29 Jan 2019
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Seth Klarman on the Critical Value of the Long View


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In a recent interview with the New Yorker, Seth Klarman (MBA 1982), CEO of the Baupost Group, spoke about the perilous state of the public perception of capitalism. “People will say the words ‘Wall Street’ with a derogatory tone. They’re talking about an immoral place, where there’s just disgusting amounts of greed and nothing good happens—which isn’t fair and isn’t true,” Klarman told the magazine. “I’m not on Wall Street, I’m in Boston, but you’re tarred with that brush.”

The article notes Klarman’s displeasure in watching investors’ increased focus on boosting stock prices and engaging in short-term thinking—while companies that operate in good faith are overlooked. “You have people who are princes, who have good values, who treat people right,” Klarman says in the article. “We don’t tend to pay a lot of attention; we don’t get a lot of stories about them. The surveys of the most admired businesses—how much do those evolve over time based on your market cap? What’s in vogue and in favor is ‘admired.’ ”

There is a common thread, the article notes, to these criticisms: “Klarman’s critiques of Washington and of irresponsible business practices share a common target: the selfish disregard for the future.”

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Class of MBA 1982, Section I

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