Stanley F. Druckenmiller ’75, H’07, a private investor, chair of Bowdoin’s Investment Committee and longtime benefactor of the College, discussed the potential economic, educational and environmental implications of the new presidential administration in a conversation with President Clayton Rose on Wednesday evening. Over 400 students, community members and alums attended the event, “An Investor’s Perspective on Trump, Trade, and Global Populism,” in Pickard Theater.

After introducing Druckenmiller, Rose asked him about the new presidential administration’s handling of the economy and trade.

Druckenmiller was optimistic that the new administration could make some positive change. 

“I think this administration has the opportunity to actually raise the long-term growth rate in this country,” he said. “What we need is not another dose of sugar, not another dose of tax cuts, not just infrastructures—some stimulus program that’s gonna give us a sugar high for 18 months. We need serious structural reform in the tax code.”

When asked about President Donald Trump’s views on free trade agreements and his plan to reform current trade agreements, Druckenmiller was more critical of the administration.

“I think the economic growth to be gained by improving trade deals is miniscule, at best,” he said. “The thing I’m worried about most is that they think there is some economic delta to be gained from this.”

Druckenmiller stated that although not every trade agreement is perfect, the administration should proceed with caution in reforming them out of fear that foreign powers will retaliate with trade embargoes if negotiations get ugly. 

Rose then opened the floor for students and audience members to ask Druckenmiller questions. Students asked questions about topics ranging from income and wealth inequality to Druckenmiller’s predictions about the new administration’s policies on education and trade. 

Druckenmiller said that a change in education begins with changing the expectations of students at a young age as well as hiring teachers who are passionate about teaching students. 

On the subject of income inequality, he noted the problem of unequal opportunity.

“You’re always going to have income differential in this country, and I’m for that. I’m a red-blooded, free-market capitalist, but I do think it’s ridiculous when you look at the advantages of some 4-year-olds in this country versus other 4-year-olds,” he said. 

One student asked Druckenmiller what classes he should take if he wanted to get rich.

“If I was giving any advice to young people, even if it was how to get rich, it is follow your passion,” Druckenmiller said.

Although many students in attendance did not agree with some of Druckenmiller’s viewpoints, they enjoyed the event. 

Andrew Cawley ’17 appreciated Druckenmiller’s candidness. 

“I think that he is an older, white, really rich male, and in that sense I think there are some things he is really out of touch with,” Cawley said. “But that being said, I think he was super, super honest and super candid and I really appreciated that.”

Justin Pearson ’17 was interested in Druckenmiller’s economic arguments. 

“I think from the economic standpoint the interesting thing about his perspective was that he thought this administration could solve some of the problems, particularly with health care,” he said.

Sean Marsh ’95, who attended the talk, was impressed by the event.

“I am not a very good investor, so I wanted to hear from a good investor,” Marsh said. 

Marsh was also pleased by the participation of Bowdoin students who questioned Druckenmiller. 

“I was very impressed with how many students were here, and I was also really impressed with how many students got up and asked really thoughtful and structured questions,” he said.