A few months ago we highlighted a report published by Ray Dalio detailing his thoughts on the new 'populist' president entitled "Populism: The Phenomenon." In reviewing the history behind historical populist movements from around the world, Dalio raised some concerns about what he viewed as a conflict-prone new administration and warned that populism is "more likely than not to become extremism." Now, in his latest Linkedin blog post, Dalio once again expresses his concern about "Donald Trump moving toward conflict rather than cooperation", a movement that he suggests is highlighted by the White House's recent decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord. It seems to me people who are trying to figure out whether or not to support him are faced with three big questions:
1) what exactly is the part he’s trying to optimize for (American manufacturing workers) and at the expense of whom,
2) am I more aligned with that part he is trying to protect (American manufacturing workers) or more aligned with those who will lose out (immigrants, those who will lose benefits from his budget changes), and
3) will his path of conflict rather than cooperation be effective or harmful? Sometimes conflict produces better results and sometimes it produces worse results for the people who are pursuing it to get what they want.
For example, if Donald Trump were optimizing for his own well-being through conflict, it's entirely possible that he would undermine his own well-being because the retaliation could be more damaging to him than the cooperation.
The more I see Donald Trump moving toward conflict rather than cooperation, the more I worry about him harming his presidency and its effects on most of us.
Of course, any decision aimed at protecting a nation's sovereignty rather than blindly surrendering that sovereignty to the inevitable progression of globalism is just another sign of a deranged dictator looking to provoke international conflict, at least in the mind of Ray Dalio.
And, just in case it wasn't obvious, Dalio would like for you to know that his "personal bias" is exactly the opposite of Trump's as he would prefer to "optimize for the whole through cooperation in order to make the pie bigger, and then cooperatively and competitively divide up the pie."
I have to confess a personal bias that is opposite his, I'm inclined to optimize for the whole through cooperation in order to make the pie bigger, and then cooperatively and competitively divide up the pie. I believe that we are connected to our whole ecology, our whole world community, and our whole United States, such that it pays to be in symbiotic relationships with them. So, I'm concerned about his path. I am especially concerned about the consequences of his pursuing so much conflict. At the same time, I see some encouraging moves on his part (to pursue public-private partnerships to rebuild infrastructure).
Which, of course, makes a whole lot of sense if you're in a position to perpetually take a disproportionate share of the pie.
*) Dalio's full post....