More on the King of Cronyism, Warren Buffett

Legends don’t come much bigger than Warren Buffett. The man in Omaha, player of the ukulele, value investor, advocate of taxing the rich, friend of Barrack Obama, King of Crony Capitalism.

Wait, what was that last bit?

Yes, sadly Warren Buffett is not the advocate for capitalism and economic fair play that many of us thought he was. He is right up there, and perhaps surpasses Jeffery Imelt of General Electric, for the title of King of Crony Capitalism.

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Is This the End of Market Democracy?

This is classic New York Times stuff right here.

In the attached op-ed Thomas Edsall addresses what he sees as the challenges structurally to “market democracy.”

The first sentence of his essay shows how completely out of touch some “opinion makers” are. He says, “The 2012 election will offer voters a stark choice between right and left alternatives.”

What election is this guy watching? He is under the false impression that the Republicans are free marketeers.

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Why Companies (and Countries) Fail

(From The Atlantic)

“GM workers were more a part of the United Auto Workers than of GM. Eventually, the union became a sort of shadow management that had to sign off on every production decision the company made, if it had any effect at all on workers.”

In this piece by Megan McCardle in The Atlantic she examines why it is that companies fail. She looks closely at GM. I think there are also lessons for the country we can extrapolate.

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Ever Wonder Why Even Generic Drugs Are So Outrageously Expensive?

By Craig R. Smith

Yes, you guessed it: another example of crony capitalism.

Generic drugs are generally much cheaper than patent protected brand name drugs. But they are still quite expensive, especially given that the active ingredients often cost the manufacturer only a few pennies. And in many cases, there are no generic versions available even after the patent on the brand name drug has expired. The reason for this is a branded drug company friendly regulatory environment run by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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Warren Buffett: King of Crony Capitalism

I have to say that Mr. Buffett’s company GEICO, gave me my first real job, selling insurance over the phone while I was in college. I had quite a lot of admiration for the man back then, and my time at Government Employees Insurance Company was productive. I still call upon the lessons I learned there.

“Thank you for calling GEICO Direct. This is Nick Sorrentino speaking. How may I help you?”

I used to dream about the phrase.

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Greenspan Defends Capitalism, Denounces Crony Capitalism?

In an piece today in the FT Alan Greenspan wrote; “Crony capitalism abounds when government leaders, usually in exchange for political support, routinely bestow favors on private-sector individuals or businesses. That is not capitalism. It is called corruption.”

The arbitrary setting of interest rates by the Federal Reserve Politburo however, that’s ok.

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