Charlie Munger: Best & Brightest Should Engineer Airplanes, Cure Cancer

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In summary, Charlie Munger puts it nicely: The best and the brightest should be engineering airplanes and curing cancer; not into some money-grubbing exercise.
  • #1
jobyts
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Charlie Munger puts it nicely: The best and the brightest should be engineering airplanes and curing cancer; not into some money-grubbing exercise.

A big percentage of Cal-Tech grads are going into finance. I regard this as a regretfully bad outcome. They'll make a lot of money by clobbering customers who aren't as smart as them. It's a mistake. I look at this in terms of losses from the diversion of our best talent going into some money-grubbing exercise.Paulson (a hedge fund manager) deserves whatever money he can make, but there's something tragic about our best and brightest -- the people who should be engineering airplanes and curing cancer -- choosing instead to trade derivatives and short financial bubbles.

http://www.fool.com/investing/gener...o-makes-more-money-showering-than-you-do.aspx
 
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  • #2
I know very little of economics, but I don't understand how an economy gets by with such a large percentage of people not making things, but just brokering deals - i.e., taking money from this person, giving it to that person...and taking a small slice for his trouble.
 
  • #3
lisab said:
I know very little of economics, but I don't understand how an economy gets by with such a large percentage of people not making things, but just brokering deals - i.e., taking money from this person, giving it to that person...and taking a small slice for his trouble.

Mostly because those deals ENABLE the rest of the populous to "make things."

(Edit: ...right or wrong...)
 
  • #4
Actually, having the "brightest" people screwing up the economy might be better option than having them cause air crashes - but I'm biased, having spent too much of my life trying not to design screwed up aircraft engines. Sometimes the "brightest" people are too bright to spend time doing the boring but essential stuff.

Unfortunately the aircraft industry has given up the best quality control system it used to have, which was that the top managers of the design team were required to be passengers on the first test flight. Maybe managers on Wall street should use a similar quality control system, and test their latest economic theories with their own money before they test them with other people's money.
 
  • #5
AlephZero said:
Maybe managers on Wall street should use a similar quality control system, and test their latest economic theories with their own money before they test them with other people's money.

The money was stolen twice over. First as people's savings/debts to take out the derivative bets, then again as public bailouts to cover the resulting losses.

It all illustrates the difference between clever (short term smarts) and wise (long term smarts). Recent economic policies have preferred to reward the one rather than the other.

Although plenty are now being wise after the event :tongue:.

[I forgot to say yes I agree - wise behaviour arises where people are plugged into a feedback loop between their locally immediate actions and the global eventual consequences. Take away those constraints, as the US did with a rash wave of financial deregulation, and trouble is what you can expect.]
 
  • #6
I consider myself to be among the best & brightest, but I chose to do none of those things. where does that put me?
 
  • #7
elfboy said:
I consider myself to be among the best & brightest, but I chose to do none of those things. where does that put me?

The Dole / Social Security.
 
  • #8
A big percentage of Cal-Tech grads are going into finance. I regard this as a regretfully bad outcome. They'll make a lot of money by clobbering customers who aren't as smart as them. It's a mistake. I look at this in terms of losses from the diversion of our best talent going into some money-grubbing exercise.

This is nonsense.
 
  • #9
I need to speak with Charlie.
 

1. What is the main premise of Charlie Munger's statement?

The main premise of Charlie Munger's statement is that the best and brightest minds should be focused on solving the most important problems facing society, such as engineering safer airplanes and finding a cure for cancer.

2. Why does Charlie Munger believe engineers and scientists should prioritize these specific problems?

According to Charlie Munger, solving problems like engineering safer airplanes and finding a cure for cancer would have a significant impact on society and would benefit the most people. He believes that the best and brightest minds should use their talents to make a positive impact on the world.

3. How does Charlie Munger's statement relate to the role of scientists?

Charlie Munger's statement highlights the responsibility of scientists to use their knowledge and skills to solve important problems that affect society. Scientists have the potential to make a real difference in the world, and it is their duty to prioritize the most critical issues.

4. What are some examples of how engineers and scientists have already made significant contributions to society?

Engineers and scientists have made numerous contributions to society, including creating life-saving medical treatments, developing sustainable energy solutions, and designing advanced technologies that improve our daily lives. For example, Jonas Salk developed the polio vaccine, which has saved countless lives, and Marie Curie's pioneering research in radioactivity led to advancements in medicine and technology.

5. How can individuals in the scientific community work towards Charlie Munger's vision?

Individuals in the scientific community can work towards Charlie Munger's vision by prioritizing important problems in their research and using their expertise to find innovative solutions. They can also collaborate with other scientists and engineers to tackle complex issues and advocate for the allocation of resources towards these critical problems.

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