Skip to main content

Warren Buffett: A Notorious Tightwad

  • Author:
  • Updated:

We're not sure where Warren Buffett is spending his fourth of July but we're sure he feels pretty good about himself. After all, he's the most generous person in the world, right? He's working with his billionaire buddy Bill Gates to "end poverty" or something. So why do some people insist on raining on the sanctify Warren parade? It just seems so mean.

But the idea, heard often in the last week, that Buffett is some kind of Wall Street Mother Theresa who has scaled new heights of holiness and become the greatest philanthropist in history is plainly ridiculous. Prior to last week's circus, Buffet was actually renowned as one of corporate America's great tightwads, a man whose charitable deeds amounted to little more than a few million dollars donated each year to an abortion-rights foundation started by his late wife. The fact is that being tight with money has always been a natural state for Buffett, a man who's spent his entire working life on the punt.
Like all gamblers, whether they ply their trade at a racetrack, in front of poker machine or by playing the stock market, Buffett's life has been a treadmill of backing a winner, accumulating more money and then having a bigger punt next time round.
In this world, cash is everything. Real entrepreneurialism doesn't exist. People like Buffett aren't interested in building a business or trying to mould the future in any way, because they're too busy reading the form.
For them, capitalism is just a game. There is no social purpose to what they do. The only purpose is to acquire more and more money.

Hardly too little, but way too late to earn adulation
[The Australian]