In his Twitter account, billionaire and Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio affirmed to believe that we are on the brink of a terrible civil conflict, where we are at an inflection point between entering a type of hell of fighting or pulling back to work together for peace and prosperity that addresses the big wealth, values, and opportunity gaps we’re now seeing.
In several interviews, the financial strategist has signaled we are headed to a much more chaotic reality if political, economic, and social divisions aren’t promptly addressed. “I cannot overstate the importance of class struggles relative to individual struggles. We, especially those in the United States, which is a “melting pot,” tend to think more of individual struggles and not give adequate attention to class struggles. I didn’t fully realize its importance until I did my extensive study of history,” he said. Dalio revealed he studied the last 500 years of history and cycles, and in an interview for CNN’s Poppy Harlow, he maintained that “large wealth gaps with large values gaps at the same time that there’s a lot of debt and there’s an economic downturn produces conflict and vulnerability.”
He warned that in a situation where people don’t have enough opportunities, governments are not only failing to tap all the potential that exists, which is uneconomic, but threatening the existence of the system. “I think that’s coming to home very clearly with the downturn in the economy with this virus,” he outlined. In an interview with Khan Academy founder Sal Khan last year, Dalio stated that the American dream “does not exist” right now, and that could lead to the collapse of capitalism. He stressed that income inequality is a “national emergency.”
Dalio’s gloomy assessment comes as a reflection of the enormous challenges the U.S. is facing now that we’re several months in a virus-induced economic crisis, and the unprecedented response to it has largely expanded income inequality and government debt. Additionally, the billionaire is also worried about deep political divides, as we just witnessed the wildest election and several disputes between supporters of both parties.
Even though the billionaire considers unemployment and the lack of productivity as the main threats that could cause more civil disorder, he also called out political polarization as a driving force, saying that the recent migration of white-collar executives from major cities, including San Francisco and New York, was a form of social dispute.
Dalio likened this exodus to a civil strife of sorts. “We’re seeing a form of civil [conflict]: people are leaving to go from one place to another, partially for taxes, but also partially for other reasons,” he described. “The worst alternative is that one side or another says, ‘This isn’t my country anymore. This isn’t my population’.” Dalio added that “when the cause that people are behind is more important than the means of resolving their disagreements, that’s a threatening situation”. Moreover, in an essay published on LinkedIn, cautioning about the growing disorder in multiple countries, Dalio revealed that “people and politicians are now at each other’s throats to a degree greater than at any time in [his] 71 years,” and underscored that “how the U.S. handles its disorder will have profound implications for Americans, others around the world, and most economies and markets.”
Low employment and productivity, fewer opportunities, income divides, and under-investment in education all combined will cause irreversible damages to our country’s future. But not only that. The growing dissatisfaction that has been expanding across the nation and taken into the streets will likely continue in a much more aggressive note. According to Dalio, if the policies that have been enabling this meltdown to happen aren’t fixed soon enough, we’ll be headed to a terrible societal collapse that could abruptly reshape the U.S. economic and financial systems, while chaos takes over and disrupts the lives of millions of Americans.
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