Companies should not impose their ideas on society about how to do “good,” said billionaire Warren Buffett. He stressed that it is very difficult to measure what is good for society, and that doing good for investors’ money is often hypocritical. Buffett himself perceives his Berkshire Hathaway fund as a church and creates “the right flock” in it
Companies should not impose their vision of how to “do good” for society, billionaire Warren Buffett is convinced. Speaking to the Financial Times, Buffett compared doing good for society to candy and condemned top executives whose main reference point is the stock price.
“If you show me the top 20 companies, I won’t tell you which 20 are doing better than the rest,” Buffett told the paper. He noted that he has served on the boards of 20 publicly traded companies and finds it very difficult to evaluate their performance. “I like candy. Is candy good for me or not? I don’t know,” the billionaire illustrated his position. And even if his Berkshire Hathaway fund knew exactly what actions were right, it would be wrong to invest based on that information, Buffett said. “It’s shareholder money. Many corporate managers condemn the way the government spends taxpayers’ money, but enthusiastically spend investors’ money themselves,” he stressed.
In an era when many believe capitalism is in crisis, Berkshire may offer a new business model, the FT wrote in April. And this model is not based on investments in the social sphere, as Buffett considers such investments a task of the state, not business. The point is that the fund avoids the mantra of the need to provide as much profit to shareholders as possible and believes that investors and management form a group with common interests.
“There are only 1,645,000 seats in our church,” the billionaire noted, referring to the Class A voting stock. – So why, if the right people are sitting in those seats who are on the same page as us, why would I invite people who are marking stock price targets?” He stressed that he was creating “the right flock” for the fund.
One of Buffett’s main achievements has been to create an image of “the good grandfather of capitalism,” the newspaper notes. It is this that allows the billionaire to talk about what “others only allow themselves to think about.” The paper stresses that, until recently, the idea expressed by economist Milton Friedman that business “social responsibility” consists of increasing profits was being repeated in business schools and on boards of directors. This year, however, this idea has already been denounced by the heads of major companies