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%.
Patrick Byrne: I’d probably want to interview Jeffrey Sachs. I’d probably want to . . . When I . . . What I would wanna ask him is what he is proposing is . . . seems so clearly wrong to many other sensible people in his field that . . . and it’s . . . It certainly is divorced from my own experience. It seems to be ideas that have been tried and proven to be pernicious. What is he thinking of? Now I know that would be a loaded question and he would have to find a nice way to answer it; but he won’t answer . . . To me if we really think of international development as one of the major issues that the world faces, I’d wanna know what his . . . his . . . what can he be . . . I really wanna say what can he possibly be thinking of? But maybe there’s something in there that I’m missing. And the other one I would ask is . . . of Ahmadinejad or somebody from Iran, what is their solution on Israel? It’s a non-starter to say we’re gonna wipe ‘em into the sea. We’re gonna nuke ‘em and stuff. What is their solution? What is their proposal – a serious proposal? And if they don’t have one, you know, I . . . I would try to find that out.
Recorded on: 10/29/07