2008年3月30日 星期日

Berkshire股東年度大會議事錄(二○○五年度中英文對照版)

Notes from the 2005 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting

Berkshire 2005年年度股東會議記錄




Notes From The 2005 "Woodstock of Capitalists" Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger hold forth at Berkshire Hathaway's annual meetingTuesday, May 03, 2005
Berkshire 2005年年度股東會議記錄
2005年5月3日 星期二
Matt Stichnoth
bankstocks.com
mstichnoth@secondcurve.com More by This Author...

I spent this past Saturday in Omaha, Nebraska at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting. In their traditional Q&A session with shareholders, CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger held forth on topics ranging from the state of the stock market, to education reform, to President Bush’s proposal to change Social Security. It was great stuff, as you can imagine. Here are my notes from the five-hour session:
上個星期六,我到內布拉斯加州奧瑪哈參加了Berkshire年度股東大會,在例行的Q&A股東問答當中,總裁華倫巴菲特及副董事長查理曼格花了五個小時的時間回答問題,主題從股市現況、教育改革到布希總統正在推動的社會福利改革等,如大家所預期的,內容相當精彩,以下是我的記錄:

Qwest Center, Omaha, Neb., April 30, 2005. The hall was full, with overflow rooms.
2005年4月30日,奧瑪哈 Qwest會議中心,大廳中人滿為患。

Buffett opened his remarks by announcing he would not discuss three topics: 1) Nebraska football, 2) What Berkshire is currently buying, and 3) Details of his testimony to regulators regarding the AIG probe. Reason for 3: investigators prefer witnesses not talk publicly about their testimony.
巴菲特在一開始即宣佈,他將不回答以下三個問題:1)內布拉斯加足球隊,2)Berkshire目前鎖定的投資標的,3)關於他在AIG一案,對主管機關所做的證詞,因為檢調機關不希望證人公開談論相關案情。

Q: What are the three most important criteria you use for selecting managers?
問題:你在選任經理人時,最重要的三項要件為何?

Warren Buffett: The most important characteristic is that a manager needs to have a passion for his business. When we buy a company, we are monetizing the owner for a lifetime’s worth of work. The individual is already wealthy; we are merely shifting the form of his wealth into something more liquid: cash. After the deal has closed, the seller’s motivation to come to work in the morning isn’t a paycheck. (For that matter, after the deal is done the sellers don’t have any need to work.) We don’t have any employment contracts at Berkshire. Once we buy a business, we do all we can to not extinguish the owner’s passion for the business. We only have 16 people working at headquarters, so there’s no one around who can go out and run a business if the management of one of our businesses leaves. We want to buy from a manager that loves the business, rather than the money.
巴菲特:最重要的特質是管理者要對所經營的事業充滿熱情,當我們買下一家公司時,就等於是買斷經營者一輩子的經營所得,這些人本來就已經很有錢,我們只不過是讓他們的財富提高一點流動性,也就是換成現金,在整個交易敲定後,賣方隔天早上再來上工的動力將不再是薪資報酬,因為他們將不必再為五斗米而折腰,而且在Berkshire,我們也不習慣簽什麼勞動契約,一旦我們買下一家公司,我們儘量避免澆熄經營者對事業的熱情,因為Berkshire總部總共只有16個人,要做的事很多,沒有多餘的人力外派填補原經營者留下的空缺,所以我們要買的對象擁有熱愛事業而不是金錢的經營者所管理的公司。

After passion, the other important characteristics we look for is intelligence, energy, and integrity. That last, integrity, is important. If you’re dealing with someone who doesn’t have integrity, you’d better hope he’s dumb and lazy, too, or else you could be in real trouble.
除了熱情,另外幾項重要的特質還包括才智、幹勁與品德,當然品德還是最重要的,如果你打交道的對象品格有問題,那麼你最好祈禱,他又笨又懶,否則你就要倒大楣了。

Charlie Munger: Our system has worked wonderfully well. The only surprise is how few people copy it.
曼格:我們的組織運作的非常好,我們惟一納悶的是,為什麼沒有人抄襲這套制度。

Q: How did you arrive at your decision to buy Anheuser-Busch? How long did the decision take?
問題:當初投資Anheuser-Busch的決策過程? 下這項決策花了多久的時間?

WB: The decision to buy the stock took about 2 seconds. I’ve been reading Anheuser-Busch annuals for 25 years. (I’ve owned 100 shares of the stock, as I have many other stocks, so I can get easy access to their annual reports.) Beer sales in the U.S. have been flat for several years. Wine and spirits have gained market share at the expense of beer. Miller has been rejuvenated to some degree, as well. So Anheuser has had to spend more lately to maintain market share, and has had to engage in promotional pricing. But the business is easy to understand, and Anheuser’s business in particular is still extremely strong. The story of the U.S. beer business over the past 50 years is fascinating. Right after World War II, Storr’s had over 50% of the market in Omaha. But the large, national players have steadily consolidated the business. In the 1970s, Schlitz was the biggest-selling brand nationally. The beer business won’t grow significantly in the U.S., but Bud’s popularity is growing worldwide. Bud will be strong. The company’s earnings won’t do much for some time—but that’s ok with us.
巴菲特:當初只花了兩秒鐘就決定投資,我追蹤這家公司已經有25年了,每年都會閱讀他們的年報,(我個人持有他們公司100股,我同時還持有很多其它公司的小額股份,這樣每年就能拿到這些公司年報),美國啤酒近年來的銷售量平平,被其它酒類及運動飲料搶佔了不少市場,美樂啤酒的表現算是不錯的了,所以這使得Anheuser維持既有市佔率更加辛苦,被迫進行許多促銷性的價格競爭,但這個行業性質簡單易懂,而Anheuser多年來建立的基礎依然穩固,過去半個世紀的美國啤酒史更是精彩,就在二次世界大戰不久後,Storr’s在奧瑪哈還擁有五成以上的市場佔有率,但之後全國性的大型啤酒商侵入整合整個市場,到了一九七零年代,Schlitz成為全美最大品牌,雖然美國的啤酒銷售量自此不再大幅成長,但Bud’s卻越來越受到全世界人們的喜愛,Bud將會更壯大,雖然公司的盈餘短期間看不到大幅成長的跡象,但對此我們並不在意。

CM: Sometimes a company needs to go through a patch of unpleasantness, for an investor of our size, if we’re going to be able to buy at a good price.
曼格:對我們規模這麼大的投資人來說,如果真想要大舉進場,可能真要等到潛在標的發生某些狀況時才有辦法。

WB: Also, beer doesn’t face any competition from private labels or generics. But per capita beer consumption is going nowhere.
巴菲特:還有一點,啤酒業不會受到雜牌的影響,但國民平均啤酒消費量確實已經沒有成長的空間。

CM: Decades ago there were hundreds of beer brands in the U.S. The trend for years has been to concentration.
曼格:幾十年前,美國有好幾百種啤酒品牌,多年來呈現集中化的趨勢。

Q: How is Berkshire positioned vs. other buyers of businesses, such as private equity investors and hedge funds? How can Berkshire be unique among buyers?
問題:Berkshire的定位與其他購併買家,如私募基金與避險基金投資人,有何不同? Berkshire如何在激烈的競爭中脫穎而出?

WB: There’s far more money today looking at deals, and that will pay up for good-but-mundane businesses, than five years ago. The situation has eased somewhat recently, but people were lined up to buy just about anything. You have private equity investors selling to other private equity investors, who plan on reselling the business again. Berkshire can’t compete there—but the situation won’t go on forever. Berkshire is not positioned favorably at all to compete with those bidders.
巴菲特:相較於五年前,目前追逐投資標的的資金確實錢滿為患,這會使得優質的企業洛陽紙貴,雖然最近的情況稍有緩解,但大家對於潛在的標的還是非常饑渴,市場上還有一些私募基金也進場湊熱鬧,打著低價搶進然後再高價轉讓的算盤,Berkshire從不與他們窮攪和,而且我認為這種情況也不會維持太久,Berkshire相對於這些潛在競爭者並無多大優勢。

But things can change fast. There have been 3 or 4 times in my career when it looked like so much money was around that it would be impossible to ever do attractive deals or make attractive purchases again. I closed my partnership in 1969 for that reason. Within four years came the greatest buying opportunity of my lifetime. That’s happened several times. In 1998 there were incredible opportunities available. People were just as smart then and had just as much money, but the opportunities were there anyway. In 1998, off-run governments were yielding 30 basis points more than on the run government. Both were highly liquid. Both had zero default risk, yet there was a 30 basis point difference in yield for six months difference in maturity at the long end of the yield curve. It’s hard to believe that can happen, but it does.
但情勢的演變很難說,在我多年的投資生涯中,曾經也有三、四次遇到市場資金多到淹腳目的情況,感覺很難找到價格合理的投資標的,這也是當初在1969年,我之所以會結束合夥事業的原因,但之後過不到四年,就出現了我一生中最好的買進時機,這種情況履試不爽,像1998年時的投資標的就相當的多,人們並沒有變笨,還是一樣有錢,且機會就在眼前,但就是沒有人進場買進,就以非官方公債與政府公債來說,這兩者都具有高度流動性,且幾乎是零風險,但到期日差別六個月的債票,其殖利率卻相差了30個基本點,很難相信會有這種情況出現,但現實就是如此。

The junk bond market is another good example of how quickly things can change. Here’s a chart of the peak yields of selected junk issues, their subsequent trough yields, and the number of months from peak to trough:
垃圾債券市場也是一個很好的例子,下表是部份債券高檔與低檔及兩者相距期間的市場報價。

Issuer Highest Yield (%) Lowest Yield (%) Months from peak to trough

Williams 75.4 7.0 14
Dynegy 67.7 6.0 14
Qwest 54.1 8.5 14
Crown Cork & Seal 48.5 4.4 17
Nortel 44.3 5.4 13
CMS 42.7 4.1 13
ABB 33.7 4.7 13
Lucent 31.6 7.5 16
Source: Berkshire Hathaway

CM: Lots of the buying is fee-motivated. If your fee is a percentage of assets managed, it’s not hard to rationalize paying a higher price for a business. Howard Marks, who I believe is in the audience, actually sent some money back to his investors because he couldn’t find anywhere attractive to invest it. That’s the right way to behave if you’re investing on someone else’s behalf, but it’s not normal behavior.
曼格:許多交易背後的推手都是手續費考量,如果你支付的手續費係以管理的資產總額為基礎,那麼你就不難找到高價購併企業的理由,Howard Marks-我相信應該在座,也曾將部份資金退還給投資人,因為當時的他找不到任何適合的投資標的,我想如果你真的替設身處地替別人想,你就會這樣做,雖然現實社會中很少人會這樣做。

WB: Not long ago I got a call from a guy, whose name you would recognize, who was looking for some advice on a reinsurer he was looking at. He was desperate to make this investment, because if he didn’t do something by a certain deadline, he’d have to send the uninvested money back to his investors. So he was ready to buy a business he didn’t understand. Charlie and I are invested alongside you, so we have downside risk as well as the potential for upside. But the people who run the entities we’re bidding against don’t necessarily have the same downside. Competing now is tough. That said, we have one or two things that could happen that could involve real money.
巴菲特:不久之前,有個傢伙打電話給我,這個人名字說出來大家一定知道,他想問我對投資某家再保險公司的看法,他說他一定要完成這項投資,否則要是時間一到,他就必須將錢退還給投資人,雖然他不懂這個行業,但卻堅持要投資。請記得查理跟我絕對跟大家站在同一條船上,榮辱與共,但某些跟我們強力競標的競爭對手卻沒有任何後顧之憂,現在的競爭相當激烈,搞這玩意可都是要真金白銀。

CM: Our sellers tend to not want to sell to private equity funds or hedge funds—thank God.
曼格:幸好,我們有興趣的投資標的,大多不希望跟私募基金或避險基金打交道。

WB: We haven’t seen any deals by others recently that we wish we had done.
巴菲特:在最近發生的所有交易案中,沒有一件是我們感興趣的。

Q: What advice would you give a young person who’s interested in investing?
問題:對於有志從事投資的年輕人,你有何建議?

WB: I got started when I was 7. I wasted my life before that. (That reminds me of what W.C. Fields said when he inherited some money: he spent half on whiskey and wasted the rest of it.). My father worked at Harris, Upham in Omaha. The stock market was open a half day on Saturday then, and I used to go down to his office Saturday mornings. I read a lot—everything I could find on investing and the stock market. When I was 11 I bought three shares of stock. Then I read Ben Graham when I was at Nebraska. My advice is to read everything in sight, and to start young. If you start young and read a lot, you’ll do well.
巴菲特:我七歲就開始投資,在此之前的時間都浪費掉了,(這讓我想起美國老牌喜劇演員W.C.Fields曾說,他繼承了一些遺產,一半用來買酒喝,另一半則浪費掉了),當年我父親在奧瑪哈的Harris證券工作,當時股市週六只交易半天,而我習慣在那天早上到他的辦公室,我讀很多書,幾乎任何有關投資與股市的書都讀,十一歲時我就開始買股票,之後我在內布拉斯加時讀到葛拉罕的書,我的建議是儘量多讀有益的書,而且要儘早開始,如果你很早就開始且博覽群書,成績應該就會不錯。

There are no secrets to investing that only some select priesthood knows. Successful investing requires a quality of temperament, not a high IQ. You need an IQ of 125, tops—anything more than that is wasted. But you do need a certain temperament, and must be able to think for yourself. Then constantly look for opportunities. You can learn every day. You can’t act every day, but you can learn every day. It’s like any game, if you enjoy playing it, you’ll do well. But start early, and follow a framework that’s been successful.
投資的密訣並沒有什麼天大的秘密,成功的投資仰賴的是EQ而不是IQ,IQ頂多125就足夠,其它再高也沒有用,但心理素質要非常強,同時要能夠獨立思考,接下來就是耐心等待機會來臨,你必須每天學習,而不是每天交易,這就好像是一場遊戲,如果你喜歡這種遊戲,你就能玩得不錯,但最好儘早開始,同時找一套可行的成功模式。

CM: Warren respects the investment process a lot more than I do. It really is a low calling, compared to other callings such as being a surgeon. I don’t like to see such a high percentage of GDP going into investment management, and I don’t like to see so much brainpower go into investment management. I hate the fact that we have played a role in that. Corporate CEOs would do well, though, to spend more time studying investing.
曼格:巴菲特比較有一套標準的投資模式,相較於外科醫生,投資這一行實在是一種低賤的職業,我不期望看到太多的國民生產力投注到投資管理之上,我也不希望看到太多的人材投入到這一行,其實我很痛恨我們自己也是其中的一員,不過我認為大企業總裁倒是應該多花一點時間來學習投資學。

WB: That’s right. Managers could do better if they understood investing better. Very often a CEO will have someone else handle his personal money. But he’ll let a team of investment bankers waltz into the room and make a 2-hour presentation on some deal, and the CEO will then preside over some strategy committee that will decide whether to do the deal or not—yet this same CEO feels he’s not qualified to make his own investment decisions.
巴菲特:沒錯,經理人若懂得投資學,他們的表現一定會比現在好,通常CEO會將個人財富交由別人來打理,但他們卻能任由西裝比挺的投資銀行家花兩個小時的時間做簡報,然後再主持幾個決策委員會就決定金額龐大的購併案,可笑的是,這樣的人卻覺得自己沒辦法為自己管理金錢。

CM: The present era has no precedent for how much energy is being put into buying and selling activities. No past era has seen this much concentration of frenzied energy. It reminds me of Sodom and Gomorrah.
曼格:目前的情況是前所未有的,很難估算到底買方與賣方投注了多少力量在其中,這讓我想到曾獲得奧斯卡最佳影片的天火焚城錄。

Q: What is your view on Petro-China?
問題:你對於中國石油化學的看法?

WB: We bought Petro-China a few years ago after I read the company’s annual report. It’s the first Chinese stock we’ve owned, and the last, so far. The company produces 3% of the world’s oil, which is a lot of oil. It is 80% the size of ExxonMobil. Last year Petro-China earned $12 billion. Just 5 companies on the Fortune 500 made that much last year. When we bought the company, it had a market cap of $35 billion, so we ended up paying 3 times what the company earned last year. Petro-China doesn’t have a lot of leverage. It will pay out 45% of what it earns, so based on what we paid for the stock, we’re getting a 15% cash yield on our investment. The Chinese government owns 90% of the stock and we own 1%, so I like to joke that between the two of us, we control the company. Unfortunately, we had to disclose when we owned 10% of the non-government class of shares. We would have bought more, but the share price rose. Management does a good job running the company. Petro-China has 500,000 employees.
巴菲特:幾年前在我看過中國石油化學的年報後,就決定買進該公司的股份,這是我們第一次投資中國的股票,也是目前為止惟一的一次,她的規模是艾克森石油的八成,去年中國石油化學賺了120億美元,財富前五百大只有五家公司能有此成績,當我們買進該公司股份時,她的市值不過350億美元,也就是說我們等於是以三倍的本益比進行投資,此外中石化沒有太多的融資槓桿,並且將盈餘的45%發放股利,若以投資成本計,這約當15%的股息報酬率,中國政府持有九成的股權,我們則擁有百分之一,所以我喜歡開玩笑說,只要我們兩位股東就可控制該公司,可惜的是,若非法令規定任何人持有非政府持股超過10%就必須公告,使得消息曝光股價因而大漲,否則我們還會買更多,經營階層把公司管理的很不錯,該公司總共有50萬名員工。

CM: It would be a nice life if opportunities like this happened all the time.
曼格:若是時常有這樣的投資機會出現,生命將更加美好。

WB: Anyone could have read the Petro-China annual and saw what we saw. We never went to see the company before we invested. It was all right there, in black and white. I just sat in my office and read the report. At the time, Yukos was far better-known in the U.S. than Petro-China was. Given what’s going on in the two countries, you need to ask whether you’d rather own Russia or China. Petro-China was far cheaper than Yukos. And the economic climate is better in China than it is in Russia. If the company were trading at the same valuation as a U.S. oil company, that would be different.
巴菲特:任何人都可以拿到中國石油化學的年報,看到我們所看到的,在正式投資以前,我們也沒有去看過公司,這家公司一直都存在,白紙黑字,我不過是在辦公室拿起他的年報來讀一讀,那時候,美國人比較知道俄羅斯的Yukos石油,觀諸兩國近年來的發展,你就應該知道要投資那一個國家,中石化比Yukos要便宜的多,中國的經濟前景也遠優於俄國,當然要是這家公司的本益比與美國石油同業相當的話,那情況就不一樣了。

Q: The prices of many raw materials are surging. If materials prices keep rising, will corporate margins be hurt?
問題:許多原物料成本高漲,是否會傷及企業獲利能力?

WB: It depends on the business. Our carpet business has been very affected by rising oil prices. We have lagged being able to put through the hikes to our customers. We want to protect our retailers somewhat. Johns-Manville uses a lot of natural gas, so the rise of natural gas prices has hurt margins.
巴菲特:這要看個別企業狀況而定,像我們的地毯事業受到油價上漲的衝擊就非常的大,為了保護下游的通路商,我們並沒有立即反應成本調漲售價,Johns-Manville使用大量的天然氣,所以天然氣價格上漲也壓縮該公司的毛利空間。

Businesses with strong positions tend to be able to pass through higher raw material costs, just as they can pass through higher personnel costs. Higher materials costs is really a form of tax, but on the consumer, not on the business. Corporate profitability as a percentage of GDP is at an all-time high right now, so it wouldn’t be surprising if that number were to fall. Notably, corporate taxes as a percentage of all taxes paid is at an all-time low.
強勢的企業比較容易將原料上漲成本轉嫁給下游,人力成本也一樣,高漲的原料成本是另一種形式的稅捐,只不過課徵的對象是消費者而不是廠商,目前企業獲利佔國內生產毛額的比率創歷史新高,所以自高檔反轉向下並不奇怪,事實上,企業租稅佔全部稅收的比率反而創下歷史新低。

CM: It’s hard to know which companies will be able to pass through higher costs—but it’s important to know.
曼格:很難判斷那家公司是否能夠將成本轉嫁出去,但擁有這樣的判斷能力卻很重要。

WB: We like to buy businesses that we think have untapped pricing power. In 1972 when we were looking at See’s, we asked ourselves, if prices were raised by 10 cents per pound, would sales fall? We believed they would not. You’re not in a great business if you have to have long management discussions before you raise prices. The newspaper industry 30 years ago had a lock on advertisers’ business, because it owned the only megaphone in town that local advertisers could use to reach consumers. Rate hikes were a big yawn to most publishers. They didn’t care about alienating subscribers or advertisers. They raised prices when newsprint prices went up, and then raised prices when newsprint prices went down. Now publishers agonize over price increases. They don’t want to drive advertisers away to other media. And they don’t want to drive away readers; when they leave, they never come back. You can learn a lot about a business by the machinations it goes through to raise prices. It’s been tough to raise prices in the beer business lately, which is not a good economic sign.
巴菲特:我們喜歡買下具有超強價格控制能力的企業,1972年當我們正要買進喜斯糖果時,我們曾問自己,如果每磅的糖果價格調漲十美分,銷售量是否會因此下滑? 我們的答案是不會,如果每次調整價格都要瞻前顧後的話,這家公司肯定不算是好公司,就像新聞事業在三十年前的廣告業界獨領風騷,因為它是城市內惟一的傳聲筒,是廣告主與消費者溝通的唯一媒介,調漲報費對發行人來說不過是小事一樁,他們根本就不怕這樣做會得罪廣告主與讀者,只要印刷成本上漲就馬上反應,而印刷成本下滑時,卻也照漲不誤。不像現在的報紙,調漲價格根本就是不可能的事,他們深怕客戶會棄他們而去,選擇其他媒體,且往往從此一去不回,你可能從一家企業的調漲價格過程中學到許多,像啤酒業者最近要調價就面臨很多阻力,這實在不是一個好現象。

Q: Now that dividends receive favorable tax treatment, how do you feel about the possibility of declaring a dividend?
問題:目前股利發放將可享受租稅優惠,你是否考慮發放股利?

WB: Dividends are lightly taxed now. But as we’ve said in the past, event if dividends weren’t taxed at all, we wouldn’t pay a dividend. If we can retain a dollar and have it be worth more than that in present-value terms, we’ll hold that dollar. With as much cash as we have now, that’s not easy.
巴菲特:股利現在的稅負確實比以往低,但就像是過去我們一再說過的,如果我們所保留的每一塊錢都能產生比一塊錢更高的效益的話,那麼就算股利發放完全不課稅,我們也不考慮發放任何股利,當然以現在我們持有如此龐大的現金部位,要達到這樣的原則並不容易。

The burden of proof on the dividend issue may shift in a few years if things don’t change, though. As we get bigger, it could be that we should pay a dividend—maybe even a large one. So far, though, we feel our dividend policy has been right. But if we sit here a few years from now and still haven’t deployed our cash, the burden of proof will be on us.
如果情況不改變,我們發放股利的壓力在幾年內可能會有所轉變,隨著我們的規模日益擴大,發放股利有可能會變成常態,而且有可能一口氣發放大筆的股利,不過到目前為止,我認為我們的股利政策還算允當,只是要是我們再沒有任何動作,過不了幾年,這種壓力就會臨頭。

Q: How far down do you think the dollar will go?
問題:你認為美元會貶到何種程度?

WB: The trade deficit is at $618 billion, and the current account deficit is also huge. As big as the U.S. is, something could happen in a big way to get things back in balance. Some economists say that a soft landing is likely. I don’t know how that is. I don’t know why or how the numbers will come down, but they will. The U.S. is transferring its wealth abroad. Paul Volcker recently expressed some apprehension in an op-ed piece in the Washington Post. Volcker is not sure that they’ll be a soft landing.
巴菲特:目前的貿易赤字高達6,180億美元,同時經常帳赤字也高掛,然而像美國這樣龐大的經濟體,總是須要一段很長的時間才能回正,有些經濟學家認為有可能軟著陸,我不知道如何做到,但我相信最後一定會,美國正把其財富不斷地往外送,前美國聯準會主席Paul Volcker最近就在華盛頓郵報發表一篇社論公開表達憂慮,Volcker就不確定軟著陸一定會發生。

There’s a very high percentage of capital now that’s on a hair trigger. Some is invested in the carry trade, some in bonds, and some in stocks. Something is going to happen to make all those investors change their minds at once. The size of this “electronic herd” is at an all-time high. Some exogenous event, a la an LTCM, could cause a stampede.
目前市場上有非常多的浮濫資金,箭在弦上,有些從事利率價差交易,有些投資債券,有些則投資股票,但有可能突然間發生一件事情,使得所有的投資人都改變主意,使得這些電子游離族群數量創下新高,只要一旦某些突發事件發生,如LTCM之類的意外,就會爆發恐慌性殺盤。

If you are the rest of the world, you can’t get rid of your dollars; you can’t have everyone head for the doors at once. Predicting the timing of a future economic event is not easy. Predicting what will happen is easier, though.
雖然這看起來跟你都沒有關係,但由於你持有美元資產,你無法讓所有人同時都朝一個門前進,所以猜測未來經濟事件發生時點的困難度非常的高,不過預言會發生什麼事倒是容易的許多。

CM: I’m more repelled by the lack of virtue in how people use consumer credit. I differ with Warren on the dollar somewhat. A great civilization has a lot of ruin in it. Are there dangers in the current situation? Yes. But I believe the system can stand a lot more abuse.
曼格:我倒是比較厭惡現在的人毫無節制地使用消費性貸款,關於美元,我的看法跟巴菲特有點不同,一個偉大的文明,難免有些藏污納垢的地方,這些危機是否會引發崩潰? 有可能,但我認為目前這系統還能再撐一陣子。

WB: The U.S. is an incredibly huge, rich country. Suppose it were a farm that were so vast that its owners (us) couldn’t travel to its outer reaches. Assume that each year, we consumed 6% more than the farm produces, and paid the difference by selling off, or mortgaging, little pieces of the farm. We can’t even see what we’ve sold, since the farm’s so big, that we don’t even feel it. The rest of the world is happy to take a little piece of our farm. That’s been going on for awhile, and has accelerated.
巴菲特:美國是一個極其富裕的國家,她好比是一個大農場,這個農場大到連主人都逛不完,又假設每年我們消耗的都比這個農場產出多6%,而且以賣出或抵押農場的部份所有權來解決,雖然因為農場實在太大,所以這麼做一時間感覺無關痛癢,同時全世界其他人也樂此不疲,這種情況將一直持續下去,同時有加速進行的態勢。

That can go on a long time, and eventually the world will own a big part of the U.S. We send $2 billion abroad daily.
最後的結果是,全世界將成為美國的主人,我們平均每天要流失20億美元。

CM: This doesn’t bother me as much as it does Warren. What does it matter if foreigners own 10% of the U.S., if the wealth of the U.S. is 30% higher?
曼格:我倒是沒有那麼擔心,只要美國人比原來有錢,就算讓外國人分走其中10%又何妨?

WB: There’s a difference between wealth and one’s place in the world. Suppose that, instead of fighting the Revolutionary War, we agreed to give the British 3% to 5% of our national product every year, and in return they agreed to leave us alone. I don’t know how long Americans would put up with that before they demanded outright independence and an end to the payments. The U.S. is paying tribute to the rest of the world. It’s not a stable situation. Berkshire currently owns $21 billion in foreign currency contracts.
巴菲特:這當然有差別,假設當年我們不打獨立戰爭,而決議讓英國每年抽取3%-5%的全國產出以換取我們的自由,我很好奇美國人要等到什麼時候才會跳起來要求完全的獨立,並停止支付款項,美國等於是在向全世界朝貢,這不是一種穩定的常態,這也是為何Berkshire持有高達210億美元外匯部位的原因。

Q: What would happen to Berkshire if the housing market declines?
問題:如果房地產景氣反轉,Berkshire會不會受到影響?

WB: A decline in the housing market would hurt certain of our businesses, such as carpets, but those reversals would be made up for elsewhere. If there is a bubble, and it’s pricked, we’d feel it in some of our operating businesses. But we’d also likely see an increase in investment opportunities. I’m generally not big on making macro calls (our foreign exchange bet notwithstanding); it’s better to invest company by company, as we have with Petro-China. The current state of the housing market brings to mind what happened 25 years ago in farmland in Nebraska. Land was selling at $2,000 an acre, that could be bought a few years later at $600 per acre from the FDIC. The thinking during the farmland boom was that cash was trash. Inflation was high. A lot of banks, some of which had survived the depression, failed. People go crazy in economics periodically.
巴菲特:房地產景氣反轉,會影響到Berkshire某些產業,像是地毯業等,但這樣的反轉,終有一天還是會回升,如果有泡沫發生,且破滅,則我們某些產業確會感受得到,但同時我們也會看到某些投資機會出現,基本上,我個人對於總體經濟並不在行,(我們的外匯投資部位算是例外),最好是按個別公司一家一家談,就像是中國石油化學一樣,最近房地產的景況讓我想到內布拉斯加25年以前的農地市場,本來一英畝賣600美元的土地,幾年間忽然漲到2,000美元,當時通貨高漲,人們認為手持現金會變薄,很多在大蕭條倖存下來的銀行反而倒閉,景氣循環有時總會脫離常軌。

Residential housing is a bit different from farmland, of course. People live in houses, so that the investment isn’t purely economic. But I’m not sure why prices should be expected to rise faster than construction costs over a long period.
當然,住宅市場與農場有些不同,人們買房子主要是用來居住,所以這不全然是經濟供需問題,但我想不出房屋售價漲幅能夠一直高於建築成本漲幅的理由。

CM: There’s a real estate asset price bubble going in places like Laguna, Calif. and Washington, DC. A very ordinary oceanfront house in Laguna sold for $3.5 million. Figure $500,000 for construction costs; that means that the land sold for $3 million. Granted, it was an oceanfront property, and so relatively scarce. Still, the plot size was just under an eighth of an acre, which means that the land underneath a modest oceanfront house sells for around $27 million an acre.
曼格:在加州的Laguna以及華盛頓特區確實存在著房地產泡沫的情況,在Laguna一棟非常普通的房子就因為靠海可能要價350萬美元,若以50萬的建築成本計算,這代表土地要價300萬美元,好! 就算是因為它臨近海邊,但其面積只不過1/8英畝,換算一英畝臨近海邊土地的價格高達2,700萬美元。

WB: At $27 million an acre I’d rather stare at the bathtub.
巴菲特:一英畝2,700萬美元? 我寧可待在家裡泡浴缸。

Q: How do you manage the correlation of risks among Gen Re, National Indemnity, and Berkshire’s other businesses?
問題:請問你如何控管通用再保、國家產險與Berkshire其它事業的連帶風險?

WB: One of my main jobs is to manage the risk among our insurance companies. If we get an earthquake in the wrong place, many of our businesses could be affected, including See’s, Wells Fargo, National Indemnity, and General Re, all at once.
巴菲特:我個人主要的工作之一就是控管各個保險事業的風險,如果地震發生在要命的地方,我們旗下許多事業都會受到影響,包含喜斯糖果、富國銀行、國家產險與通用再保在內。

When there’s trouble, everything correlates. The most likely mega-cat we face is a hurricane. It could be a $25 billion-$100 billion event. An earthquake can be just as bad as a hurricane. My job is to know the worst case. What happens if a Force 5 hurricane travels up the East Coast? A hurricane hit Long Island in the 1930s. It was just potato fields then, but there’s a huge amount of insured exposure there now. Everything that can happen will happen. There were three earthquakes of 8.0 or higher in New Madrid, Mo. There was a severe earthquake in South Carolina. Extraordinary things can happen. Hurricanes and earthquakes are the biggest risks. We’ve gotten rid of all our nuclear, biological, and chemical exposure.
一旦意外發生,所有事情都會相互牽連,最有可能發生的超級大災難就屬颶風,損失有可能高達250億到1,000億美元,地震引發的損失也不惶多讓,我的工作就是預先設想最壞的狀況,萬一五級超強颶風侵襲東部時會怎樣? 1930年就曾有颶風席捲長島地區,當時那個地方還只種滿馬鈴薯,但現在卻有成千上萬的投保標的物,任何事情都可能發生,只是時間早晚而已,新馬德里就曾經發生過三次八級以上的大地震,南卡羅萊納也曾發生嚴重的大地震,颶風與地震是我們的天敵,至於核生化的風險則已完全被我們排除在理賠範圍之外。

We wrote a policy to insure a large international airport to cover $500 million in excess of $2.5 billion, excluding NBC. Only $1.6 billion counts toward business interruption—that would take years to accumulate. So there needs to be $900 million in physical damage before we pay anything. We wrote a policy on the Final Four, and would have paid $75 million if the event were cancelled. Not postponed—canceled. We wrote a similar policy on the Grammys. We’re willing to lose a lot of money in one day on transactions such as this. If we didn’t exclude NBC, we would run the risk of extinction as a company. We will write NBC coverage under certain circumstances and under certain restrictions.
我們簽下了一項大型國際機場的保單,承擔超過25億美元以上的5億美元損失,當然這不包含核生化災害損失,營運中斷風險最高累積金額為16億美元,所以除非發生超過9億美元以上的實體損失,才需要我們出面理賠,此外我們也受理NCAA決賽保單,萬一比賽取消可能產生的損失,理賠金額最高7,500萬美元,延期不算,一定要取消才賠,我們也曾受理葛萊美頒獎典禮,我們願意從事這類可能在一天內損失大筆金錢的交易,而要是沒有把核生化風險排除調的話,可能連Berkshire都會被搞倒,只有在非常例外與特定條件之下,我們才受理這類風險。

CM: We care a lot about these sorts of risk. A tsunami has never hit California, but there’s no reason one might not. So we think a lot about it. I don’t know of any company that has as much NBC exclusions as we do. We worry more about the downside. It’s Armageddon around here very day. We don’t like losing money.
曼格:我們非常在意這類風險,雖然過去海嘯從來就沒有侵襲過加州,但這不代表以後就不可能會發生,所以我們考慮地非常周詳,我不清楚有那一家公司對於核生化風險的排除,有我們這麼乾淨,我們是先天下之憂而憂,這年頭世界末日的場景時常發生,我們不喜歡虧本的感覺。

WB: I don’t like the idea of risking what you need for the sake of getting what you don’t need. I have a 98-year-old aunt who has everything invested in Berkshire stock. Maybe if we charged 2 and 20, I’d feel differently.
巴菲特:我一向不喜歡偷雞不著蝕把米,我有一位高齡98歲的阿姨,她把所有的財產都擺在Berkshire股票上,開價是二元或二十元,我的感覺完全不一樣。

Q: What are your thoughts on education reform?
問題:對於教改你有何看法?

WB: The public education system in this country is dreadful. Like virginity, a good school system is not easily restored. Next to the nuclear threat, it is our number-one problem. I don’t like the idea of a two-tiered school system, one private, one public. I don’t care about the quality of the public golf courses in Omaha, because I play on a private course. Same thing in education: if the wealthiest and most privileged families send their children to private school, they won’t care about the public schools and the public schools will suffer.
巴菲特:美國目前的公立教育體系相當糟糕,就像是處女之身一樣,好的教育體系很難維持,除了核武危機,這是我們第二號難題,我不喜歡所謂公私立兩套體制的做法,就像我不在乎奧瑪哈公立高爾夫球場的品質如何,因為我只到私人球場去打球,教育系統也是一樣,如果讓有權有勢的人家都把自己的子女送到私立學校時,那麼就不再有人會在乎公立學校的情況是如何,這時公立學校的景況就可想而知。

CM: I was talking to a guy whose wife is a public school teacher, and he said that she records the books for the kids who can’t read them, so the kids can take part in the discussion of what happened in the stories. That’s a failure. The erosion of the public schools never should have been allowed to happen.
曼格:我跟一位老婆任職公立學校老師的先生談過,他說她必須幫無法閱讀課本的學生錄音,這樣這些小孩才有辦法參與故事的討論,這真是教育的失敗,公立學校的沉淪已經到了忍無可忍的地步。

WB: In the U.S. everyone should have equality of opportunity. You can’t have that if the richest and most privileged kids go to private schools, while other, less privileged kids go to armed camps.
巴菲特:在美國,人人應該都享有平等的機會,沒道理讓有權有勢的子弟享受高等的私立教育,而次等的子弟卻只有入伍當兵一途。

Q: How will the shift in mortgage lending to more 0%-down mortgages affect the overall savings rate?
問題:抵押借款利率轉向無保證金抵押借款,對於整體儲蓄存款利率有何影響?

WB: Any house represents savings. Home construction comes about through savings. Lending terms have gotten easier as prices have risen. That’s the opposite of normal. Mortgages are now intermediated; the buyer of the mortgage doesn’t need to look at the particulars of the individual borrower. It just cares about the guarantee. . During the farm bubble in small towns, things got crazy. People began to say that farmland was an appreciation investment, not an income investment. It was just a form of the greater fool theory, and is nothing that banks should engage in. Right now, the rest of the world is our savior in providing credit.
巴菲特:任何房地產都代表是一種儲蓄,房屋建築便是經由儲蓄來達成,借款條件隨著房地產價格上揚而更優渥,這並不是一種正常的現象,抵押貸款目前已經產生質變,買方不再需要看個別借款人的背景,他們只關心抵押品的品質,當小鎮的爆發農場熱潮時,情況往往失控,人們開始會說,農地是一種會增值的投資工具,而不是有收益的工具,這實際是在玩誰是最後一隻老鼠的遊戲,而我不認為銀行應該進來湊熱鬧,目前全世界已經成為我們資金的提供者。

CM: It’s obvious that easy lending on houses causes prices to rise, and new houses to be built. Eventually, this will cause prices to decline.
曼格:很顯然的,借貸容易是助漲房地產價格上揚的元兇,同時這也促使新建房屋爆增,最後房地產終將大幅回檔修正。

WB: Suppose for a minute that Omaha were static, with no births or deaths, and no net migration, and that every year everyone sold his house to someone else in the community. In the first year the price might be $100,000, then the next year it’s $150,000. There’s no net change in wealth. This kind of thing happens in the economy as a whole; people stop thinking and just depend on the guarantee. There are these kinds of “buried Ponzi effects” in any economy that are little studied.
巴菲特:假設我們讓奧瑪哈停止一分鐘,沒有人出生或死亡,也沒有人搬進或遷出,而每年奧瑪哈的居民都把房子賣給同地區的人,在頭一年,房屋售價可能是10萬美元,然後隔一年變成15萬美元,實際上財富並沒有增加,這種事情時常發生在一個經濟體內,人們不再思考判斷而只依賴擔保品,任何不願認真學習的經濟體都會有這種老鼠會的現象發生。

Q: Can gold be a good substitute for a paper currency?
問題:黃金有可能成為紙幣的替代品嗎?

WB: I’m not crazy about gold as a hard asset, compared to, say, oil, See’s candies, or Coke. If the value of the dollar dropped by half, we’d sell See’s chocolates at twice the price. I prefer hard assets that are useful. I wouldn’t trade ownership of See’s for a hunk of yellow metal that has little use. When I was a boy we all used to get lectures from my father at the dinner table about the virtues of gold. Gold sold for $35 an ounce in 1940, and it sells for around $400 an ounce now. That’s not a very good return, especially when you consider the cost along the way of storage and insurance.
巴菲特:我不認為黃金是一種實質的資產,尤其是把它跟石油、喜斯糖果或者是可口可樂相比,如果美元的價值下跌一半,喜斯糖果的價格就有可能調漲一倍,我比較偏愛有用的實質資產,所以我不會將喜斯糖果拿去跟一堆沒用的黃色金屬做交換,小時候我常常在飯桌前,聽我父親講到黃金的種種好處,當時1940年黃金每盎司賣35美元,現在的價格則約400美元,這並不是很划算的投資,尤其是再加計儲存與保險的成本後。

Q: What are your greatest fears?
問題:你最怕的事情是什麼?

WB: I don’t worry about the economics of our businesses. I do worry about something going wrong at our businesses, a la Salomon. We have a lot of employees, and it’s a sure thing that at any given moment, someone might be doing something wrong. So we try to have a culture that minimizes the urge to cut corners. If I get on a NetJets jet and am running late, I’m not going to tell the pilot that it would be great if he could hurry. I want him to go by the book.
巴菲特:我並不擔心旗下事業的經營情況,不過我確實擔心這些事業是否做錯了什麼事,比如說當年的所羅門,我們有非常多的員工,所有難免在某個時後,有人會犯錯,因此我們試著培養不抄短線的企業文化,如果我搭NetJets的飛機趕時間,我絕對不會告訴飛行員開快一點,我會要他一切按規矩行事。

Companies tell people to do bad things all the time via their compensation schemes. It’s a bad idea to have making quarterly numbers as an incentive. I don’t know what our quarterly results will be. We have $45 billion in loss reserves; is that the right number? Who knows? It could just as easily be $44.75 billion. That extra $250 million could be used to “make” a quarter. My managers don’t have pre-set budgets to meet. I don’t even see their budgets. If we don’t make an adequate return it’s my fault; the problem would be deploying capital.
當績效制度設計不當時,公司往往間接促使員工做壞事,像我認為以季為基礎計算績效就是一個很不好的制度,我從來不知道我們的季目標為何,我們帳上有高達450億美元的損失準備,這個數字對嗎? 會不會太多或太少? 誰知道? 或許有可能是447.5億美元,這樣我們2.5億美元的單季業績便可輕易達成,我們的經理人從來沒有預先設定的預算要達成,我甚至沒看過他們的預算,如果我們沒有獲得合理的報酬,那就是我的錯,問題出在資金是否運用得當。

CM: It’s bad when headquarters says that earnings must go up regularly. That’s not the kissing cousin of evil—it’s the blood brother of evil. In business, earnings don’t always go up regularly. It’s not just compensation that makes people do bad things. Sometimes, people just don’t want to make the boss look bad, if he’s enunciated a certain earnings goal. You don’t want to set up a system that exerts financial or psychological pressure on people to do things that they know they shouldn’t do.
曼格:我想若總部不斷要求旗下事業的盈餘必須穩定成長就糟糕了,企業的經營,其盈餘是不可能會一直穩定地增加的,這不只是會讓員工幹壞事的機制,有時部屬不過是希望自己老闆的面子太難看,如果他被賦予某些盈餘目標的話,我想我們不會希望施行一套會對旗下人員施加財務或心理壓力,以致使他們被迫做出本來不願做的事。

Q: You said in your annual letter that business ability is largely innate. How can you evaluate that ability in the absence of a track record?
問題:你在年報中曾提到企業的能力通常都是天生的,在缺乏過去記錄可循的情況下,你是如何去評估的?

WB: We’re lucky, because we’ve bought businesses run by people who have demonstrable track records. But if I go visit a class of 50 MBA students, I can’t rank them ahead of time by who’ll be most successful. It’s tough to go out to the practice tee and tell who the scratch golfers are just by looking at their swings. We look at people who have long track records, and we assume that they won’t screw up in the future. \
巴菲特:我們運氣不錯,因為當初我們買進時,這些企業本來就有經營績效不錯的管理人才,但如果讓我同時面談五十位MBA學生,我可能就無法判斷將來誰最成功,我想很難單從練習揮桿的姿勢,就能判斷誰是最優秀的高爾夫球員,我們要的人是有長期記錄可循的人,這樣我們就比較能假定他們以後也不太會出錯。

What’s the best indicator of future success? How early in life you start your own business. A lot of success is based on your wiring—and a lot is based on how you work with the wiring you have. At Berkshire, our managers tend to have the right wiring. Some of them never say anything dumb about business. It’s wiring, and it’s temperament. You want to bet on those people. Since my dad wouldn’t let me be a bookmaker, I went into investing.
什麼是未來成功的最佳保證? 那要看你何時開始開創事業,許多成功是基於你的架構,或者說你是如何運用你所建立的架構,在Berkshire,我們的經理人都有正確的觀念,他們很少會出差錯,這是觀念與態度問題,如果你要壓寶在這些人身上。因為我父親反對我成為出版業者,所以我改行做投資。

Q: How happy are you about Cologne Re? You used to own 80% of company, via Gen Re. Now you’re up to 91%.
問題:你對科隆再保為何特別偏愛? 透過通用再保,你本來只持有該公司80%的股份,現在為何提高到91%?

WB: It’s not a pressing issue. We have bought some additional shares, but there’s no particular reason why we should bring it up to 100%.
巴菲特:這沒有什麼特別原因,我們只不過又買進了一些股份,我們也不一定非提高到百分之百不可。

Q: What’s going to happen to the regulatory environment for Fannie and Freddie?
問題:Fannie跟Freddie的情況以後會如何演變?

WB: The GSEs have expanded their original reason for being. At first, they were just supposed to guarantee mortgages, like the FHA and VA. That allowed lenders to make loans on properties that were far away. This helped make the mortgage market more efficient. When I got my first mortgage, I went down to see Mr. Brownley at the Occidental Building and Loan. He knew me, he knew my family, and he knew the property I wanted to buy.
巴菲特:GSE早已超越其當初設立的目的,一開始,它們只不過是為了要替抵押品做保證,就像是FHA跟VA一樣,這套機制讓貸款人提供借款給外地的產業,這有助於抵押貸款市場效率化,當我第一次辦理抵押貸款時,我到位於Occidental大樓找Brownly先生辦理貸款,他認識我,也認識我的家族,同時他也很清楚我要買的標的。

Then the GSEs expanded from guaranteeing mortgages to investing in them. They could earn high returns doing this because they were viewed as government agencies, and so could lever up. Fannie and Freddie are big users of the carry trade. But they got carried away when they promised a certain, high rate of earnings growth. You can’t guarantee steady earnings growth with a carry-trade operation, because you can’t always match your assets to your liabilities. You can hedge, but the hedge won’t be perfect. The only way Fannie and Freddie could perfectly match their assets and liabilities would be if they could sell callable 30-year bonds—but they can’t do that because no one would buy them.
然後GSE從提供貸款保證,演變為買進抵押貸款,它們之所以能夠賺取高報酬的原因在於,它們被視為官方機構,所以可以很容易操做財務槓桿,Fannie跟Freddie大量從事利差交易,但套到最後的結果,在為了追求高盈餘成長的壓力驅使下,自己反而被套,在利差交易的模式下,你絕對無法讓盈餘保持無限制的成長,因為你的資產負債部位很難軋平,雖然你可以採取避險,但風險卻無法完全規避,Fannie跟Freddie惟一能夠軋平所有部位的方法就是發行30年期可贖回的債券,但這根本不可能,因為沒有人敢買這樣的債券。

They built these huge portfolios using accounting shenanigans. It boggles the mind. Now the government will be on the hook if something goes wrong. There’s going to be a huge fight about how Fannie and Freddie should be reined in. The companies used to have (and still have) a lot of clout in Congress. The mess is the consequence if issuing a blank check to a company that promises it’s going to grow at a mid-teens rate. The government can’t tell them to get rid of their portfolios—the portfolios are too large. Maybe it can impose some portfolio limits. Fannie and Freddie have acted like the two biggest hedge funds in history.
他們利用會計手法建立起這些龐大的部位,欺騙世人,一旦東窗事發卻要政府進場承擔,我想要駕御Fannie跟Freddie可能要費很大一番功夫,這兩家公司在國會的勢力相當龐大,問題就出在政府當初不該賦予私人公司一張空白支票,任其無限制擴張,以致於規模大到無法處理,或許可以對其設限做為解決之道,這兩家公司儼然成為史上最大的兩支避險基金。

There won’t be any shortage of buyers if Fannie and Freddie had to shrink their portfolios. It wouldn’t be the end of the world if the companies had to cut back on their purchases.
若Fannie跟Freddie要縮小規模,絕對不怕找不到買主,而就算他們不進場買進貸款,這個世界依然可以順利運作。

CM: A lot of the companies’ troubles came about from derivatives and silver-tongued salesmanship.
曼格:很多公司的問題就出在衍生性金融商品,以及業務員的舌燦蓮花。

WB: How can you have a $5 billion mis-mark at one company, and a $9 billion mis-mark at the other? We’re a long way from Jimmy Stewart.
巴菲特:一家公司怎麼可能會漏失50億美元,而湊巧另一家又漏失90億美元,比起老牌演員吉米史都華,我們還差得遠。

Q: Why hasn’t Berkshire invested more in Europe and the UK—particularly since you’re so negative on the dollar?
問題:Berkshire為什麼沒有多投資歐洲及英國一點,尤其你是如此看空美元?

WB: We own a large electric utility business in the UK, via Mid-America Energy. One problem in the UK is that investors need to disclose their holdings once they get to 3%. So if we’re looking at a company with a £5 billion market cap, we’d have to disclose once our stake got to be £150 million. We have owned Guinness, now part of Diageo. But we do think twice, because of that 3% requirement. It’s a deterrent, but not an overwhelming deterrent. We would feel comfortable with a lot of UK businesses.
巴菲特:在英國我們透過美中能源擁有一家大型的電力事業,英國有一個問題是一旦投資人持有某家公司股份超過3%的股份就必須公告,如果我們鎖定一家市值50億英磅的公司的話,這等於投資超過1.5億英磅就必須揭露,我們持有Guinness,現在是Diageo的一部份,但受限於這3%的規定,使得我們在投資前必須三思而後行,這有點妨礙,但不致於讓我們完全做壁上觀,我們很想要多投資一些英國企業。

CM: It’s an odd occurrence that we own socialized currencies vs. the dollar.
曼格:想到我們放棄美元轉而擁有社會化的貨幣,這實在是有點奇怪的現象。

WB: Europe and the UK are slow-growing, but that’s largely because their populations aren’t growing. If you look at GDP growth per capita, the difference in growth rates between Europe and the U.S. isn’t that wide.
巴菲特:目前歐洲跟英國的經濟成長緩慢,其主要的原因在於人口飽和,如果單看國民平均生產毛額來說,美國與歐洲的差距並不太大。

Q: Should a U.S. business owner be concerned about the declining dollar?
問題:美國企業老闆是不是該多多注意日益下跌的美元?

WB: It’s tough for individuals to invest in foreign currencies. Better to invest in your own abilities. Anything you do to develop your own abilities and your business will be more productive than worrying about foreign exchange rates. If you own a good business in the U.S., you’ll do ok.
巴菲特:個人要投資外幣有點麻煩,我說過最好在自己的能力範圍內投資,與其擔憂美元下跌,還不如把精神集中在提昇自己的能力與企業的競爭力,如果你在美國經營事業,問題應該不大。

CM: Berkshire doesn’t do much asset allocation. We don’t want to have our search constrained by pre-set limits. On this issue, we are out of step with modern investment management. That’s ok—they’re wrong. We could’ve owned $30 billion in junk bonds if the market hadn’t gone up so quickly. I’m a big believer in the saying that “If it’s not worth doing at all, then it’s not worth doing well.”
曼格:Berkshire不太做資產規劃,我們不希望自己太過受限,在這個議題上,我們顯然跟不上當今學術的潮流,這無所謂,因為我認為他們是錯的,要不是當出垃圾債券市場價格反應的太快,我們可能一口氣持有300億美元的垃圾債券,不值得做的事,做得再好也沒用,我是這個觀念的死忠支持者。

Q: If the dollar continues to fall, how much do you think that the resulting inflationary tendencies could affect Berkshire’s businesses?
問題:如果美元繼續下跌,你認為Berkshire旗下企業受通膨衝擊的影響有多大?

WB: Inflation destroys value, but unequally. The best businesses don’t require much in the way of new investment. Airlines have been hurt the most. They have to keep buying new airplanes, and maintaining the ones they own. That means they’re investing more and more dollars that will fall in value. People such as brain surgeons and lawyers aren’t as hurt by inflation. They bought their degrees and training years ago, and don’t need to do much reinvesting. They’ll maintain their earnings power regardless of what happens to inflation.
巴菲特:通膨是傷害價值的大敵,但影響的程度不一,最優良的企業並不需要大量的投資,航空業受影響的程度較深,他們必須持續添購新飛機,現有的機隊也必須持續保養,這代表他們必須不斷地投入日益貶值的資產,至於腦部外科醫生跟律師則完全不受影響,他們早年辛苦取得的學位,不須要再定期更新,不管通膨多高漲,絲毫都不會損傷他們的賺錢能力。

We’re always suspicious that inflation will come back. That deflation talk a few years ago was nonsense. The trade picture should exacerbate inflation: inflation of oil in euro terms isn’t as severe as it is in dollar terms.
我們一直很懷疑通膨是否會再捲土重來,至於通貨緊縮則純屬無稽之談,貿易型態會使通膨加劇,若以歐元計,則石油的漲幅沒有想像中嚴重。

It’s a concern, but not an overwhelming one. See’s has done well during periods of inflation. Public utilities demand more and more investment; the rate of return on that investment needs to be ok.
這件事確實值得觀注,但大家也不必過於擔憂,像喜斯糖果在通膨高漲時期的表現就很不錯,公用事業須要不斷地投資再投資,至於相關的投資報酬率也還算OK。

It’s not clear that the dollar’s weakness will be particularly inflationary. The factors that have helped bring the dollar down, such as the emergence of low-cost manufacturers overseas, tend to restrain inflation.
美元的弱勢是不是與通貨膨漲劃上等號,還沒有定論,促使美元下跌的因子,像海外低工資製造者的競爭,就有助於抑制通膨。

Q: What is your strategy if the market gets dismal?
問題:如果市場反轉向下,你的策略會是什麼?

WB: If the market gets cheaper, we’ll have opportunities. We’ll be buying as prices drop. I am always looking to buy stocks, just as I buy groceries every week. I prefer lower grocery prices. We spend no time trying to forecast what the market will do. We don’t know which way it’s headed. We do know sometimes that we are getting great value for our money. There’s always a list of reasons why the country will have problems. I’m a big bull on this country. It’s the most remarkable success story in the history of the world. There were 4 million people in the U.S. in 1790, who were no smarter than the people in Europe and China, both of which had far bigger populations.
巴菲特:如果股價變便宜,我們的機會就來了,我們就會開始進場買進,我總是想要買股票,就像是我每個禮拜要去雜貨店補貨一樣,東西當然是越便宜越好,但我們不會花精神去預估市場的走勢,因為我們根本無從判斷,但我們很清楚有一天手上這些錢一定會派上用場,這個國家這麼大,總會有一些問題發生,但我對美國還是很有信心,這是人類有史以來最大的經濟奇蹟,1790年時,美國只有區區四百萬人口,這群人並不比歐洲人或中國人聰明到那裡去,人口數也遠不及這兩個地區。

CM: The economics of the country will continue to improve, but we may be at or near the apex of a great civilization.
曼格:這個國家的經濟狀況仍將持續增進,但或許已經過了最巔峰的階段。

WB: People pass up attractive opportunities because they get wrapped up in a single statistic. It’s crazy to say that I’ll wait a year because it will get cheaper due to a macro factor.
巴菲特:人們往往因為沉溺於單一的統計數據而錯失大好的投資機會,我常聽到有人說因為某項總體經濟數字,所以我寧願再等一年才逢低進場,這種觀念實在是有點阿達。

Q: What will happen to GM and Ford? Is asbestos reform coming?
問題:通用跟福特會變如何? 石棉案改革是否有望?

WB: Rick Wagoner and Bill Ford have been handed tough hands to play. It’s not a consequence of anything they did. Their companies’ legacy cost structures from decades ago make it tough to compete. Imagine if they signed a contract to pay more for steel. People would know that’s untenable. But GM and Ford must pay large sums in annuity and health care costs compared to their competitors. Competitors pay the same amount for rubber and steel. Some of those contracts go back to when GM had 50% market share. I’m not sure what I would do if I were CEO. If you look at GM, the company has a $15 billion market cap, and a pension fund obligation of $90 billion. So that’s $90 billion for workers, compared to $15 billion for the owners. If the company had a steel contract and was paying $200 per ton more for steel than its competitors, it would be obvious that the company was at a severe disadvantage. But when the companies signed these labor contracts, they didn’t need to account for pension obligations. Companies didn’t have to accrue for pensions until the 1960s, and didn’t have to accrue for healthcare obligations until the 1990s. So it’s important to keep in mind the economic effects, not just the accounting effects.
巴菲特:Rick Wagoner 跟 Bill Ford都接下別人的燙手山竽,他們兩人並非是始作蛹者,以前遺留下來的高成本結構大大削弱其競爭力,舉例來說,如果他們採購鋼鐵的合約訂價比別人高,大家一定會說這樣行不通,同樣的通用跟福特必須付出比同業更高昂的退休金與健保成本,至於鋼鐵與橡膠的成本大家相差有限,即便當時通用的市佔率高達五成以上,我不知道當時的總裁在想什麼,看看現在的通用,市值雖有150億美元,但卻背負900億美元的退休金負債,負債的金額遠超過股東權益,如果你發現某家公司的鋼鐵採購成本每噸比同業多出200美元的話,你就知道情況不妙了,但當年公司簽下聘雇契約時,帳上卻不必認列退休金的負債,依照會計原則,公司從1960年代開始才須認列退休金的負債,至於健保成本則遲至1990年才開始認列,所以大家一定要謹計,除了會計數字之外,經濟實質更是重要。

CM: Warren gave an optimistic prognosis. If you jump out the window on the 42nd, you’re kidding yourself if you think everything’s ok at the 20th floor. The president or governor of Michigan should address this issue now.
曼格:巴菲特講得太客氣了,如果你從42樓跳下,不要天真的以為掉到20樓會沒事,我認為美國總統或是密西根州長該出來收拾殘局了。

Q: Is asbestos reform coming?
問題:石棉案改革有望嗎?

CM: The asbestos problem has come about as a result of terrible behavior by lying doctors and lawyers, and gutless behavior by courts and politicians.
曼格:石棉案問題的發生是不誠實的醫生與律師所造成,外加法官與政客毫無擔當所致。

There was huge fraud in the workman’s comp system in California. It got so bad that it affected employment, so eventually changes were made that helped ease the problem. If the asbestos problem gets bad enough, there could be more protections. But once you get a powerful political force like this, even judges will go along. Luckily asbestos isn’t in use anymore, so the problem will eventually go away. But the behavior has been terrible.
加州的勞工組織存在著相當大的弊病,事情嚴重到引發失業問題,我想如果當初石綿的問題夠嚴重,或許就會有更多的保護機制,但一旦有強大的政治力介入,有時連法官都會屈服,所幸目前石綿已被禁用,所以問題終將逐漸淡化,不過這種行為實在是相當可惡。

Q: What advice would you give your successor in managing a diverse business?
問題:在管理如此多元的集團事業上,你會給你的繼承人怎樣的建議?

WB: We rail against acquisitions at other companies—but we do it, too. Our motivations are different from most other acquirers. We’ve created climate that lets people keep running their businesses with the same passion they had when they owned them. Gillette bought a bunch of businesses years ago. So did Coke and Philip Morris. Most acquisitions didn’t turn out so well. Those acquirers thought they could run the businesses they bought. Charlie and I know we can’t. There are no group VPs in Omaha, no directives going out, no new way of doing things. There are no layers of HR, legal, and so forth. Those things destroy the incentive of people who have gotten rich to stick around. This makes Berkshire a good place to work.
巴菲特:雖然我們批評別的公司購併案,但我們自己也做購併,但我們的心態跟其它購併者有很大的不同,我們試圖創造一個讓原有經營階層保持原有熱情的環境,吉列幾年前買了一堆公司,可口可樂及菲利普摩里斯也是一樣,大部份的購併案結果都不太好,這些購併者以為他們可以自己經營所買下的企業,但查理跟我很清楚,我們做不到,奧瑪哈總部沒有一群傑出的副總裁,也沒有上級督導,也沒有任何創新的法子,也沒有人力及法務單位等等,我認為這些都有礙於已經很有錢的管理者繼續在自己工作崗位上堅持的動力,這也是為什麼大家樂在Berkshire工作的原因。

CM: A lot of our success stems from our lack of oversight. Our successor will continue that lack of oversight.
曼格:我們很多成功的案例原因,在於不干涉營運,我想以後繼任者仍將遵循此一原則。

WB: This is very different from GE’s system. It’s very simple. Our big worry is that the culture gets tampered with. But it should work for a very, very long time. Which is why all my stock will go to the foundation.
巴菲特:我們跟奇異的做法有很大的不同,我們的制度相當簡單明瞭,我們惟一擔心的是要避免這種文化被破壞,但我相信它將會繼續運作很長的一段時間,這也是為何我個人Berkshire的持股以後要轉入基金會的原因。

Q: What’s been your best investment?
問題:你最得意的投資是那一件?

WB: See’s was hugely important. It taught us a lot, and generated cash we could use to buy more. We bought the first half of GEICO for $40 million. (The second half cost $2 billion.) Some businesses have good growth potential. Others don’t, but generate a lot of cash. We can move capital among various options. GEICO still has a lot of growth opportunities.
巴菲特:喜斯那次的投資非常重要,我們學到很多,同時它讓我們取得購併更多事業的資金,另外我們以4,000萬美元買下GEICO頭一半的股權也不賴,另一半後來花了20億美元,有些企業擁有驚人的成長,有些則讓我們失望,但還是貢獻了不少現金,我們可以在許多不同的選擇中做資金配置,GEICO往後仍將有不少的成長潛力。

Rule #1: Don’t run up charge card debt. That’s the first thing I tell students when I talk to them, and I tell them that if you remember nothing else, remember that.
第一要件:不要積欠信用卡債,這是我在跟學生們座談時的第一件事,我跟他們講說,別的可以忘,這件事千萬不能忘記。

CM: The best investment we ever made could be the search fee we paid to find Ajit Jain. Getting the right people is more important than getting the right business.
曼格:我們最好的一次投資,應該要算是當初付給人力仲介找到Ajit Jain的那筆佣金,找到對的人比找到對的企業還重要得多。

Q: What do you think about what’s going on at the NYSE?
問題:你覺得紐約證券交易所以後會變怎樣?

WB: It would be better if the NYSE stayed as a non-profit institution. It has done a good job over two centuries. The enemy of investment performance is activity. I don’t think the exchange should encourage more activity. There may be all kinds of reasons to become a for-profit entity. But investors won’t be better off if volume increases. Transactions are a frictional cost of capitalism. But IBM and GM won’t be any more profitable if their share bases turn over more often.
巴菲特:我認為紐約證券交易所最好能夠繼續維持非營利組織的型態,過去兩百年以來,它扮演了很成功的角色,投資績效的大敵就是頻繁的交易,我不認為交易所應該鼓勵投資人多進行交易,或許有非常多的理由,它應該可能一個以營利為目的的事業,但交易量擴增,並非投資人之福,交易是資本主義的磨擦成本,IBM跟通用汽車的獲利表現,不會因為其股票交易量擴增而有所改進。

CM: I agree with everything Warren said, only more so. We have lost our way, when the directors and CEO of a venerable institution such as the NYSE fail to act as exemplars. They have a duty to act properly, and to create the right appearances. Teachers shouldn’t be fornicating on the floor, or drinking beer in class. And the people who run the exchange shouldn’t turn the stock exchange into a casino. It should be a public institution that’s an exemplar.
曼格:我再同意巴菲特所說的不過了,我們已經模糊了焦點,當地位崇高如NYSE的總裁與董事未能帶頭示範,他們有責任與義務扮演好應該的角色,同時樹立好典範,老師不能帶頭亂搞,同樣的負責領導交易所的人,也不能把交易所搞得像賭場一樣,它應該是具有模範性質的公立機構。

Q: What do you think about President Bush’s proposal to reform Social Security?
問題:你對布希總統的社會福利改革方案有何看法?

WB: Social Security was introduced in 1936-37. It was proposed as an insurance program as a way to get it passed. Transfer payments didn’t fly then. But Social Security is a transfer of wealth from productive people to non-productive people. I believe that anything that reduces Social Security payments below their current levels is a mistake.
巴菲特:社會福利制度是在1936-1937年引進,當初設立的用意是一種保險制度,移轉給付在當初並不多見,但本質上,這是一套將有生產力者的財富轉移到不具生產力的人身上的救濟制度,我認為任何降低目前給付水準的做法都是不對的。

Not everyone is wired the same way. Someone with an 85 IQ won’t do as well as someone who’s a genius. The Social Security system provides a minimum level of benefit to everyone, as long as they’ve worked.
不是每個人都在同一個頻道,IQ只有85的人,表現可能不會比天才好,社會福利制度提供每一個人最低的基本保障,只要他們肯努力工作的話。

There are a lot of ways to save, such as 401ks and IRAs. The way I’m wired, I wouldn’t have done as well if I’d been born in Bangladesh. People who’ve done well have an obligation to help those who haven’t. One thing to do would be to raise the payroll tax cap from $90,000. I wouldn’t want to do anything that might hurt the bottom 20%-30%. I don’t understand why the administration worries about the size of the deficit on 25 years when it doesn’t seem to care much about the size of the deficit now. If nothing is done to the system, the percentage of GDP devoted to Social Security will rise from 4.5% now to 6%. That doesn’t seem so bad. If it were up to me, I’d means-test benefits, lift the cap on the payroll tax, and raise the retirement age.
有很多的方法可以達到儲蓄的效果,比如說401k或是IRA等,我個人這套賴以生存的方法,若是身處孟加拉肯定就派不上用場,有能力者應該要多多幫助沒有能力的人,我認為可行的方法之一是將薪資所得稅的上限提高到9萬美元,我不希望任何會傷害最低收入20%-30%的族群,我實在是搞不懂為什麼目前的政府只顧著擔心25年後的赤字情況,卻根本就不理會目前的赤字,如果現在不改變制度,社會福利支出佔國民生產毛額的比重將由現在的4.5%提高到6%,這看起來還不壞,如果我可以做主,我會做個經濟狀況普查,提高薪資所得稅的上限,同時調高退休的年齡。

CM: I’m the Republican on the stage, and I think the Republicans are out of their minds to take on this issue. If the country is going to get richer, this will not turn into a huge problem. As more people retire, more of a share of GDP should go to Social Security. If funding gets tight, we can add some consumption taxes to make up the difference. Social Security is a very successful program. It is a reward for work. There’s hardly any fraud. It is a very capitalistic institution that has had good effects. All this talk to change it is twaddle.
曼格:我表面上是共和黨員,但我卻覺得共和黨在這個議題的立場非常有問題,如果這個國家會變得更富有,所有的問題就不成問題,越多的人退休,越多的GDP就會轉入社會福利體系,如果資金緊峭,我們可以多徵收一點消費稅來彌補短差,社會福利制度是一個非常成功的制度,只要肯工作就有回報,中間不會發生什麼弊病,這是資本主義運作的良性效應,想要試圖改變它的人,簡直是有點阿呆。

Q: How can one invest with confidence in financial institutions when even the AAA-rated ones come under attack?
問題:大家該如何投資金融類股,若是連三A評等的公司都可能有問題?

WB: Financial companies are tougher to evaluate than many other kinds of companies. Loss reserves can vary all over the place. We have $45 billion in reserves. Is that too high or too low? Who knows? It could easily be $44.5 billion or $45.5 billion. At banks, are the loans on the books any good? Who knows? In the brick business or candy business, you know your level at profitability at the time of sale, and can’t fool anybody. With financial services companies, it’s tougher. Then there are derivatives, which add a whole new level of complexity, risk, and opacity.
巴菲特:金融類股要比其它產業要難分析的多,損失準備的提列方式可能南轅北轍,就像我們帳上提列的450億美元損失準備,到底是高還是低,誰知道,它有可能應該是445億或是455億美元,另外以銀行業來說,到底帳上的貸款是不是呆帳? 誰知道,換作是磚塊或巧克力產業,在銷售之後,你就知道獲利是多少,而且很難騙得了人,但換作金融產業,就很難講了,何況還有衍生性金融商品,使得整件事變得更複雜、風險更高、透明度越低。

Fannie’s earnings were off by $9 billion from what the company originally said. Freddie’s were off by $5 billion. People weren’t necessarily negligent. It’s just hard to estimate. A lot of relatively small assumptions go into the numbers. If you change one even slightly, it could have a big effect on the bottom line.
Fannie的盈餘灌水幅度高達90億美元,Freddie則膨風了50億美元,這些人可能只不過是疏乎了,因為這實在是很難估算,基於許多細微的變數假設,只要你稍微更動其中一個變數,最後得到的結果可能就會有很大的不同。

At Salomon, Charlie was on the audit committee. People weren’t crooks, but it gets hard as you pile up the assumptions. Asbestos estimates are another thing.
當年在所羅門,查理是稽核委員會的一員,這些人不是小偷,只是當結論的得出須仰賴一連串的變數時,評價的困難度就大大提高,石棉案也是另外一個例子。

CM: Completely by its nature, the industry makes it easy to make mistakes or commit fraud. It’s part of the business. If you sell gas, you get a greater risk of explosions. In financial services, it’s this.
曼格:這完全是制度本質使然,這個行業讓你很容易犯錯或是犯罪,這是這個行業的常態,就像你開瓦斯行,發生爆炸的機率本來就比較高, 金融產業也是如此。

Q: You liquidated everything in 1969. In 2000 you said the market was going nowhere, at best. Why didn’t you liquidate then?
問題:你在1969年曾將合夥事業全部清算,而2000年,你也曾說過市場漲得過高,為何當時你不清算公司呢?

WB: We own some securities that we wouldn’t buy at these prices. We’re not unhappy with anything we own. Part of it has to do with quantity. If we owned just 100 shares, that would be different. Plus, there are transaction costs and taxes. Basically, we like the businesses we own. We may not want to buy more here. But stocks as a percentage of our total assets is pretty low right now, historically. We’re not unhappy with Coke, Wells Fargo, and Moody’s right now. There’s not as much silliness in the market now as there was five years ago.
巴菲特:某些我們持有的股票股價確實過高,但持有它們並不會讓我們感到不自在,其中一部份原因,在於持有數量,如果我們只持有100股,情況可能就不一樣,另外賣出還須考慮交易與稅負成本,基本上,我們很喜歡這些事業,雖然我們也不打算再多買進,但股票投資佔總資產的比重越來越低,我們對於可口可樂,富國銀行與慕迪公司都很滿意,目前股價高估的情況比起五年前要來得少多了。

CM: If you make a list of the 4 or 5 most recent things we’ve done in the stock market, our record is like it was when we could move around with smaller amounts of capital. But as we got bigger it got tougher. I don’t think that’s a permanent state of affairs, but it’s not going away, either. Better small than nil—small is still big money.
曼格:如果你列出最近我們在股市所做的四五次動作的話,我們的記錄顯示跟當初我們只有少數資金的做法沒有兩樣,但隨著資金規模越來越大,難度也越來越高,雖然我認為事情永遠沒有絕對,但要改變也不容易,沒魚蝦也好,即便是小蝦金額可能也非常龐大。

Q: Don’t you think you have an obligation to have a position in gold?
問題:你不認為你有責任持有黃金部位嗎?

WB: Gold is way down on my list as a preferred store of value. I’d prefer to own 100 acres of land in Nebraska, or an apartment house, or an index. We talked about gold being worth $35 an ounce in 1940—only its price was fixed then. If you go back to 1900, gold sold for $20 an ounce, and has risen to just $400 since then. And a holder would have to pay for insurance and storage. The Dow, by comparison, was at 60 or so in 1900; it’s now around 10,000—and has paid dividends along the way. Gold is just about the last thing we’d want to own. Other alternatives have utility, which gives them value. I’d rather have the ability to sell a pound of candy 20 years from now. I don’t see gold as a good store of value. About 3,000 to 4,000 ounces get taken out of the ground every year, and some amount gets reburied in the New York Fed. In between, gold doesn’t have much use.
巴菲特:黃金並不在我儲藏價值的工具之列,我寧願擁有內布拉斯加州100英畝的土地,或者是一棟公寓,或是投資股票,我們都知道1940年代黃金每盎司約35美元,當時黃金的價格是固定的,如果再往前推,黃金在1900年,每盎司賣20美元,自此之後,一路漲到現在的400美元,但持有人還必須支付保險與儲藏的費用,以道瓊指數做比較,1900年時只有60點,現在卻漲到一萬點以上,另外還發放了許多股利,黃金可以說是我們最不想持有的投資標的,其它的替代品或許還有用途,這是他們價值的所在,我寧願20年後有能力出售一磅的糖果,我不認為黃金是保值的好工具,每年約有3,000到4,000盎司的黃金從地底被挖出,但其中有許多又被回埋到紐約聯準會的倉庫之中,在這中間,黃金沒有發揮什麼用途。

CM: Gold had great utility, in the form of portability, to Jewish families in Vienna in 1935.
曼格:黃金由於其攜帶的便利性,在1935年維也納猶太家族逃難時,到派上不少用場。

Q: What are your economic and stock market forecasts?
問題:談談你們對於經濟與股票市場的預測?

WB: At extremes, I can make market calls, which is what I did in 1969 and 1974. Investors will get more for their money now than they did in 1999—the year I gave a bearish talk in Sun Valley that later became the basis of an article in Fortune. If people have the choice of owning just bonds yielding 4.5% or owning equities for the next 20 years, they should own equities. But if people think they can earn double-digit annual returns, they are kidding themselves. Stocks should generate average annual returns of 6%-7%.
巴菲特:最誇張的時候,我還可以發出市場警訊,就像我在1969年跟1974年一樣,投資人現在投資可以比1999年還獲得更多,當年我在Sun Valley發表對股市看空的看法,後來還刊登在財富雜誌之上,如果往後20年內,人們在每年獲得4.5%固定報酬的債券與股票之間做選擇,他們應該選股票,但如果大家認為這樣就可以獲得10%以上的利潤時,可能就要失望了,股票的投資報酬率頂多介於6%到7%之間。

We’re not at bubble-type valuations anymore, but we’re not at bargain valuations, either. But we’ll likely get a chance to do something more screamingly intelligent in a few years.
雖然目前股市泡沫的情況不再,但股價也不見得便宜到那裡去,不過我們還是有機會在往後幾年,做幾件讓人驚嘆的事出來。

Q: Why doesn’t Berkshire invest in commercial real estate?
問題:Berkshire為什麼不投資商用不動產?

CM: We are tax disadvantaged vs. individuals and REITs. Also, right now many properties have bubble-type valuations. All my rich friends have been selling their worst properties at high prices. When Nasdaq hit a high, REITs were cheap. They were selling at discounts to the value of their properties. Now REITs are unattractive. Property valuations are high, and REITs themselves trade at premiums to them. Plus, REITs have phony accounting.
曼格:相較於個人與不動產受益憑證,我們在租稅上較不利,當然目前許多不動產都有泡沫化的現象,我有許多有錢的朋友,最近都以高價賣出不怎麼樣的房地產,當納斯達克創新高時,不動產受益憑證相對便宜,許多都處於折價情況,但目前不動產受益憑證就沒有那麼吸引人,房第產的價格偏高,而不動產受益憑證更以溢價方式交易,另外不動產受益憑證還有做假帳問題。

Q: Is the U.S. a castle with a moat?
問題:美國算不算是具有護城河的堡壘?

WB: The U.S. has done well over the past 215 years. We’re not an economic castle. The rest of the world is catching up. Our castle will grow in size, and there will be more castles in addition to ours. The more trade we have, the better. Prosperity won’t come at the expense of the world. There are 6 billion people in the world, a lot of whom don’t live well.
巴菲特:過去215年以來,美國表現的相當傑出,我們不算是經濟堡壘,因為全世界其它國家正迎頭趕上,我們的城堡將更加壯大,但全世界其它地方也會冒出更多城堡,彼此的貿易越頻繁,景氣越繁榮,對所有人都好,目前世界上總共有六十億的人口,其中還有許多人吃不飽穿不暖。

CM: If we’re in third place 50 years from now, we’ll still be rich, but it will be an odd kind of richness. Asia is likely to do the best.
曼格:如果五十年後,我們變成全世界第三強,我們還是會很富有,只是這種感覺可能很怪,亞洲有可能躍居首位。

What do you think? Let me know!
大家若有任何意見,歡迎指教!

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