Stocktake: Dalio shrugs off human rights concerns in China

Surprising that billionaire investor is indulging in absurd moral equivalence

Ray Dalio. Photograph: Bank via Getty

Ray Dalio. Photograph: Bank via Getty

 

Billionaire investor and long-term China bull Ray Dalio isn’t losing sleep over China’s human rights problems. “I don’t really understand, and I don’t study the human rights issues,” Dalio told the Wall Street Journal last week. “I follow what the laws are on those particular things.” The US has human rights issues, too, he said. “Would I not invest in the United States because of those?”

It’s surprising someone as smart as Dalio would indulge in such an absurd exercise in moral equivalence. Both the Biden and Trump administrations have accused China of genocide in its treatment of the Uighur people in Xinjiang. Systematic rape and forced sterilisation of women, torture, indoctrination of children in orphanages, forced labour in internment camps – reports from the BBC and other credible sources have documented human rights abuses on a grand scale.

Dalio – founder of Bridgewater, the world’s biggest hedge fund and one that is pushing into ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance) investing – is renowned as a deep thinker who preaches the virtues of “radical truth and radical transparency”. His book, Principles, recommends people “embrace reality and deal with it”. It says “truth, an accurate understanding of reality, is the essential foundation for any good outcome”. Another aphorism is: “Don’t confuse what you wish were true with what is really true.”

This is good advice. Dalio should heed it.

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