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The free market is at its best when everybody works in a fish bowl and tells you their point of view. … The hedge funds and portfolio managers have a right to do this. … We’ve muted the analysts and their presence in the system.
—Mario Gabelli in Sarah Pringle, “Gabelli Says Market Helped by Activist Stands,” Bloomberg News, Feb. 28, 2013
Let me be direct: Gabelli was in vintage form on Bloomberg Surveillance Thursday morning. After the interview, adjacent to one of the famed Bloomberg fish tanks (aquariums or acquaria seems so not Mario), one of his fans telephoned to suggest he was on fire.
Let me be further direct: Politically Correct tends toward Financially Correct, which tends toward what we have become.
We are sanitized and removed from our struggle with debate that leads to the needed distinction: modern argument.
In short, we are afraid to argue.
Mario Gabelli has done many things in life. Few are sanitized. Fewer Correct. Start with superior equity performance, end with the gifting of money to schools that play hockey. And note the recent nine-hit shutout before the Court Supreme of these United States.
Young Gabelli played long ago in a shareholder activist time of grace. Today’s players have sharper elbows, honed by 2 and 20. (This a cult that suggests “more than 440 species of sharks split across eight orders.”)
The grace is gone.
What Mario Gabelli said Thursday is vital to our financial well being. It is vital to your retirement plan. Those that argue ugly are critical to our success.
Everyone in the pool; everyone in the fish bowl. Discuss.