Bob Ridentof, who is a PhD 1979 from aeronautical engineering, asked, “How would you rate investing in China with the current political tensions, or are you invested in China through the ownership of American companies that do business in China?”
CHARLIE MUNGER 00:14
Well, of course I’m invested partly in American companies to do business in China, including Coca-Cola, but I’m also invested very significantly in China through the management of Li Lu, moving the Munger family back heavily when he formed a little private equity firm to invest in China. And he has had a very successful record that’s made me follow very closely the leading companies in China. Of course I’ve had very successful experience there. I think it’s likely to continue.
The Chinese story is the damnedest thing that ever happened to a big country in terms of economics. No other big country ever got ahead this fast for that long.
Does that say that the politics don’t matter so much? Or –
CHARLIE MUNGER 01:15
Yeah, it does. That’s a very interesting observation. What that shows is exactly right. Who would have guessed that a bunch of communist Chinese run by one party would have the best economic record the world has ever seen?
Of course it’s extreme and I think it proves – We Americans would like to think that our free expression and allowing all kinds of opinions and all kinds of criticism of the government is totally essential part of the economy.
What the Chinese have proved is you can have screamingly successful economy with a fairly controlling government. All the government has to do is create a lot of Smithy in capitalism. If you do that, having sort of a controlling one party government doesn’t matter. That’s not a fashionable thing to say, but I think it’s true.