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Collection: Charlie Munger - #6 'China and Japan"



Hi Charlie, my name is Yang Lee. I'm an investor from New York. Thank you so much for this great platform to learn from you and sharing your wisdom.

My question is about your outlook for global markets and economies especially given the slowdown in the global economy driven by the Chinese economy, and also the rising geopolitical risk. So what’s your take on the market and economy going forward? Thank you.


Well, I’m mildly optimistic about China for a variety of reasons.

Nobody has ever taken a big nation ahead as fast as China has come ahead. And I think they’ve done a lot right. So I’m a big admirer of what’s happened there.

If you stop to think about it, they were in a Malthusian trap, and they prevented 500,000 babies from being born. They did it by methods that we wouldn’t like in the United States. But I think they were doing the world a favor and I think that what they did was admirable.

So basically, I don’t have this hostility toward China. I really admire what the Chinese people have achieved and I think, considering that they started as communists, their leaders are pretty good.

And it’s amazing. Imagine a communist country creating this enormous period of growth and prosperity – and lifting 800 million people out of poverty.

I like what is happening in China and I think the United States ought to get along with China and China ought to get along with the United States.

And regarding the global situation, it’s so peculiar to have negative interest rates.

Another thing I greatly admire is, this will strike you as very peculiar. There’s one modern nation which has had like 25 years of stasis. How can anybody admire 25 years of stasis? I think the Japanese have handled 25 years of stasis with magnificent skill and philosophy. Japan is not going to hell. They don’t like 25 years of stasis but they take it like men and they aren’t bitching and wailing and they don’t act like victims.

So I really admire the way the Japanese have handled their adversity and I don’t think the adversity came from a lot of mistakes. I think the adversity to Japan —

They were an export powerhouse and up came China and Korea. Of course, they had some troubles. We’d all have trouble if we had way tougher competition.

And so [inaudible] I don’t think that Japan’s stasis was Japan’s fault. I think it just happened. I think they bear up magnificently well in order to be greatly admired. And of course, they got into this defect three manufacturing ethos in a big way and led the world in it.

So, I think the United States has a lot to learn from Asians.

Think about how everything’s clean in Japan. You don’t see any homeless sleeping and defecating in the street either. There’s a lot to be said for Japan.



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