This is pretty much my thinking. I doubt there’s anything to be done about it, but I don’t think it’s good for the country.
We all suffer from a remarkable degree of impatience. We live in a world of sound bites, and the sense of instant gratification permeates every corner of our society.In my chosen field of money management, the expression “long term” is an endangered species.Consider public policy, executive compensation, the manner in which we communicate and the investment business.Public policy: Hard, thoughtful political decisions are discarded in favor of short-term and popular decisions. In the end, these decisions are usually more costly.Executive compensation: Many of our business and investment managers have gotten away with a “heads I win, tails you lose” mentality over the past decade, and it nearly destroyed our financial system.Communication: In our social lives and in the way we communicate, convenience, expediency and haste rule the day. Speed dating and texting have replaced romance and conversation. Even texts are abbreviated as we now tweet. (Literacy and SAT English scores must be on the descent!)Investment business: Demands on short-term investment performance have intensified and have never been greater. Short-term decision making and trading (what I describe as worshiping at the altar of momentum) has increasingly trumped intelligent, analytical and thoughtful long-term investing.In the business media, the staccato pace of CNBC’s prime time “Fast Money” and “Mad Money” shows make them so popular, as do their Fast Messages and Lightning Rounds. (“Slow Money” and “Sane Money” would not make money for CNBC in today’s world.)Investors in mutual and hedge funds have become ever more conscious of short-term performance. As a result, few money managers have the luxury of “forever” as Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) investor base grants him. Indeed our investors’ capital is now almost “call” money, as multiyear hedge fund lockups have morphed into monthly and quarterly redemption privileges for their investors.