If the world’s philanthropists really want to benefit humanity, they will bring more Costcos into the world, in the humble opinion of Costco board member and Warren Buffett business partner Charles Munger.
Speaking at a University of Michigan event this week, Munger said “I believe Costco does more for civilization than the Rockefeller Foundation,” and the idea of “very intelligent people sitting around trying to do good” makes him squirm in his seat. Costco has been praised for its gentle treatment of employees.
Munger’s view that big-box discount retailers are rich people’s greatest gift to their fellow man stands in sharp contrast to that of Buffett, the folksy Nebraskan billionaire and Berkshire Hathaway CEO who plans to give 99 percent of his wealth away to charity.
It’s to be expected that big-time executives view economic growth and entrepreneurship as the chief path to success. It’s more rare, though not unheard-of, to hear such a view stated so plainly.