2002 Guardian Award Winner Predicts The FutureWarren Buffett, the world’s second wealthiest man, known as the “Oracle of Omaha” for his astute investments, is the winner of Lifeboat Foundation’s 2002 Guardian Award.
“The Guardian is awarded as much for bravery as it is for insight,” says Carl Martinez, spokesperson for Lifeboat Foundation. “Visionaries like Warren Buffett fight opposition every day.”
Warren Buffett, unlike other executives who go out of their way to coax and reassure shareholders, tells his audience information they might not want to hear. And, much like the mythic prophet Cassandra, Buffett has made predictions that were disregarded at great expense.
When the dot-coms pushed the Nasdaq ever higher in the late 1990s, Buffett stuck with his “paint and underwear” holdings believing that the high tech companies were overvalued. As usual, Buffett’s disdain for mass sentiment paid off: While Internet companies have crumbled, Berkshire shares now trade close to their 52-week high of $75,700 a piece.
Buffett has not limited his predictions to the financial future, but in the wake of 9/11, has turned his attention to the fate of all mankind. “Fear may recede with time, but the danger won’t the war against terrorism can never be won,” the 71-year-old billionaire warns. “We’re going to have something in the way of a major nuclear event in this country. It will happen. Whether it will happen in 10 years or 10 minutes, or 50 years… it’s virtually a certainty.”
Buffett backed this statement with action in his 2001 annual report for Berkshire Hathaway, a holding company primarily involved in the property and casualty insurance business, by asserting that, “We will not … write coverages on a large number of office and apartment towers in a single metropolis without excluding losses from both a nuclear explosion and the fires that would follow it.”
Cassandra was cursed by Apollo so that her predictions would never be believed. This came to no good end. But even if her warnings had been believed, would that be enough? Guardian Award winner, Warren Buffett, doesn’t think so. He cautions that, “Predicting rain doesn’t count, building arks does.”