Charlie Munger, the longtime business partner of Warren Buffett, on Wednesday called US-China tensions “massively stupid” and urged Washington and Beijing to reconcile.
Munger, 98, who is vice-chairman of Buffett’s conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, also called for a ban on cryptocurrency, calling it “beneath contempt.”
He spoke while fielding nearly two hours of questions at the annual meeting of Daily Journal, the Los Angeles newspaper publisher and provider of software to courthouses that he chairs.
Munger is a longtime bull on China, spearheading Berkshire’s investment in electric car maker BYD and recently doubling Daily Journal’s stake in e-commerce company Alibaba Group.
Asked about political pressures from China, he said recent deterioration in US-China relations wasn’t justified by their different systems of government, or because one country does some things better than the other.
“We wish that China and the US got along better,” he said. “Think about how massively stupid both have been to allow the existing tensions to rise.” He added: “They should like us and we should like them.”
Crypto a ‘Venereal Disease’
Munger said he wished crypto had been banned from the start. “I’m proud of the fact that I avoided it. It’s like some venereal disease,” Munger said.
“I just regard it as beneath contempt. Some people think it’s modernity, and they welcome a currency that’s so useful in extortions, kidnappings and tax evasion.”
Munger also predicted that Berkshire holding Apple, Google parent Alphabet and Microsoft will be “really strong” 50 years from now. He said he thought incorrectly a half-century ago that would also be true for newspapers.
Munger lamented their being displaced by media telling people on both sides of the political spectrum only what they want to hear.
“This is no substitute for Walter Cronkite and all those great newspapers of yesteryear,” Munger said, referring to the legendary CBS News anchor.
Berkshire sold its own newspaper portfolio in 2020 to Lee Enterprises.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell