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Warren Buffett - The Future of Philanthropy

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The people in Buffett's small business program are already in business and doing well. They will eventually make it to Montana, but they want to get the curriculum and the fundamentals right. They also need financing, but everything seems to be coming together. Usually, the local bank or people who are already in business in your area are the first places to go to to look for financing for your new business. There are definitely loanable funds available on the banks balance sheet. Wells Fargo certainly would love to lend out 50 billion dollars in loans. But you need some equity yourself, just as if you were going to put a down payment on a house. But if you have some equity, you have a good business idea, and you have the right people running the business, then you should be able to get financing for your business. Buffett doesn't have a lot of investments in emerging energy technologies. He typically goes with simple proven businesses. But in not many years, you are going to see a clear change towards electric cars. But it is hard to see who will be the winner in all that. GM will probably try to compete with their electric car, the Volt. In general, you should play to and exploit your own strengths. One of the strengths in Montana is its coal reserves. Montana could also become more productive with farming. The main thing that you need is a prosperous country. It will be hard for a particular state to prosper while the other 49 suffer. But this country will be more prosperous. We are coming out of the recession. The things that have worked for this country the past 200 years will continue to work into the future. Omaha used to be a railroad and livestock center. But it transformed to an insurance center. If you have a knowledgeable insurance department, then you will attract many insurance companies. Microfinancing is a great initiative that has helped many entrepreneurs around the world. Berkshire Hathaway is also one of the biggest providers of affordable housing in the world. In Philanthropy there is no market test. Part of what Buffett and Gates want to do is to do philanthropy better than it has been done before. In 20 years, philanthropy will not only represent a bigger piece of the pie, but it will be directed much more effectively. The idea is to figure out how philanthropy can get at problems that the private sector hasn't been too good at attacking.