Not knowing

“‘We do not know exactly what happens when you voluntarily shut down a substantial portion of your society’ Buffett says.” “… it was unsettling on Saturday to hear him repeatedly sayI don’t know.'” [Emphases added.]

When an oracle speaks, statements are notoriously vague and subject to interpretation, and listeners notoriously pick at excerpts to support their views, in or out of context. I am among this crowd, and my perspective prior to the Oracle’s pronouncement is disclosed below.

The transitional year

Right or wrong, it’s good in any case to have some semblance of support from oracles, or at least one, even if the point of intersection is not knowing. In fairness, oracles have always taken this position, at least the true ones, as evidenced by the jumble of words and mysteries wrapped up in riddles when they speak. But very rarely does an oracle come out to say so plainly. The Oracle must really mean it.

And in this case, because this oracle is also a transactor and not just a life coach, as it were, it’s noteworthy that unlike in the prior time of massive instability, when Berkshire bought the dip most sensationally, this time around the emphasis is on cash and standing pat.

“Our position is to stay a Fort Knox,” he said. “You’ve got too many planes,” he threw in for good measure. And if too many planes, perhaps too many buildings? No one knows, who knows?

NY Times – Andrew Ross Sorkin

But one thing we can always make and use more of at very little cost, is bits and lines of code. The financial value of these and related products, which are in infinite supply, tends to accrue to a dominant few networks, in accordance with statistical power law distributions. These networks are difficult to break, and Berkshire’s biggest holding, almost as big as cash and not knowing, is Apple.

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