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'Civilized People Don't Buy Gold': Berkshire's Munger

Warren Buffett's right-hand man doesn't like gold any more than his boss does, Charles Munger told CNBC Friday on the eve of Berkshire Hathway's annual meeting.

Warren Buffett
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Warren Buffett

"Gold is a great thing to sew into your garments if you’re a Jewish family in Vienna in 1939," the Berkshire vice chairman said, "but I think civilized people don’t buy gold, they invest in productive businesses."

Munger, 88, said he loves Berkshire Hathaway's portfolio of such businesses, which includes, among many others, the Burlington Northern railroad, specialty chemicals firm Lubrizol and Geico insurance.

"We just have a wonderful portfolio in business, if you average them out," Munger said. "By and large they're doing productive, useful work. It’s not outsmarting the computer systems in the trading markets."

For the most part, he agrees with Buffett's "simple" investment strategy, which he said is "pretty agnostic." "We’ve always been opportunistic" in investing, he said.

Munger said that unlike Buffett, who announced he is fighting early-stage prostate cancer, he doesn't even bother to get his PSA levels checked.

But he understands the concerns about succession at Berkshire. While Buffett's successor has not been publicly named, Munger said he has "never been more comfortable about succession or duration of [Berkshire's] culture than ... right now. Our new investment people show enormous promise."

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