Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio is downplaying comments he made during a recent CNBC interview that seemed to dismiss the alleged human rights abuses in China.
China as a “strict parent”: The billionaire hedge fund manager drew online backlash last Tuesday after responding to a question about his China investments on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” last week, reported Bloomberg.
“What they have is an autocratic system and one of the leaders described it that the U.S. is a country of individuals and individualism…in China it is an extension of the family,” says @RayDalio. “As a top down country what they are doing is–they behave like a strict parent.” pic.twitter.com/MNZKMdtPy2
— Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) November 30, 2021
- “I look to whatever the rules are. If the government has a policy that I should do a certain thing and so on, but I can’t be an expert in all of those particular dynamics,” Dalio told host Andrew Ross Sorkin. “As a top-down country what they are doing is … they behave like a strict parent.”
- He then went on to compare it to investing in the U.S.: “Well, what’s going on in the United States? And should I not invest in the United States because of our own human-rights issues, or other things?”
- In an op-ed, members of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board called out Dalio for his “tone-deaf” comments that allegedly reflect “why so many Americans dislike Wall Street.”
“If @RayDalio can’t make a principled distinction between the governments of China and the U.S., he has a moral blind spot and he isn’t worth listening to as a business sage.” https://t.co/qZ5rlahuEP by the Editorial Board @WSJopinion
— Josh Rogin (@joshrogin) December 3, 2021
- In a tweet, Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said Dalio exhibited a moral lapse in his “feigned ignorance of China’s horrific abuses and rationalization of complicit investments.”
Ray Dalio is brilliant and a friend, but his feigned ignorance of China’s horrific abuses and rationalization of complicit investments there is a sad moral lapse. Tragically, it is shared by far too many here and throughout the free world.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) December 2, 2021
Ray Dalio says the CCP is just a “strict parent” and he’s happy to follow whatever rules Beijing sets so long as he can make more money.
— Ben Hunt (@EpsilonTheory) December 1, 2021
Women’s Tennis has balls. Does Ray Dalio? https://t.co/CAHS64JEfV
— Bari Weiss (@bariweiss) December 2, 2021
A clarification: In response to the mounting negative reactions, the 72-year-old investor wrote a series of tweets on Sunday in an attempt to rectify his interview responses, which he claims have “created a misunderstanding.”
Now that things have calmed down I want to clarify what I meant when I sloppily answered a question about China from Andrew Ross Sorkin that created a misunderstanding of my views. (1/6)
— Ray Dalio (@RayDalio) December 5, 2021
- “I assure you that I didn’t mean to convey that human rights aren’t important because I certainly believe they are,“ Dalio wrote. “And I didn’t mean to convey that the US and China deal with these issues similarly because they certainly don’t.”
- According to Dalio, he was merely explaining “how Confucianism is based on the family and that extends into their governance, which is a more autocratic approach that is like a strict parent. I was not expressing my own opinion or endorsing that approach.”
- He further wrote that his answer caused confusion for failing to differentiate between “understanding and agreeing.”
Bridgewater has made notable investments in China, including the $1.25 billion it raised for its investment fund in the country in the last quarter alone, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Featured Image via Bridgewater Associates