Warren was on Charlie Rose last night. Here are some highlights:

“You want to be greedy when others are fearful and fearful when others are greedy; it’s that simple… and in my adult lifetime I don’t think I’ve ever seen people as fearful economically as they are right now.”

“This really is an economic pearl harbor. That sounds melodramatic but I’ve never used that phrase before and this really is one.”

“If I could take one percent of that seven-hundred-billion pot [proposed by Henry Paulson] and take the gain or loss from it and be their partner and they would buy the stuff at market I’d make a lot of money.”

“The biggest single cause [of the current crisis] was that we had an incredible residential real estate bubble… when four-trillion dollars in [real estate-related] losses land in the wrong part of the economy it can gum up the whole place.”

“Confidence in markets and in institutions it’s a lot like oxygen. You know, when you have it you don’t even think about it. I mean, it’s indispensable. You can go years without thinking about it. When it’s gone for five minutes it’s the only thing you think about. And the oxygen has been sucked out of the credit markets.”

“Beware of geeks bearing formulas.”

“As long as you have markets you’ll have excesses. People went crazy with tulip bulbs; they went crazy with the South Sea bubble; they went crazy with internet stocks; they went crazy with uranium stocks when I was first getting started… you’re not going to change the human animal.”

“I believe in mark-to-market [accounting]… I don’t think anybody gets hurt by telling the truth on that sort of thing.”

“We are going through a very, very tough period and I did not think I would see the day when, you know, an AIG would not have its checks clear.”

Good stuff, as always.

Source:
An Exclusive Interview with Warren Buffett
Charlie Rose
October 1, 2008

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