The economic ideas of the world’s most successful hedge-fund boss
Mar 10th 2012 | WESTPORT, CONNECTICUT | from the print edition
And my returns look like this
“THE most beautiful deleveraging yet seen” is how Ray Dalio describes what is now going on in America’s economy. As America has gone through the necessary process of reducing its debt-to-income ratio since the financial crash of 2008, he reckons its policymakers have done well in mixing painful stuff like debt restructuring with injections of cash to keep demand growing. Europe’s deleveraging, by contrast, is “ugly”.
Mr Dalio’s views are taken seriously. He made a fortune betting before the crash that the world had taken on too much debt and would need to slash it. Last year alone, his Bridgewater Pure Alpha fund earned its investors $13.8 billion, taking its total gains since it opened in 1975 to $35.8 billion, more than any other hedge fund ever, including the previous record-holder, George Soros’s Quantum Endowment Fund.
Mr Dalio, an intense 62-year-old, is following in the footsteps of Mr Soros in other ways, too. Mr Soros has published several books on his theories, and is funding an institute to get mainstream economists to take alternative ideas seriously. Mr Dalio, too, is now trying to improve the public understanding of how the economy works. His economic model “is not very orthodox but gives him a pretty good sense of where the economy is,” says Paul Volcker, a former chairman of America’s Federal Reserve and one of Mr Dalio’s growing number of influential fans.