Collection: Charlie Munger - #192 'Why Do Politicians Behave Badly?'



[Transcript]

BECKY QUICK 00:00

So all of the drama that we've watched unfold over the last two years, all of Washington's attempts to try and figure out what happened and to prevent it from happening again, you think it's all been for not?


CHARLIE MUNGER 00:13

No, what we have is way better than nothing.


In particular, if you take the rules, which most people in my political party object to, for making the commercial banks behave a little better dealing with fiscal holics. Can't really handle things like, checking accounts. I think that the changes that have been made are all really good.


And my only objection to Elizabeth Warren – who is not in my political party – is that she hasn't tough enough.


BECKY QUICK 00:55

Why do you think that, that is something you feel, but your party doesn't? Why do you think your party doesn't agree with you on us?


CHARLIE MUNGER 01:04

Well, I think all politicians tend to behave badly under the peculiar pressures of their trade. So I think they've chosen a profession where it's hard to behave well. It's hard to behave well and you're in a miasma of rock incentives so you get a lot of bad behavior.


I think we're lucky the system has worked as well as it has.


In my state, we have a thoroughly gerrymandered legislature. So if – you had to be an extreme nut on the right or extreme nut on the left or you're not allowed in the legislature. There are 10 sane people would creep on every decade. At the end of the decade, the right left agree and throw them out. (Laughter)


This is the biggest state in the biggest country. This is a very, very regrettable set of circumstances. How well are you going to behave in that kind of a system?


You can't say hate the other people in your chamber. You need this ever growing tide of money. You can't really tell the truth as it is because you'll offend various people that are important to you. It's a miracle that ever worked as well as it did.


I suppose it's better than absolute despotism but sometimes it's a little close.


BECKY QUICK 02:24

You see the news today that Cuba said, it will be laying off about half a million people from the government jobs. They're pushing them back into the private sectors, it's an admission that maybe despotism doesn't work either?


CHARLIE MUNGER 02:37

Oh, well, I know this, we're way better than Cuba. I mean, talk about dysfunction, in East Germany where they – the best 5 million people left because they were allowed to and because the conditions are so bad. And the remainder were put under communism, communist police state for 60 years.


I always say about that, that will even ruin Germans which it did. And all the system's bad enough, it will ruin the people in it.


And there's two things work beautifully were ruin, aggregation of people, all the best people leave. That's a sure source of huge failure. Then you have the remainder under a total crazy bunch of people, like say the nutcase that runs North Korea. And of course, that'll ruin anybody.


Oh yeah, you see those pictures of North Korea at night? It's dark. They have starvation in the year of our Lord 2010. And people starving in the dark, that's what communism will do for you if you work at it hard enough under a despot.


(Source: https://youtu.be/Pph3Bg8Pihg)

 

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