Does Ray Dalio’s View Of World Power Cycles Omit The Unique Circumstances Of Our Time And Our Special US Skills?

By Donald A. Collins | 18 March 2022
Church and State

(Credit: YouTube / screengrab)

This qualified financial investor has written a highly useful book, Changing World Order: The New Paradigm which gives us a review of the history about the rise and fall of empires that deserves a reading, whose well-reasoned arguments you can listen to here.

Essentially, he argues the inevitability of the rise and fall of every empire in history. I recommend you read or listen to his video presentation which you can retrieve here.

Excerpts from the above:

A few years ago, Ray Dalio noticed a confluence of political and economic conditions he hadn’t encountered before. They included huge debts and zero or near-zero interest rates that led to massive printing of money in the world’s three major reserve currencies; big political and social conflicts within countries, especially the US, due to the largest wealth, political, and values disparities in more than 100 years; and the rising of a world power (China) to challenge the existing world power (US) and the existing world order. The last time that this confluence occurred was between 1930 and 1945. This realization sent Dalio on a search for the repeating patterns and cause/effect relationships underlying all major changes in wealth and power over the last 500 years.

In this remarkable and timely addition to his Principles series, Dalio brings readers along for his study of the major empires—including the Dutch, the British, and the American—putting into perspective the “Big Cycle” that has driven the successes and failures of all the world’s major countries throughout history. He reveals the timeless and universal forces behind these shifts and uses them to look into the future, offering practical principles for positioning oneself for what’s ahead.

You can listen here to his book’s main thesis.

To me his case for the certainty of every empire’s decline lacks recognition of the uniqueness of our present world’s situation.

First, never in the cycles of historical power changing has the threat of a worldwide nuclear war given all nations pause to see what could end habitability of human life on earth.

Second, the subject of climate change which must force reduced use of fossil fuel brings a need for greater international cooperation than ever before.

Third, the world’s democracies shining a light on Putin’s war in Ukraine makes the perfect case for how obsolete traditional warfare has become.

Forth, the rise of prior empires featured their essentially authoritarian governance. Now, the claim that such governance is better than the uniqueness of our constitutional democracy remains to be seen.

In short, will Americans vote in the upcoming midterms to embrace the lying false freedom of Trump’s GOP, or the attempts of Biden to enact laws that reduce the dangerous gap in the rich and poor.

Dalio’s theory correctly emphasizes that historic wealth gaps have been as highly instructional in forcing descent and the collapse of empires as the rich try to get their wealth to safety in other countries.

My question: Where else would flight capital find a better place for safe assets than in democracies? Certainly not China which Dalio suggests will be the new cyclical rising empire.

In fact the preference for freedom expressed by some of our dim bulb citizens by not getting vaccinated or wearing face masks seems insane, but should not be dismissed since Dalio’s book cites the strong historical evidence of the disaster of not balancing such disparities.

We have invested heavily in education and our rich citizens continue to do so. My alma mater Yale has increased its endowment fund to over $30 billion from less than $1 billion when I graduated in 1953. Why then is Yale out of reach for so many?

Innovation such as occurred in technology in Silicon Valley has been widely and frequently stolen by China and others, but our firms see benefits from cooperation on advances, since no censorship allows democratic nations to transfer information.

Finally, there is the immigration issue which, in America, has sought a legal balance for 50 years, and will likely be a prime attack issue in this Fall’s midterm elections.

Further calls for no freedom will come from the lying so-called freedom-loving GOP if Trump’s ideologically packed Supreme Court decides to kill Roe, dismissing the wisdom of Stare decisis after 49 years.

I thank Dalio for his insightful historical analysis, regret his major failure to acknowledge human overuse of the limited resources of our fragile planet which many experts such as Sir David Attenborough say can’t continue without terrible effects on human habitability!

Dalio’s main point is totally valid: That major changes are upon us. As always, its challenges are unique, but now more unique as never before in human history.

Former US Navy officer, banker and venture capitalist, Donald A. Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, DC, has spent over 50 years working for women’s reproductive health as a board member and/or officer of numerous family planning organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Guttmacher Institute, Family Health International and Ipas. Yale under graduate, NYU MBA. He is the author of “From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013”, “Trump Becoming Macbeth: Will our democracy survive?”, “We Humans Overwhelm Our Earth: 11 or 2 Billion by 2100?”, “What Can Be Done Now to Save Habitable Life on Planet Earth?: Leaders Commit to Reduce Human Population” and “Vote”.

Principles for Dealing with the Changing World Order by Ray Dalio

Ray Dalio on How He’s Seeing the World Right Now

UN Climate Change Will Soon Overwhelm Nature & Humanity If Nothing Changes

Sir David Attenborough on overpopulation

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