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Warren Buffett's Warning: people getting more 'Tribal' !? | Berkshire 2022



[Transcript]

WARREN BUFFETT

The one development that I really do think is actually important, but I don’t know any way to do anything about it, but my general sense, and there’s no way to prove it, but I essentially believe people are now behaving somewhat more tribal than they have for a long time.


And, I mean, people are always going to be partisan, and they’re going to have religious beliefs, they’re going to have all kinds of things. But it gets pretty tribal. And I speak from experience because I’ve been tribal. And, you know, we’re confessing today, and, you know, Nebraska football is tribal.


And when I watch a television set, and I see our guy, Nebraska, step out of bounds by a foot, but somehow the ref misses it and calls it “in,” and then they show six replays, I’ll continue to believe it was “in” even though it’s right in front of my eyes that they stepped out. You know, that’s tribal behavior.


And it’s fun. I mean, (Laughs) to participate in. But it can get very dangerous when one group of people say, “Two plus two is five,” and the other say, “Two plus two is three,” you know, and they’re going to give you those answers if you call them.


And the interesting thing is, to me at least, and partly because of my age. But I actually think, just from memory, that the last time that the country was seen as tribal was actually when I was a kid and Roosevelt was in: Either you hated Roosevelt or you loved him.


I mean, nobody cared about the fact Alf Landon was running, or Wendell Wilkie was running against him. They just had these feelings: They either had Roosevelt’s picture on the wall, and named their kids after Roosevelt, or they hated him and they thought he was going to, you know, “Oh, a third term?” and, you know, a million things.


And the country was very, very tribal in the ’30s, but Roosevelt’s tribe was bigger. And, in my opinion, they did some wonderful things. But I happened to grow up in a household where we didn’t get served dessert until we said something nasty about Roosevelt. I mean, and, believe me, if you don’t get dessert, you’re going to say something nasty about Roosevelt. (Laughs) And so you trained them young, and did, you know, all kinds of things.


And so, I think I’ve seen a period that wasn’t that way, when Eisenhower was running against Stevenson, or whatever it might be. I mean, you know, people had a partisan behavior, and they had a certain amount of “tribal” always. But I don’t think it’s a good development for society generally when people get tribal, regardless. (Applause)


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