The first question is, “What is the nature of the stock market?” And that gets you directly to this efficient market theory that got to be the rage - a total rage - long after I graduated from law school.

And it's rather interesting because one of the greatest economists of the world is a substantial shareholder in Berkshire Hathaway and has been from the very early days after Buffett was in control. His textbook always taught that the stock market was perfectly efficient and that nobody could beat it. But his own money went into Berkshire and made him wealthy. So, like Pascal in his famous wager, he hedged his bet.

Is the stock market so efficient that people can't beat it? Well, the efficient market theory is obviously roughly right - meaning that markets are quite efficient and it's quite hard for anybody to beat the market by significant margins as a stock picker by just being intelligent and working in a disciplined way.

Indeed, the average result has to be the average result. By definition, everybody can't beat the market. As I always say, the iron rule of life is that only twenty percent of the people can be in the top fifth. That's just the way it is. So the answer is that it's partly efficient and partly inefficient.


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