Warren Buffett: Inflation

“Inflation destroys value, but it destroys it very unequally. The best business to have during inflation is one that retains its earning power in real dollars without commensurate investment to, in effect, fund the inflation-produced nominal growth. The worst kind of business is where you have to keep putting more and more money into a lousy business. In effect, the airlines have been hurt by inflation over the last 40 years, because now they have to put a whole lot of money in a lousy investment, which is a plane, compared to 30 or 40 years ago. And they have to stay in the game. They have to keep buying new planes. And the new planes cost far more now, and the returns continue to be inadequate. So the best protection is a very good business that does not require big capital investment… Inflation is always a factor in calculating the kind of investment, the kind of business, that we want to buy. But it isn’t like it crowds out all other factors. I mean, it’s always been with us. We’ll think about it always.” —Warren Buffett.