Monday, April 25, 2011

Galts gone Wild: Trains back in fashion with the uber-rich

 Lookie here:
Bill Gates now biggest CN shareholder

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is the largest shareholder in Montreal-based Canadian National Railway, according to disclosures released ahead of the company’s annual meeting on Wednesday.

The world's second-richest man owned or control 10.04 per cent of its shares, worth $3.2 billion as of Feb. 25.
Also this graf:
Gates' friend Warren Buffett, through his holding company Berkshire Hathaway Inc., acquired full control of U.S. rail company Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. early last year.

    Obviously nothing to do with a crappy movie being made about a cult book, but given how much the various Republican governors hate rail, even to the point of shooting themselves in the foot turning down free federal money and jobs for rail infrastructure projects, I thought it kind of funny to see some actual smart investing rich people seeing rail as a good bet.  Maybe just a coincidence that these two rail companies happen to be good investments for reasons particular to them, or maybe Gates and Buffet think the high gas prices are here to stay, and higher to come, which will make rail transport a lot more economical than transporting goods via 18 wheelers across the continent, as happens very often today.  Aside from middle eastern unrest and increasing demand for oil in the former "Third World", the eventual need to respond to climate change will hae to make road transport less attractive so there are reasons to believe rail will have a brighter future.

    That said, if the latter has anything to do with Gates and Buffet's reasoning in this, it does piss me off that they're quietly positioning themselves to best profit from the response to the climate crisis, rather than using their rather large microphones and positions of influence to get something politically done about it.   Climate change will kill a lot more poor people than malaria in the next 100 years.

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