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Founder Of World's Largest Hedge Fund Says The Long-Term Economic Outlook Is Scary

Charging Bull statue in Manhattan's Financial District

Bridgewater Associates chief investment officer Ray Dalio issued a warning that while Wall Street investors are sitting pretty today, the long-term picture is not as rosy.

The founder of the world’s largest hedge fund said the economy is at or near its best, with no major risks on the horizon for the next year or two — but that when the downturn comes, it will produce much greater social and political conflict.

Dalio noted we have a lot of debt and non-debt obligations, like pensions, healthcare entitlements and Social Security on the horizon and the weight of them will not cause a sudden snap but a gradual squeeze. Central banks will not have any of their usual tools to rectify the economy because they cannot lower interest rates much more, and quantitative easing would be less effective than normal. Dalio also cited the “exceptional political uncertainty as the new administration’s policies continue to take shape.” 

The hedge fund mogul said social and political tensions will worsen as the economy weakens. 

“We can’t help but worry what the social and political fragmentation will be like in the next downturn, which, by the way, we see no reason to happen over the next year or two,” Dalio said.