Charlie Munger Talks Tough on Evil & Economists

From a  new interview, Berkshire’s other guy, Charlie Munger, talks tough about life, the universe and how screwed up we’ve made things:

Worse than the Great Depression?

The economy hasn’t contracted as much as during the Great Depression, but the malfeasance and silliness, the triggering events for today’s crisis, were much greater and more widespread. In the ’20s, a tiny class of people were financial promoters and a tiny class of people were buying securities. Today, it’s deep in the whole culture, and it is way more extreme. If sin and folly get punished appropriately, we’re in for a bad time.

And do you see a chance that our current economic woes could reach to a level closer to the Great Depression?

Well, nobody can predict that very well because we’ve never faced conditions as extreme.

Very few people realize how much we’ve screwed up. Even in leading law schools and business schools very few people realize that the mess at Enron never could have happened if accounting customs hadn’t been changed. What we have now is a bigger, more widespread Enron.

And there’s this too:

How and why do you think economists have gotten this so wrong?

I would argue that the economists have not been all that good at working concepts of good and evil into their profession. Nor do they understand, at all well, the economic consequences of bad accounting.

[via Stanford Lawyer]