Top Billionaire Hedge Funder Sees Himself As a Hyena Devouring Wildebeests
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Ray Dalio is a billionaire hedge fund manager who makes more money in a single day than most Americans will earn in their entire lifetimes. That’s because hedge funds are the top of the Wall Street food chain — and Dalio runs the largest hedge fund of all, Bridgewater Associates. Life’s good at the top of this food chain: in 2008, a bad year for most Americans, Dalio took home $780 million. That same $780 million could have paid the salaries of about 20,000 teachers — and those 20,000 teachers could have taught about 400,000 American students (using author Les Leopold’s calculations). A lot of people might find this offensive and unjust, but not Dalio—he thinks this is all part of Nature’s Plan, and it just so happens that Nature favors the hedge fund managers:
“I believe that self-interest and society’s interests are generally symbiotic [bold--Dalio’s]…That is why how much money people have earned is a rough measure of how much they gave society what it wanted.”
So now we know why hedge fund managers are raking in record pay (last year, the top 25 hedge fund managers earned on average about $1 billion each), while hundreds of thousands of America’s teachers are getting fired all across the country: Nature hates teachers and other do-gooders. Sure, Dalio’s hedge fund is flush thanks in no small part to all the teachers retirement funds that Bridgewater managed to tap—without those teachers pooling their money together, he’d have a lot less to plunder, and society would never even know what a great person he is.
To which Dalio would answer, “Be a hyena. Attack the wildebeest.”
Did you write that down yet? Because that’s Cruel Reality According to Ray Dalio, a self-described “hyperrealist” and author of a bulky book of maxims leaked recently via the financial blog Dealbreaker. Dalio titled his collection of maxims—some 250 in all-- “ Principles” and he makes every Bridgewater employee memorize it. A weighty title like Principles might have you thinking he’s the Descartes of the new millennium. Except that his philosophy comes down to something like this: I [am too rich to] think, therefore I am [a delusional asshole].” Or better yet, “If I’m so rich, then you ain’t smart.”
You can read Dalio’s Principles thanks to the folks at Dealbreaker who leaked it last week. Imagine some Ayn Rand geek a few decades later and a few billion dollars richer, and you get Dalio’s Principles, exemplified by his “Be a hyena” maxim:
When a pack of hyenas takes down a young wildebeest, is that good or evil? At face value, that might not be “good” because it seems cruel, and the poor wildebeest suffers and dies. Some people might even say that the hyenas are evil. Yet this type of apparently “cruel” behavior exists throughout the animal kingdom. Like death itself, it is integral to the enormously complex and efficient system that has worked for as long as there has been life. It is good for both the hyenas who are operating in their self- interest and the interest of the greater system, including those of the wildebeest, because killing and eating the wildebeest fosters evolution (i.e., the natural process of improvement). In fact, if you changed anything about the way that dynamic works, the overall outcome would be worse.
That’s right, America’s largest hedge fund manager sees himself as a hyena, and the rest of us as his wildebeest. As awful as it reads, coming from the mouth of one of the oligarchy’s most powerful barons, it also reveals what an idiot Dalio is. Does he even know anything about the hyena he compares himself to—specifically the spotted hyena, since that’s the only hyena that regularly feasts on wildebeest? Can he handle the truth? Because he’s not going to like it—not unless a macho hedge fund manager like Dalio is into being dominated by bitches.