How do you make poor people feel wealthy when wages are stagnant? You give them cheap loans.
And he explained that they avoided free checking because it was really a tax on poor people—in the form of fines for overdrawing their checking accounts. And that banks that used it were really just banking on being able to rip off poor people even more than they could if they charged them for their checks.” Eisman asked, “Are any regulators interested in this?” “No,” said Sandler. “That’s when I decided the system was really, ‘Fuck the poor.’”
Warren Buffett had an acerbic partner, Charlie Munger, who evidently cared a lot less than Buffett did about whether people liked him. Back in 1995, Munger had given a talk at Harvard Business School called “The Psychology of Human Misjudgment.” If you wanted to predict how people would behave, Munger said, you only had to look at their incentives. FedEx couldn’t get its night shift to finish on time; they tried everything to speed it up but nothing worked—until they stopped paying night shift workers by the hour and started to pay them by the shift. Xerox created a new, better machine...
Note: If you want to predict how people will behave, pay attention to their incentives.
Thus when Mike Burry went into business he made sure that he had the proper incentives. He disapproved of the typical hedge fund manager’s deal. Taking 2 percent of assets off the top, as most did, meant the hedge fund manager got paid simply for amassing vast amounts of other people’s money. Scion Capital charged investors only its actual expenses—which typically ran well below 1 percent of the assets. To make the first nickel for himself, he had to make investors’ money grow. “Think about the genesis of Scion,” says one of his early investors. “The guy has no money and he chooses...