ESG makes Peter Thiel angry, 4/10
He hearts Bitcoin
Peter Thiel calls the ESG (environmental, social, and governance) investment movement a “hate factory.”
I’m sure many of you have seen the video. My first pointer came from Tyler Cowen.
I share his disgust with ESG. It is bad enough that a company that wants to sell shares to ordinary investors has to subject itself to regulations that are arbitrary and inefficient. (I am sure that I would find some of the regulations to be reasonable and efficient. Thiel says that these days going public is a de facto government takeover.) But ESG adds insult to injury. I picture ESG investing as having a portfolio manager’s choices restricted by some 25-year-old kid hired to be the ESG advisor and whose expertise comes from what he reads on Woke Twitter.
Thiel tells the audience that the way to fight ESG is to buy Bitcoin. He calls Bitcoin skeptics the “financial gerontocracy.” I plead guilty. I prefer to fight ESG, and inflation, by buying commodity funds. And stocks in fertilizer producers, farmland, and real estate.
I remember when I tried America Online in 1993. At the time, I think I had a 14.4k modem. The most popular feature was chat rooms, where, regardless of the topic, the messages people typed in using their cutesy AOL screen names and shorthand acronyms (LOL, of course) were mostly flirtatious.
My reaction was “Nope: too old and too married to feel like I belong here.”
And when it comes to Bitcoin, my reaction is “Nope: too old and too law-abiding to feel like I belong here.”
I'm distrustful of extremes and both of these seem like extreme positions by Thiel.
I don't see any reason to think bitcoin is a savior because I think the moment it gets strong enough to matter it'll get smashed by the governmental powers it threatens. Someone needs to explain in simple, practical terms how to avoid this.
ESG... It's not at all my bag, but I don't understand the visceral hatred for it. Compared to government regulation, it seems like private investors choosing to put their money where their mouth is is a big improvement. Will such companies try to game this system? Of course. But so do non-ESG companies and we don't bat an eyelash at that. The bottom line to me is:
(ESG indices consistently underperform the S&P500).
Excellent. Good investment advice.