In many ways, Stinnes played a role in Germany similar to the role Warren Buffett plays in the U.S.
Students of economic history know that the period 1922 to 1923 in Germany was the worst period of
He then diversified into shipping, buying cargo lines.
Not only was Stinnes not harmed by the Weimar hyperinflation, his empire prospered and he made more money than ever. He expanded his holdings and bought out bankrupt competitors.
Interestingly, we see Warren Buffett using the same techniques today. It appears that Buffett has studied Stinnes carefully and is preparing for the same kind of financial calamity that Stinnes saw coming.
Buffett recently purchased major transportation assets in the form of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad. This railroad consists of hard assets in the form of rights of way, adjacent mining rights, rail, and rolling stock. The railroad makes money moving hard assets such as ore and grains.
Buffett next purchased huge oil and natural gas assets in Canada. Buffett can now move his Canadian oil on his Burlington Northern railroad in exactly the same way that Stinnes moved his coal on his own ships in 1923. Buffett is also a major holder in ExxonMobil, the largest energy company in the world.
For decades, Buffett owned one of the most powerful newspapers in the U.S., the Washington Post. He sold that stake recently to Jeff Bezos of Amazon, but still retains communications assets. Buffett has also purchased large offshore assets in China and elsewhere that produce non-dollar profits that can be retained offshore tax-free.
A huge part of Buffett’s portfolio is in financial stocks in banks and insurance companies that are highly leveraged borrowers. Like
In short, Buffett is borrowing from the Stinnes playbook. He’s using leverage to diversify into hard assets in energy, transportation and foreign currencies. He’s using his communications assets and prestige to stay informed on behind-the-scenes developments
It’s not too late for investors to take some of the same precautions as Stinnes and Buffett. In the short run, deflation has the upper hand. But, it’s just a matter of time before central banks slay the deflation monster and open the door to much higher inflation. Do not rely on your fixed dollar assets like savings, insurance and pensions. Diversification into energy, mining, transportation, gold, land and fine art will serve you well.
- Source, Jim Rickards via Darien Times