Recently, Warren Buffett said that the Fed was the world’s largest hedge fund. He is wrong. The world’s largest hedge funds are owned by people who are risk takers with their own money, since they are usually the largest investors in their funds. The academics at the Fed are playing with other people’s money.
However, if we consider that the Fed, led by its chairman, is the most powerful organization in the world — because by printing money, it can finance the government (fiscal deficits) and wars, manipulate the cost of money (interest rates), directly intervene in the economy by bailing out failing institutions (banks) or countries (Greece, etc.), intervene in the foreign exchange market and even influence elections — then the question arises whether it makes sense that so much power should be given to Fed members, who are “group thinking” academics and most of whom have never worked in the private sector. In my opinion, the enormous power of the “academic” Fed is a frightening thought. My friend Fred Sheehan recently quoted from Johann Peter Eckermann’s conversation with Goethe, Feb. 1, 1827. We talked about the professors who, after they had found a better theory, still ignored it. From Eckermann and Goethe:
“‘This is not to be wondered at,’ said Goethe; ‘such people continue in error because they are indebted to it for their existence. They would have to learn everything over again, and that would be very inconvenient.’ - in Dailyreckoning
Marc Faber is an international investor known for his uncanny predictions of the stock market and futures markets around the world.