Saturday, June 12, 2010

Warren's Grande Bouffe

Today, some comic relief.

The price of a lunch with the Oracle of Omaha, also known - appropriately enough - as Warren Buffett, has soared to $2.63 million.  All going to charity, of course.

In the chart below we can distinguish three periods for this Grande Bouffe: in 2003 David Einhorn, the famous (some would say infamous) hedge fund manager paid $250,100 for his lunch, a whopping tenfold jump from the previous high of $25,000.  Mr. Buffett's days as a cheap date were clearly over.

What's On The Menu?

The price of Lunch (obviously capitalized..) moved briskly upwards after that, reaching over $600,000 in 2007;  but it was in 2008 and Mr. Zhao Danyang's whopper $2.11 million that Warren got to be a serious lunch date.  Mr. Danyang was yet another fund manager, this time from China (where else..?).  I wonder if he got his money's worth?  My bet is that the Oracle kept the subjects limited to the menu and See's Candy (yum).

This year's bidder is anonymous.  Given the massive unpopularity of financiers these days it's just as well.  We don't want voters scandalized any more than absolutely necessary, even if it's for a good cause.

P.S. Do you like the new look?


  1. Yeah, I like the new look.
    But I'm too dense to understand the post.
    For some OTHER comic relief, there was a French film called "La Grand Bouffe", I think (Arnould, where are you ? I think I may have got the title wrong, and I never saw the film, just heard about it.)
    A bunch of aristo decadent chefs ? got together and ate until they popped...
    Is that what you're suggesting for the hedge fund managers ??
    They might deserve something nicer to go out on than whoppers, though..
    I'm glad that the love of your life is an artist and not a hedge fund manager, by the way. That gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling.
    Good job. Keep up the good work..

  2. I never saw "La grande abbuffata", I was too young, 10 years old and the movie was allowed only for 18+. But I remember the scandal in the media.

    That was right as I would have been incapable to understand that it was a criticism of consumerism. Now I understand that most of the adults at the time had known a society without goods to purchase that changed extremely suddenly, within 10 years, starting in about 1955. It is very different for me. As far as I can remember, there were supermarkets and they were full of goods to purchase. Not so for Marco Ferreri and all his actors of course.

    If he was still alive, he could have done a remake taking place in Omaha during the meeting of a bunch of rich hedge fund manager, it would have been even funnier.

    PS. I did like the previous look more.

  3. Wow, just for fun, let's see how far out we can take this... ;-)
    One of the reasons I was so incensed with William (Clinton, not Shakespeare) was for returning to Arkansas where he was governor before the presidential election in order to preside over the execution of Ricky Ray Rector who had lobotomized himself so far in a shoot out that he wanted to save the dessert from HIS last meal for after the execution... Bet the dessert was NOT on the parr of the orgy in "La grande bouffe", though. I HOPE they made it to dessert. The best part of the meal, sometimes.
    Arnould, I think I'm going to have to check out the film. No offense, but (almost as always) that Wiki link was the equivalent of a wimpy burger...
    A remake in Omaha ?? Somehow that would lack all the luster of the Ancien Regime in Omaha.. A terrible loss.
    I thought the film was Italian, but it seems to have been a hybrid ??
    Are we on topic, Hell ? ;-) in all fairness, it WAS in your title...
    Food is so much more interesting than economics, anyway. More nourishing. Pleasurable.
    I will do better next time. Promise.
    I'm still waiting for a hint of what the post is really about..

  4. As for me, I think the new look is refreshing. There is nothing wrong with a little window dressing change once in a while.

  5. Debra,

    I note you have some exp. in 'shrinking'.

    I have to take a 2 sem. 3rd year, undergrad course in Behavioural Economics -(please don't laugh!).

    Any 'suitable' texts you know of?

    Brian P

  6. I'm going to come to your (moral) support Brian. Behavioral economics is, in my considered opinion, one heck of a lot closer to "reality" than everything else out there, including Adam Smith, efficient/rational market theories, etc etc.

    Then again, reality is what we make of it, isn't it?

  7. Dear Debra,

    This is a quantum post. What it is about, is what YOU see in it. Just like Schrodinger's cat, it's neither dead nor alive until you interact with it.


  8. Some people just want to show that they have money to spend.

    I like the old look much better. The new Tiffany blue needs a bit of getting used too. In fact, if you really like blue color, may I suggest azure or deep blue?

    Anyway, I hope you would bring back the old look.

  9. Geez, Brian, now that is a new field of "expertise" that I would have no presumptions to coach anybody on...
    You know, if I wanted to be really cynical (lol) I could say that... the market is all about setting up your stand, like Lucy at Charlie Brown's place, and then selling yourself, and sticking a price tag (label, hint hint) on what you're doing... if somebody is willing to pay for it, then you're on your way, right ?
    Now... that doesn't necessarily make it legitimate. NOT AT FIRST... But after a while, when enough people set up their Lucy stands next to you, it starts looking legitimate to people, now, doesn't it ?
    Don't ask me. I work for free..

  10. A quick review of what I wrote above leads me to conclude that SOME people might infer that I was talking about... charlatanism, or imposture, or things in that line.
    I just wanted to NIP THAT BELIEF IN THE BUD immediately. I am not talking about charlatanism at all.
    The above paradigm works for everything. (I think...)

  11. Hell,

    Thanks for the Moral Support. I prefer Cantillon (being Irish and all!) to AS and followers. Mind you, Georgescu-Rogen and Soddy have been useful as well. Feynmann would be the guy to beat!

    How did Friedman and Solow ever get 'past-the-gate'?

    Debra: Bit late in the day for me to stick a hologram on my forehead - I'm a 'mature student' - whatever that means. I reckoned that a BA in whatever might be a tad more appealing than a 1st in Housework! Let you know how I get on!

    Brian P

  12. I like the new look. Very clean and stylish.

    Given the philosophical trend in the comments, I'm adding a Jonah Lehrer quote via Andrew Sullivan's blog which struck me as very apt to the disconnect between the "science" of economics and real-life observed outcomes:

    "Karl Popper, the great philosopher of science, once divided the world into two categories: clocks and clouds. Clocks are neat, orderly systems that can be solved through reduction; clouds are an epistemic mess, “highly irregular, disorderly, and more or less unpredictable.” The mistake of modern science is to pretend that everything is a clock, which is why we get seduced again and again by the false promises of brain scanners and gene sequencers. We want to believe we will understand nature if we find the exact right tool to cut its joints. But that approach is doomed to failure. We live in a universe not of clocks but of clouds."

    As ever, reality is an exogenous variable.

  13. Great quote, London Banker.
    That deserves another favor.
    I am currently splashing my way through Jacques Barzun's "From Dawn to Decadence, from 1500 to the present, 500 years in the History of Western Cultural Life".
    Barzun is an excellent historian of IDEAS, and the book is filled with HIS wisdom, and take on the way things have panned out... His is over 109, and still going, still curious.
    It will get you excited. It's a big pavé, as we say here, but you will not get bored with it an instant.

  14. The blue suits you very well, however, I wouldn't say it's a Tiphony blue..... It's more of a spring sky blue, like the background of the wind turbine in your profile photo. Very nice, it conveys your benevolence and is more in keeping with your intentions.

    I'm a RED MAN myself. No pun intended, no chaw here.... ;-)

    Best regards,


  15. the chinaman is not the issue, here.