“People and politicians are now at each other’s throats to a degree greater than at any time in my 71 years,” Dalio wrote noting that disorder is rising in a number of countries. “How the U.S. handles its disorder will have profound implications for Americans, others around the world, and most economies and markets.”
“It is in this stage when there are bad financial conditions and intensifying conflict,” wrote Dalio. “Classically this stage comes after periods of great excesses in spending and debt and the widening of wealth and political gaps and before there are revolutions and civil wars. United States is at a tipping point in which it could go from manageable internal tension to revolution and/or civil war.”
The founder of Bridgewater urged his readers to think about class issues that can become inflamed during stressful periods, as the struggle over wealth and power tends to be the “biggest thing affecting most people in most countries through time”, Bloomberg recapped.
“One timeless and universal truth that I saw went back as far as I studied history, since before Confucius around 500 BC, is that those societies that draw on the widest range of people and give them responsibilities based on their merits rather than privileges are the most sustainably successful because they find the best talent to do their jobs well, they have diversity of perspectives, and they are perceived as the most fair, which fosters social stability,” Dalio wrote.
We doubt that the pervasive cancel cultures that permeates US society today, or the ubiquitous central planning by the Federal Reserve coupled with manipulated central markets to promote a socialist agenda and to allocated capital and talent as the government sees fit, in the process bypassing capitalism, will allow US society to every again claim to be fair or merit-based.
Below are some of the key quotes from Dalio’s essay:
- “How people are with each other is the primary driver of the outcomes they get.”
- “The United States is at a tipping point in which it could go from manageable internal tension to revolution and/or civil war.”
- “To be clear, I am not saying that the United States or other countries are inevitably headed that way; however, I am saying that now is an especially important time to know and watch the markers in order to understand the full range of possibilities for the period ahead.”
- “The lessons and warnings of history are clear if one looks for them, most people don’t look for them because most people learn from their experiences and a single lifetime is too short to give them those lessons and warnings that they need.”
- “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.”
- “While I love that the United States is the country where these class distinctions matter least, people’s classes still matter in the U.S. and they matter a lot more during stressful times when class conflicts intensify.”
- “When wars—civil or external—happen you will have to decide whether you want to be in them or get out of them. When in doubt get out. You can always get back in, but you might not be able to get out.”
- “You individually, and those who are leading, need to have a realistic understanding of the circumstances you are in, the range of possibilities that exist given these circumstances, and how to make decisions to produce the best possible outcomes given these circumstances.”
- “You also need to be very adaptable in order to do the things you might need to do that are outside your current range of possibilities.”
- “You can have a better future if you put deferred gratification ahead of immediate gratification”
His full essay “The Archetypical Cycle of Internal Order and Disorder“, can be found here.