A parable about our ‘casino economy’ from Berkshire Hathaway’s vice chair - February 24, 2010

Charlie Munger, vice chairman of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, published a parable on Slate recently entitled “Basically, it’s over.”  The parable tells of the downfall of a nation called “Basicland” as it increasingly seeks paper profits through a casino economy — i.e., by migrating from traditional securities to derivatives and piling on debt.

(Read “Basically, it’s over” on

Not surprisingly, the piece has generated copious comments all over the internet, and has been quoted and paraphrased on dozens of prominent web sites, including on Marketwatch, the Christian Science Monitor, and CNBC, among many others.

Munger’s mapping of recent US financial history to that of Basicland seems unchallenged by editors and commenters alike.  But, the question remains, can the ship be righted before we meet the fate of Basicland, and the US itself becomes Sorrowland?

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