Charlie Munger defends windowless dormitories and investments in China

By Paul R. La Monica, CNN Business

A conversation with Charlie Munger, 98-year-old vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, is never dull.

Munger talked about his reasons for investing in China, how he still hates bitcoin, and why windowless dorms aren’t as bad as people claim in a high-profile discussion at of the annual meeting of the publisher of Munger’s newspaper, Daily Journal in Los Angeles. Wednesday,

One of Munger’s first questions was about China. He was asked how he could trust the economic data coming out of the communist nation, especially as other big investors, such as DoubleLine’s Jeff Gundlach, have fled China. Gundlach called China “uninvestable.”

Daily Journal has a large stake in Alibaba in China. Munger said at Wednesday’s meeting, which aired exclusively on Yahoo Finance, that he sees more value in China than in the U.S. stock market and praised the country for being a modern nation.

Later in the meeting, Munger said former Chinese supreme leader Deng Xiaoping was one of the world’s greatest leaders because of the economic changes during his tenure that opened up the nation to the West. , modernized China and helped reduce poverty. (Xiaoping, however, was also the leader during the deadly 1989 pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square.)

Munger also continued to disparage bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, investments he and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett have made for years.

He said he doesn’t regret not investing in bitcoin, even though cryptocurrencies are now a nearly $2 trillion market. Munger said he was proud to have avoided bitcoin and compared it to a “venereal disease”.

Another Daily Journal shareholder asked Munger if he knew who made the decision at Berkshire Hathaway to invest in Activision Blizzard in the fourth quarter of last year, just weeks before Microsoft announced a close acquisition. $70 billion from the video game maker.

Munger didn’t comment, but then praised Activision CEO Bobby Kotick despite Kotick coming under fire for a sexual harassment scandal at the company.

He also slammed people who criticized windowless student dormitories at schools where Munger donated money.

Munger defended the decision to build accommodations without windows, saying there are many rooms on cruise ships that don’t have windows. He said the architect who complained about the design was “ignorant”.

Investors could have another chance to hear Munger’s thoughts in a few months.

Berkshire Hathaway plans to hold its annual shareholder meeting at the end of April in Omaha and Munger expressed optimism that he and others will be able to attend live, despite continued concerns about the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

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