Ray Dalio, the billionaire founder of hedge-fund giant Bridgewater Associates, has been hammering away at the system he blames for driving the vast economic divide in the United States in recent years.
In a LinkedIn post last week, Dalio said capitalism is evolving in such a way that’s not working for the majority of Americans. He contends that it’s “creating widening income/wealth/opportunity gaps that pose existential threats” and could ultimately lead to damaging domestic and international conflicts.
On CNBC, where the flag of capitalism flies high, host Joe Kernen took issue with Dalio’s approach to fixing the problem.
“Your fixes are not to capitalism,” Kernen said. “Your fixes are to things like tax policy or to things like improving public education.”
The argument continued for several minutes as Kernen riled up Dalio by pushing the idea that capitalism itself isn’t what’s widening the gap; rather it’s several factors at play, including fiscal and monetary policy.
Capitalism, Dalio countered, doesn’t need to be destroyed but it does need to be reformed. “I’m capitalist, I’m a professional capitalist. The system has worked for me,” he said. “I didn’t have anything and then I got something through the capitalist system.”
But is there “equal opportunity for the American dream?” Dalio says too many people, especially the bottom 60%, aren’t getting the same chances.
“I look at myself as a byproduct of capitalism when it also gave equal opportunity, the American dream. I was very lucky to live the American dream by having the proper care and the proper public school education,” he said. “A number of things have changed.”
Bottom line, Dalio said, is that capitalism “is producing a terrible split in our country.”
Watch the full exchange: