Herb Allen is a genius whose role in American business deserves great respect.
During the period of an hereditary elite in the United States, before 1960, that elite had their own private clubs where important information and deals were carried out in complete privacy. The Bohemian Grove Summer Encampment is a residual of that era. The people who go there still have some elitist aura for those two weeks in the summer.
Herb Allen has an annual gathering in Sun Valley, with so many private jets that they are parked all over Idaho wherever there is airport space. The guest list is made up of wealthy successful media moguls and people in related fields. No elite hereditary guests. Most important deals at Herb Allen's gathering become public fairly quickly.
Herb has his company pay for the entire elegant event including entertainment for the spouses and families. His company benefits in the realm of mergers and acquisitions.
I admire what Herb has done. It is important and it is valuable to the world of commerce.
Why do I have anything to say, in this blog, about Herb Allen? Because in the early 1980s I was in a public debate with Herb, in Virginia, about the nature of money and money in your private life. My shtick was about simple living and commerce. Herb’s was about the benefits of getting rich.
Herb and I privately had drinks together and discussed the details of Herb’s life. Herb had used one marriage to get a job on Wall Street and another marriage to fund his portfolio at the job. I told him that ‘commerce’ has no moral qualms about this but that I didn't believe he should or could recommend that behavior publicly. Which he didn't.
Back to the theme of this blog. While I think Herb’s private morals may at one time have been out of sync with general American values, he has, with his annual soirée, made a major positive contribution to American commerce.