. And my friend Peter Kaufman said, “If the rascals really knew how well honor worked, they would come to it.” It really has worked well. People make contracts with Berkshire all the time because they trust us to behave well where we have the power and they don’t. There’s an old expression on this subject, which is really an expression on moral theory: “How nice it is to have a tyrant’s strength and how wrong it is to use it like a tyrant.” It’s such a simple idea but it’s a correct idea.