Patrick Byrne
Founder & CEO, Overstock.com
01:04

Patrick Byrne: What is your outlook?

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Byrne is not as optimistic as Friedman.

Patrick Byrne

Patrick M. Byrne is the CEO of the Internet retailer Overstock.com. Byrne received his B.A. from Dartmouth, studied at Cambridge University as a Marshall Scholar, and earned a PhD in Philosophy from Stanford University. He co-founded Overstock.com in 1997 and became CEO in 1999. In 2005, Byrne initiated a controversial campaign against "naked short selling" in which he accused a "Sith Lord" and various financial firms of sabotaging Overstock's share price. Byrne also serves as head of First Class Education, an education lobbying group that seeks to require that 65% of all educational spending be spent "in the classroom." A strong proponent of school vouchers, Byrne spent almost four million dollars in advertising for a bill that would have given Utah residents who enroll their children in private schools taxpayer-supported subsidies. The bill lost, 62-38%.

Transcript

Patrick Byrne: I used to ask . . . I’ve asked Milton Freedman actually that same question, and he . . . he always said that I was lucky in that I was just a born optimist. No matter how bad things got; no matter how statist the intellectual class became in the ‘40s, and the ‘50s, and ‘60s, I was always an optimist. I always . . . I knew the books weren’t going to be burned. I thought that we would come out of it. I guess I’m not so . . . I don’t . . . I can’t be as optimistic as he was. I’ve become in the last two or three years, as I’ve discovered that the system is just turtles all the way down, I don’t think that we’re gonna be able . . . Well I think it’s a 50-50 thing whether we’re going to be able to fashion the responses that we need to deal with the largest problems we face.

Recorded on: 10/29/07

 


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