Many of the things now happening the world—like the creating a lot of debt and money, big wealth and political gaps, and the rise of new world power (China) challenging an existing one (the US)—haven’t happened in our lifetimes but have happened many times in history for the same reasons they’re happening today. I’m especially interested in discussing this with you so that we can explore the patterns of history and the perspective they can give us on our current situation.

If you’re interested in learning more you can read my series “The Changing World Order” on or LinkedIn. If you want some more background on the different things I think and write about, I’ve made two 30-minute animated videos: "How the Economic Machine Works," which features my economic principles, and "Principles for Success,” which outlines my Life and Work Principles.


EDIT: Thanks for the great questions. I value the exchanges if you do. Please feel free to continue these questions on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. I'll plan to answer some of the questions I didn't get to today in the coming days on my social media.

Comments: 2280 • Responses: 14  • Date: 

ClickBaitShop885 karma

Hi Ray, Big fan of your series “The Changing World Order” on LinkedIn and how it explores the current “big cycle” trends related to the decline of the US and the rise of China. As I read through the series, I can’t help but wonder, “What should I do with this information?” What actions can the average person in the US take to mitigate the potential negative impact of the changing world order on the country and on their own life?

RayTDalio1273 karma

Save and put your savings in to a well-diversified mix of currencies, countries, and asset classes so that your savings will not depreciate in value and will be enough to help cushion the bumps. Think broadly rather than narrowly about the environments that you might be in so that they are safe, satisfying, and economical. Pay attention to the patterns in history and how they compare with what is going on as a way of thinking about the possibilities. Do these things without being stressed. I recommend that you meditate.

pmb585165 karma

Hi Ray,

Thank you for doing this AMA. I've been following you for maybe the last year as my interest in investing has grown. Your focus right now is clearly on the rise of China and your comparison charts paint a gloomy picture for the U.S., in particular the switching of the reserve currency.

My question is, do you think that it is too late for the U.S to course correct and maintain its status or is China pretty much guaranteed to takeover at this point? If not, what needs to happen in the U.S to prevent the switch from happening?

All the best

RayTDalio198 karma

Because of what we have done in the past, we have circumstances that we now face, which are much more challenging than if we did things differently. The biggest question is how we behave ourselves as individuals and with each other to deal with these challenges. The capacity of humans to adapt and deal with problems is enormous if they approach their challenges in a united way—and smartly. I worry that we are our own worst enemies and/or that we collectively aren't willing to make the revolutionary changes that are needed to be on the best path for dealing with our circumstances. However, it is certainly possible that we can get on that path.

sven_johnson162 karma

As in your 6 stages of a major country evolving, do you think, that the USA is able to reverse from Stage 5 to 4? Or is a natural flow from 5 towards 6 inevitable. Thanks you very much -Sven

RayTDalio461 karma

The natural flow from 5 to 6 is likely—which means that revolutionary changes are likely. Those revolutionary changes can conceivably produce improvements if we can smartly pull together to do the right things to make us healthier. However, I fear that we are not on that track and worry about the picture, particularly in the period of 5-10 years from now. I think that between now and the mid-term elections in 2022, and between then and the next presidential election in 2024, we will face critical choices both domestically and internationally that will define the likelihood of having an internal and/or external existential conflict.

minicoop500106 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA Ray; love the book and the animated videos were especially helpful in clarifying my understanding of the markets and how debt in fact improves productivity if managed correctly.

My question for you: If there was one thing you would tell your 21-year-old self (other than your life and work principles of course), what would it be? As well, what do you feel the U.S. needs to do to outpace China's growing economy/GDP? Maintain sufficient productivity growth? Keep more jobs in the US?

RayTDalio340 karma

Everything important that I would tell my 21 year old self I've said in my books and in Principles for Success. However, in a nutshell, some of the most important things are about finding the right fit for you by learning about yourself and experimenting. Realize that you don't know anything about the second phase of your life, which you are about to enter. It is completely different from the first phase, so be very open-minded to learning and don't be arrogant. Get mentors who are successfully further along in their journey to help give you good advice. Know that knowing how to deal with what you don't know is more important than anything you do know. Value mistakes as learning experiences. Realize that everyone has weaknesses, find yours, and learn how to work with others to get around them. Think about what you're optimizing for. Enjoy the adventure!

bertmack710100 karma

Good afternoon Ray,

With the fed buying corporate debt, money being pumped into markets, and economic cost of lockdowns, do you believe current equity prices are “a house of cards” with higher inflation coming and what would you advise to hedge? All the best.

RayTDalio156 karma

I believe that with the enormous amount of debt and money that has been created and will be created in the future, the most important thing to pay attention to is the value of debt and money relative to the value of assets and other currencies. I described in my book "Principles for Navigating Big Debt Crises" which you can get free here, the monetary policy that is going on now, which I call monetary policy 3 (MP3) and which is the central government borrowing a lot of money that the central bank prints to direct it to where they believe it needs to go. I know that this is necessary now and at the same time know that not enough attention is being paid to whether this debt and money is going into things that will produce broad-based productivity gains. As for stocks, they compete with bonds. With bond interest rates where they are, bonds are trading at roughly 75x earnings. With the amount of money out there, and cash being such a bad alternative, there's no good reason that stocks couldn't trade at 50x earnings. You get the idea. Just like you never might have expected bond yields to be at or slightly above 0% (unless you studied history), you might not be comfortable with these kinds of multiples for stocks. However, all investments compete with each other and where would you prefer. I would recommend smart diversification in terms of a) asset classes, b) currencies, and c) countries.

driftinj96 karma

Do you still adhere to the open and transparent communication of criticism as described by Adam Grant? What was the most awkward situation this has led to?

RayTDalio180 karma

Absolutely! The big issue about radical truthfulness and transparency is to be able to do it within a community of trustworthy people rather than with people outside that community who will use it in distorted ways to inflict harm.

Radical truthfulness and radical transparency is meant to build understanding and to thrash things out to get at the right answers, and to build a community that is based on this. Without it, Bridgewater and I could not have succeeded and I believe that radical truth and radical transparency in pursuit of excellent work and excellent relationships is the magic potion to success. I also know that we are now in an especially vicious world in which distortions, (often by the media) rather than truth and understanding, can result—so one has to keep that in mind.

NassimTalebisCoolLeb72 karma

Hey Ray,

thanks for doing this.

I think it's clear that the inequality in this country has gotten too rampant and we have lost our ways as a capitalist nation. I believe you recognize that central Bank stimulus has played a big role in this. Is Bitcoin a potential answer to this issue that the global new world fiat monetary system has caused?

Also as a big Nassim Taleb fan I have to ask do you deadlift?

RayTDalio157 karma

I think that bitcoin (and some other digital currencies) have over the last ten years established themselves as interesting gold-like asset alternatives, with similarities and differences to gold and other limited-supply, mobile (unlike real estate) storeholds of wealth. So it could serve as a diversifier to gold and other such storehold of wealth assets. The main thing is to have some of these type of assets (with limited supply, that are mobile, and that are storeholds of wealth), including stocks, in one's portfolio and to diversify among them. Not enough people do that. As far bitcoin relative to gold, I have a strong preference for holding those things which central banks are going to want to hold and exchange value in when they are trying to transact.

lostdirectionless64 karma

Thank you for taking the time out for this, Ray. My question largely revolves around workplace culture and future of jobs in our society because of your previous work on productivity and growth.

There is a huge gap in the working hours between slow growing western nations (~35 hrs/week in Europe, ~42 hrs/week in USA) and the fast growing developing world, mostly Asia, where the working hours even in the likes of advanced countries like Korea and Japan regularly touch the 10+ hours a day mark in offices. Ever since '08, most of the western world has witnessed a huge fall in labour productivity levels and in some cases like the UK and Italy, it has only gone sideways.

Considering the renewed focus on remote working, work-life balance and the newly discussed idea about 4 day work weeks, will the Asian workplace culture converge towards their western counterparts or will the West lose out much more in the long run considering that 2/3rds of the world GDP will be concentrated in Asia in the not so distant future?

RayTDalio122 karma

Of course how hard one works is an important consideration in determining one's productivity and big differences in that have big implications for competitiveness. However, what is most important is inventiveness—the capacity to get much more out of an hour's work. People often ask me how to make choices between work and life to get the right balance and I explain that the most important thing is to know how to get the most out of an hour so that one minimizes the tradeoff and gets as much out of life is as possible.

My fear, which is turning into a reality, is those countries that are working the hardest are also increasingly finding ways to work the smartest, which is hurting the competitiveness of those who are working less hours and less efficiently. I do believe that those parts of the world will do better for those reasons as well as because their finances are in better shape and they are socially and politically operating more harmoniously. This is apparent in almost every day. For example, look at the differences in COVID death rates. It doesn't need to be this way, but it is. It is up to us collectively to make the changes. if we don't want these outcomes.

montanalerta43 karma

What are the biggest things people who ignore China are missing?

RayTDalio187 karma

That it is a very civilized society that is doing extraordinarily well and is not consistent with the stereotypes that one might believe are true. It is by no means perfect (nor is any other country) and should be open-mindedly assessed based on evidence, rather than emotionally reacted against based on derogatory characterizations.

applehazelnut40 karma

I think there is a very high probability that China will become the leading world power in the 21st century. So it would be wise to help China become the best country that it can be for the world’s sake.

You talked about how the best way to run an organization is to run it as an idea meritocracy. But dissent is a necessary component of running an idea meritocracy is it not? And China does not really tolerate any dissent whatsoever. How do you convince Chinese leadership to accept that they need to allow constructive dissent from believable people in order to make China the best country that it can be?

RayTDalio78 karma

It's not my role to tell any government leader what is best for them. In fact, the Chinese leadership is extremely knowledgeable in the lessons of its history and how things work. What I would convey to you and my fellow Americans is that they have a lot of internal disagreement and processes for dealing with it well within the government, so it does exist. Whether or not it is more productive to have the entire population in those discussions is a matter of opinion.

Anyway, we are now in a time when the relative results that we get will be heavily dependent on which of these systems is more effective, so we will find out. I think that we could learn a lot from each other. The main thing I hope for is that we do well within our system to be strong and that we don't go to war.

YuriSinclair30 karma

Any advice with cattle futures?

RayTDalio78 karma

You're touching a soft spot in my memory bank. I'm now too ignorant to tell you about things like cattle on feed reports, weight gains, and packer margins, let alone new stuff like how near-beef will compete with beef. It reminds me about how many interesting things there are to study the mechanics of and bet on.

usernumber1onreddit28 karma

Can you provide a 30,000ft perspective on the financial markets are and where they'll go? What's a good way to think about it? Are we in a bubble that won't pop? Is no interest rate the new normal for the decades ahead? Are governments just going to be ruthless deficit spenders forever? Well, I shouldn't ask too many details, because I am looking for just a high-level overview.

Also: thanks so much for doing this.

RayTDalio149 karma

We are in a flood of money and credit that is lifting most asset prices and distributing wealth in a way that the system that we've come to believe is normal is unable to, and that is threatening to the value of our money and credit. Most likely that flood will not recede, so those assets will not decline when measured in the depreciating value of money. It is important to diversify well in terms of currencies and countries, as well as asset classes. Internally, this is taking place in a politically and socially threatening environment, which will affect taxes, spending, and how we are with each other. Externally, there will be greater competition, particularly by China. If done well, the competition will bring us better alternatives, and if done poorly, will bring us a terrible conflict. I want excellent diversification at this time.

funnnyguyh17 karma

- Firstly, do you think the added stress socially and economically from the pandemic has moved the USA from stage 5 to an early stage 6?

- If yes to the above, do you see the increase in the black lives matter movement in 2020 as a revolution that could help the US transform certain policies and social injustices to potentially avoid a civil war based on race?

- If no to question 1, what types of social and financial changes would you believe is necessary to avoid a civil war that is ultimately unavoidable at some future point?

RayTDalio57 karma

I think there must be, and can be, investments in the basics of education, health care, and opportunity that are good investments that could be measured in terms of both having a fair system and having a productive system. For example, areas that I am supporting philanthropically are microfinance that puts small amounts of capital into the hands of disadvantaged people who convert that into better lives for themselves, productivity such as getting high school students in deprived neighborhoods through high school and into jobs, and supporting the creation of a health justice center at New York's Presbyterian Hospital for the purpose of reducing the extra health handicaps that those who are disadvantaged face. My family and I can only have a tiny impact relative to the need and I regularly ask myself why our government cannot establish a floor in conditions beneath which we will not allow people, especially children, to fall. Besides being unfair, we pay a terrible economic price when people become liabilities rather than assets to society. For example, we find that the cost of getting a high school student through high school and into a job is less than the cost of not doing that.

JohnInWI4 karma

I wanted to know if it was real about the TisBest philanthropy gift you gave out the other day to our group? If it was, I'm very grateful and will indeed try to continue paying it forward. I didn't write it down, but wasn't it something like $100 for the first 10,000 to sign up? T/Y and God Bless!

RayTDalio14 karma

The best types of gifts that I’ve come up with are gift cards that—like Amazon gift cards—allow people to pick whichever charities they want.  About 10 years ago, I used to send them blank checks that they could specify the charity they wanted and over the years worked with a couple of organizations to make this possible so it’s as easy as getting an Amazon gift card.  It’s great because this easy way to shop avoids wasteful gifting and directs money to those who need the most.  Recipients tell me who they’ve chosen as their charity and why, and I request these gifts rather than material gifts. It  brings us closer and is much more in keeping with the holiday spirit. I’d like this to go viral, so I gave 10,000 people $100 charitable gift cards so they could experience that. 

In 2 hours they were gone. Seeing this, a number of big donors—Reed Hastings, Kevin Systrom, Gayle King, Jay Shetty, Paul Tudor Jones , Dr. Oz, David McCormick, Dina Powell-McCormick, etc.—have joined me in giving these away, which you can find here. Join in! 

You can either:

  1. Be a recipient of these charitable gift cards,
  2. Join me and the others in donating to provide them to others (the donations can be as small as you like), or
  3. Get and give the charitable gift cards directly by going to TisBest

If we can turn a lot of people on to this it will have a huge beneficial effect. Consider that the amount of money that is spent to gifting just candy over the holidays is greater than the annual budgets of the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and Habitat for Humanity combined. Think about gifting charitable gift cards or requesting them for your gifts.