And in such an economy, thanks to his investing prowess, Buffett, CEO and Chairman of holding company Berkshire Hathaway, is currently the third richest person in the world, worth $86.6 billion according to Forbes. He has such a nose for investing he has earned the nickname, "Oracle of Omaha," after the town in Nebraska from which he hails.
But what if money were only awarded for some other measure – like sports ability, for example? Buffett says he would be in trouble.
"If this was a sports economy, I'd starve to death. You could give me six hours of training every day and I could practice at night… And I wouldn't be any good," Buffett told CNN's Poppy Harlow at a charity lunch hosted at Smith & Wollensky steakhouse in New York City on Thursday. Buffett uses the hypothetical to make a point: "Your skills fit a market economy," he told Harlow, "my skills fit a market economy. Not everybody's do."
For those whose skills don't fit, it can mean financial struggle — and it's the job of the most successful and the government in a market economy to do something about that, he said.
"We want a market economy, but a rich family does not leave people behind," Buffett explained.
He's made the point before. "Everything should be devoted initially to getting greater productivity," said Buffett at Columbia University in 2017. "But people who fall by the wayside, through no fault of their own, as the goose lays more golden eggs, should still get a chance to participate in that prosperity. And that is where government comes in."