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David Harding: “We Must Either Be Cheats, Charlatans or Crooks”

While going through some of my old Trend Following Radio monologues I came across this excerpt from a David Harding interview:

Interviewer: Okay, one final question. When you look back at your long and successful career, was courage rewarded in your investment decisions?

Harding: The main place I would say that courage had entered into my career, and I’m not sure whether this is virtuous courage or not, [Name] this morning differentiated between good courage and bad courage and I’m not sure whether mine is good courage or bad courage. But I can tell you that everybody, most of my career, all of the intellectual orthodoxy and all the professors and the businessmen and all the forces of respectability said that what we did was impossible. Completely theoretically impossible and therefore we must either be cheats, charlatans or crooks. To go on running your business when everyone says that what you’re doing is theoretically impossible clearly means you’re in a very lonely position. I think part of the reason I’ve been very well rewarded is out of sheer perversity. I went on doing what I was doing because I trusted the evidence of my scientific research and the evidence of my senses over received wisdom of the powers that be and the authorities in the world. So if I had any lesson, Mark Twain said, “How come when physical courage is so common, moral courage is so rare.” That saying has always had a special meaning for me because I’m particularly cowardly physically as well.


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