Ray Dalio Lacks Principles in His Kowtowing to Chinese Communism

Ray Dalio has authored a book called Principles, but that does not imply that he has any. See the story below.

(p. B1) This year has been unsettling for Chinese business. The ruling Communist Party has gone after the private sector industry by industry. The stock markets have taken a huge hit. The country’s biggest property developer is on the verge of collapse.

But for some of the biggest names on Wall Street, China’s economic prospects look rosier than ever.

BlackRock, the world’s biggest asset manager, urged investors to increase their exposure to China by as much as three times.

“Is China investable?” asked J.P. Morgan, before answering, “We think so.” Goldman Sachs says “yes,” too.

Their bullishness in the face of growing uncertainty has puzzled China experts and drawn criticism from a wide political spectrum, from George Soros, the progressive investor, to congressional Republicans. Mr. Soros has called BlackRock’s stance a “tragic mistake” that’s “likely to lose money” for its clients and would “damage the national security interests of the U.S. and other democracies.”

. . .

(p. B5) Ray Dalio, founder of the hedge fund Bridgewater, wrote in late July [2021] that people in the West should not interpret Beijing’s crackdowns as “the Communist Party leaders showing their true anticapitalist stripes.” Instead, he wrote, the party believed those moves were “better for the country even if the shareholders don’t like it.”

The relationship has been good to Bridgewater so far. Mr. Dalio’s firm has raised billions of dollars from Chinese clients such as the China Investment Corporation, the sovereign wealth fund, and State Administration of Foreign Exchange, which manages the country’s currency reserves. (Bridgewater declined to comment.)

This is a balance that business has played with China for a long time: Say nice things to Beijing, lobby back home on China’s behalf, then ask for access to markets and capital.

Goldman Sachs became the first foreign bank to seek full ownership of a securities business in China in December. BlackRock, which describes China as an “undiscovered” market, hired a former regulator to head its China business. So many global financial firms are expanding in the country that there’s a talent war.

. . .

The Wall Street firms are apparently betting that China’s past successes will continue. They have a long track record on their side, but they would do well to remember what they constantly tell their customers: Past performance isn’t necessarily indicative of future results.

For the full commentary, see:

Li Yuan. “Uncertainty Is Rocking China. Why Is Wall Street Bullish?” The New York Times (Saturday, October 7, 2021): B1 & B5.

(Note: ellipses, and bracketed year, added.)

(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date Oct. 6, 2021, and has the title “China is Rocked by Uncertainty. Why is Wall Street Bullish?”)

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