Morality In Investing

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During their recent episode of the VALUE: After Hours Podcast, Taylor, Brewster, and Carlisle discussed Morality In Investing. Here’s an excerpt from the episode:

Bill: Yeah, I don’t know. I mean, I guess you could– it can all go into morality. I tweeted out about Altria, and I’m not like pumping the stock. It’s interesting, I look at that entity and as a security, I just think it’s cheap. If I had a– Nice cup, Jake. I was at that summit. Yeah, what up? I guess, for me, I’m just looking at it from a financial standpoint. I guess that if I took a complete doughnut on that and could remove cigarettes from society, that would be a fine trade. I could sell that thing tomorrow and not care.

This is not some security that I care about or some products that I feel beholden to. In fact, I’d like to lose money on it because that outcome would be better for society. I don’t really know where you draw the line on this kind of thing. I think it’s really easy for me to say cigarettes. I’ve gone through this before on this podcast. One, my mom has smoked her whole life. I have hated cigarettes my whole life. I have tried to get her to stop smoking, I will probably lose her to lung cancer. There’s a part of me that says, like, “Fuck it, I’m going to make some money on this stuff because it’s cost me enough as it is.”

The other side is, somebody came into the chat today and he’s like, “I wouldn’t buy pot stocks.” Guess what? I like pot a lot. I think it’s better for people than alcohol. I think it does really interesting things for me. It helps me be present. Some of that’s because I’m got a mic on a book that says Taking Charge of Adult ADHD.

[laughter]

Bill: I might be self-medicating a little bit. I don’t think pot is what some people [unintelligible [00:24:45]. Then, you get the booze, and I’ve seen booze destroy more lives around me than anything. Some of the greatest investors in the world that are out there heralded and they own Diageo and they own all this other stuff. They’re great businesses. Jack Daniels is a great brand. Rousseau talks about it all the time. Wild Turkey killed my grandfather. I mean, he killed himself with it, but that dude was drunk all the time. I just don’t know how you– the guy that got up and said, like, “How can Berkshire own Coke?”

Sugar is some pretty bad shit. I don’t know where you want to draw the lines. I guess there’s a part of me that’s like, how can you even make this argument because it’s so clear that cigarettes are not a good thing for society? The other part is like, well, if you take that to like its logical conclusion, let’s assume everybody just avoided it and the price was like $1 a share, the one guy that went in and bought the security would be super-rich. I don’t want that outcome either. I don’t– [crosstalk]

Jake: Tobacco– [crosstalk]

Bill: Yeah, I just don’t know. What has social media done to politics? Where do you draw this line? I really don’t have the answer, and I’m more having the conversation to think about it out loud rather than say I know the answer. I really honestly don’t know the answer.

Jake: Are there any businesses that are just unalloyed good?

Bill: I don’t know. Here’s one that I thought of. Let’s say that, what’s the fucking– OnlyFans. Let’s say OnlyFans goes public. I guarantee you whoever buys that, that SPAC, if they have some warrants, those warrants are going to be worth a lot, that business is worth a lot. I don’t know that somebody at ESG say, “Hey, these people are now in charge of their own porn careers?” or “Do somebody that’s looking about it say, ‘No, porn is inherently bad.’” I don’t know.

Jake: Do we have any businesses? Any takers on that are just pure–?

Tobias: Yeah, that’s hard, isn’t it?

Jake: No questions asked.

Bill: I mean, obviously, Berkshire is.

Tobias: Tesla, naturally.

Jake: Tesla. Yeah. There you go.

Bill: The children that are mining the materials somewhere, don’t count because you can’t see them.

Tobias: Disney? How does Disney sneak through there? No way. Disney’s gross.

Bill: Dude, I’ll tell you what’s gross. You walk around Disney World and you cannot–

Tobias: That’s what I mean, Disney is gross.

Bill: Yeah. You can’t tell me that it doesn’t promote obesity or something. Those buffets are nasty.

Jake: What about gender conformity? I mean, there’s all kinds of–

Tobias: Yeah, they’re trying to do–

Jake: You have to be a princess.

Tobias: They’re trying think that is–

Bill: Personally, where I’m at with it is I will not put private market– if somebody is trying to raise funds, and I’m not for the business, I will not participate in giving a business capital. Some of these more mature businesses, I just think you’re buying a piece of paper and a cash flow stream.

Tobias: I think about it in terms of– [crosstalk]

Bill: [unintelligible [00:28:00]

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