Sunday, August 20, 2006

Investors and predicting the future

Byron Wien of Pequot Capital (formerly chief strategist at Morgan Stanley) is reknown on Wall Street for his annual list of "ten surprises" which he has released every year in January since the mid-1980s. Here's his 2005 list. Here's an article he wrote on philanthropy back in 1997 for the TIFF Education Foundation. I always like to go back in time and this essay gives us a "before the boom" perspective on some now-common ideas in philanthropy, such as venture philanthropy or donor as investor.

I particularly liked Wien's final paragraph, which I've pasted below:
"Some of us on Wall Street are perhaps afraid to give away too much of what we have earned. A bear market may be coming, and we donÂ?t want to go back to where we started. To some extent, giving away money we wonÂ?t need in our lifetime forces us to think about our own mortality, and that is not something we want to focus on. Perhaps we should be mindful of the advice of one of John D. Rockefeller's advisors, given in 1905: "You must give it away. It is rolling up like an avalanche that will crush you and your children and your children's children." George Soros sees it another way. Quoting Francis Bacon, he says,"Money is like muck, not good except it be spread.""

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