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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Spring 2009

T C 357 • Investments, The Social Role of Business and Effective Philanthropy: Lessons from Warren Buffett and Bill Gates  W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
42820 M
3:00 PM-6:00 PM
CRD 007B

Course Description

This course will use the lives and writings of Warren Buffett and Bill Gates to examine the ways in which great wealth may be accumulated, the social role of business, and options in the field of philanthropy. Warren Buffett not only is generally thought to be the most successful investor of all time; but he is also seen by many as the most significant independent voice with regard to proper governance of the corporation. Some of the issues we will examine will include:

1. Whether corporation's job is to maximize earnings or to serve many social goals?
2. Options for structuring philanthropy
3. Ways of thinking about risk and uncertainty in investment and in life.
4. Executive compensation, Mr. Market, and the inheritance tax

Grading Policy

Tentatively I expect each student will do two class exercises in which they prepare one side or another of a specific discussion for a particular class in which all will be involved as well as a 15 page paper which will be presented towards the end of the semester. Grades will be based on both class participation as well as the papers.


Roger Lowenstein, Buffett: the Making of an American Capitalist Buffett's essays which are the first 20-30 pages of the Berkshire Hathaway annual report all on line at
And a variety of other reading from Charles Mungers Poor Charlies Almanack, Kilpatricks OF Permanaent Value and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

About the Professor
David Warner is the Wilbur Cohen Professor of Public Affairs at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. He teaches courses in Health Policy and Health Finance. He also has been a long time admirer of Warren Buffett and has invested a disproportionate proportion of his net worth in Berkshire Hathaway. He believes this course will provide a fresh look at a number of issues for students. He is also the father and father in law of Plan II graduates and believes this course will provide a fresh and contemporary look at a number of issues.


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