Hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb gave a brief talk Wednesday night at Columbia College, where he was one of five alumni honored for distinguished professional achievement. I find it amazing that Columbia would be insensitive enough to schedule this event for the night of the Jewish holiday of Purim, but I guess I should know better than to be amazed by that sort of thing from Columbia at this point. Anyway, Mr. Loeb's speech did the service of calling attention to a speech at Occupy Wall Street by Columbia professor Jeffrey Sachs, in which Professor Sachs advised the Occupy crowd to go to the 1% and "Tell 'em they're paying, whether they like it or not." The Sachs speech is embedded below and is really something, even for a Columbia professor.
As Mr. Loeb put it: "I was surprised last fall to see an Economics Professor ensconced in an Occupy Wall Street mob decrying the 1%, attributing all the country's problems to an issue of poor distribution of wealth and accusing the so-called 1% of being lazy. Certainly he did not speak for the University where he is tenured but for but an economics Professor to carry on like this – really? We have a problem when young people are taught that our country is fundamentally unfair and encouraged to see themselves as victims. It is even more upsetting when our leaders tell us that it is their role to make amends for these wrongs via increased and capricious regulation, excessive entitlements, ill-conceived subsidies and punitive prosecutions."
Earlier FutureOfCapitalism coverage of Professor Sachs is here and here. I guess if President Obama makes Professor Sachs head of the World Bank it would have the advantage of dislodging him from Columbia (which could then repurpose the $8 million townhouse it bought for him). Columbia's defenders will point out that the university may be home to Jeff Sachs but it is also home to Glenn Hubbard, Charles Calomiris, Edmund Phelps, and others with outlooks different from that of Professor Sachs, which is what great universities are all about. There's probably some truth to that. Anyway, if Professor Sachs is smart (which he is, on some level, though you can't tell it from the YouTube speech) he'll invite Mr. Loeb to give a guest lecture and turn him into a donor, or at least a friend.