Warren Buffett: The U.S. is moving toward plutocracy

Capitalism is like Cinderella, the Berkshire billionaire says in an exclusive interview with TheMarker. ‘She knew at midnight that everything was going to turn into pumpkins and mice, but it was just so much damn fun, dancing there.’
By Guy Rolnik

DAEGU, South Korea – The United States is moving toward plutocracy – government of the rich, not by the people, says Warren Buffett, in an exclusive interview with TheMarker at Iscar’s TaeguTec plant in South Korea.

Buffett, 80, arrived in the town of Daegu on Sunday evening, a stop on his tour of the Far East, including South Korea and India. The original highlight of the trip was to be the inauguration of Iscar’s new plant in Japan. But as radiation levels rose as the Fukushima nuclear power plant collapsed after the earthquake and tsunami, that part of the trip was canceled.

May will mark five years since Buffett carried out his first deal outside the United States, buying 80% of blade-technology company Iscar for $4 billion, from the Wertheimer family. He paid in cash.

Since then his relations with Iscar Chairman Eitan Wertheimer, who calls himself “Buffett’s travel agent” and who often accompanies the Oracle of Omaha on his global travels, have grown close.

This was Buffett’s second visit to the plant in Daegu. The first was in October 2007, a year before the great financial crisis broke out. The plant has developed enormously since then, as have most of Iscar’s businesses. After a difficult year in 2009, for 2010 the company reported record sales that grew 40% year over year. Its business was driven mainly by the enormous emerging markets – China, India and Brazil.

Wertheimer is along on this trip too, with his wife Ariella. Also along is Iscar President Jacob Harpaz, Chief Financial Officer Danny Goldman, marketing manager Ilan Geri and TaeguTec manager Moshe Sharon.


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