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“You have to understand that the word communism has a connotation to an American of what it is, and this ain’t your grandfather’s communism,” Dalio, the founder and co-chairman of Westport-based Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund with $160 billion in assets under management, told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday.
Shifting attitudes have created an environment in which some Chinese like capitalism more than Americans do, Dalio said.
"We’re almost at an anticapitalist move here," he said, referring to the U.S., where Democratic presidential candidates have proposed a wealth tax to fund social welfare programs like free college tuition.
China's communist government, established under Chairman Mao Zedong in the late 1940s, initially relied on a centrally planned economy, but it has gradually moved toward an open-market system and was accepted into the World Trade Organization in 2001. It's now the world's second-largest economy, more than twice the size of its nearest competitor, Japan, according to World Bank data.
"The energy to being able to come up with ideas and become a billionaire and to do things in terms of venture capital is really great," Dalio said, and the Chinese have funneled that energy into technology, which will help them dominate markets of the future.
Investing in China is not without its faults however.
The Chinese economy grew at 6.1 percent in 2019, its weakest since 1990 as growing debt levels, weaker consumption and the ongoing trade war with the United States weighed on growth. Still, the Shanghai Composite just completed its best year since 2014, gaining 22 percent.
“I like investing in China," Dalio said. "I know it's controversial, but that’s an opportunity.”
PROGRAMMING ALERT: Tune in to Fox Business Network 2PM ET Wednesday, January 22 for a live audience show where our all-stars will take questions from viewers of all ages on issues like student loan debt, housing, plus capitalism vs socialism.