A Chinese state media outlet on Wednesday touted Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio's endorsement of Beijing's "common prosperity" program, a central planning initiative designed to foster economic, political, and social equity.
China Xinhua News boasted Dalio's claim that "countries such as the U.S. could benefit from a similar approach" to common prosperity, which the financier has called "a good thing." The network cited a Wall Street Journal report on Dalio's support for the plan.
Dalio has urged business players in the U.S. not to overreact to China's increasingly heavy handed approach to economic regulation, insisting that Chinese leaders are not "showing their true anticapitalist stripes" and are instead simply working to make things more equitable in the country. He has stated the importance of maintaining a market presence in the nation.
"Common prosperity is a good thing," Dalio said at UBS Group AG's Greater China Conference on Monday. "It's another way of saying prosperity for most people."
From the vantage point of many U.S. lawmakers, Beijing is using the mantle of common prosperity as an excuse to tighten its authoritarian grip on industry and the population. China has made radical economic and social interventions since, busting sectors such as e-commerce, technology, video games, and after-school tutoring for regulatory noncompliance.
Beijing has also begun to crack down more aggressively on prominent citizens who criticize the regime. Chinese billionaire Jack Ma disappeared from the public eye for months after criticizing the regime only to return to the spotlight by praising the communist party. More recently, a female tennis star who accused a CCP official of sexual assault vanished for weeks before assuring the public that she was not being held against her will in what many observers believe was a coerced hostage video.
At a meeting of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee for Financial and Economic Affairs on August 17, President Xi Jinping advocated for "common prosperity" as a means to create a more balanced and stable country in line with socialist principles. The committee subsequently proposed "reasonably adjusting excess incomes" and implored wealthy people and businesses to "give back more to society."
Dalio said his opinion on the matter was "pretty much aligned" with Chinese leaders and that he was in favor of a gradual, mixed strategy of advancing social progress while keeping elements of entrepreneurship and innovation. Dalio's firm has many investments in China despite the regime's egregious record of human rights abuses.
"As Deng Xiaoping and others understood, it's a cycle," he said. "First you get rich, and then you make a point of distributing those opportunities in a more equal way."
"A lot of people don't know the true thinking, even though there have been attempts to describe it, and tend to make the mistake of thinking that this is like a return to communism under Mao, rather than understanding it's just part of the evolutionary process," he said.
After the communist Cultural Revolution ravaged China, Deng Xiaoping introduced market reforms to spur faster economic development. While the old system never entirely disappeared, Xiaoping's policies made China more conducive to capitalism. However, as the economy grew over the course of many decades, so too did the inequality gap, which now serves as the impetus for common prosperity.
The U.S. "needs more common prosperity, a lot of countries do," Dalio said at the conference, highlighting the growing income inequality gap in America.
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