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Billionaire investor Ray Dalio said on Thursday that the US appears to be on the path to “some form of civil war.”

Dalio based his analysis on historical cases — arguing that the combination of financial burdens, such as large deficits, high taxes and inflation, and large wealth and value gaps in a nation “leads to some sort of fighting for control.”

Dalio is the founder and co-chief investor of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, with nearly $150 billion in assets under management.

Media reports said:

“Maybe my views are right and maybe they’re wrong,” he wrote in a LinkedIn post summarizing excerpts from his book, “Principles for Dealing with the Changing World Order.” “My goal is simply to pass along what I see for you to consider for yourself.”

He also argued that the country is witnessing greater amounts of populism and extremism, and outlined what he believes is a path to civil war through the lens of historical examples. A big divide, he said, is the gap between right-wing and left-wing politics, where both “sides” are “unwilling to compromise.”

First, he said, extremists become the majority and respecting the rule of law becomes secondary to winning at all costs. Them, he argued, both moderates and the ability to compromise become diluted, leading to civil wars.

“Notably, when that happens at the same time as there are foreign powers that are becoming strong enough to challenge the leading world power that is encountering this civil war dynamic, it is an especially risky period,” he added, saying that he thinks the U.S. is currently in this period.

“By most of the measures that I use, the current financial conditions and irreconcilable differences in desires and values are consistent with the ingredients leading to some form of civil war.”

An analysis – the U.S. is “closer to civil war than any of us would like to believe” – by Barbara F Walter, a political science professor at the University of California at San Diego who sits on the Political Instability Task Force, is contained in a book and first reported by the Washington Post.

The book looks at those risk factors in the U.S., How Civil Wars Start. According to the Post, she writes: “No one wants to believe that their beloved democracy is in decline, or headed toward war.”

But “if you were an analyst in a foreign country looking at events in America – the same way you’d look at events in Ukraine or Ivory Coast or Venezuela – you would go down a checklist, assessing each of the conditions that make civil war likely.

“And what you would find is that the United States, a democracy founded more than two centuries ago, has entered very dangerous territory.”

Walter, the Post said, concludes that the U.S. has passed through stages of “pre-insurgency” and “incipient conflict” and may now be in “open conflict”, beginning with the Capitol riot.

Citing analytics used by the Center for Systemic Peace, Walter also says the U.S. has become an “anocracy” – “somewhere between a democracy and an autocratic state”.

CNN’s Michael Holmes talked with Professor Barbara Walter of the University of California San Diego about her work on a task force that tries to predict where outside the U.S. a civil war is likely to break out. (How close is the US to civil war? Closer than you think, study says, https://edition.cnn.com/videos/politics/2021/12/20/us-civil-war-study-barbara-walter-intvu-intl-ovn-vpx.cnn) Walter says the two best predictors of whether violence is likely to occur currently exist in the U.S. and have emerged at a “surprisingly fast rate.”

The U.S. has fought a civil war, from 1861 to 1865 and against states which seceded in an attempt to maintain slavery.

Estimates of the death toll vary. The American Battlefield Trust puts it at 620,000 and says: “Taken as a percentage of today’s population, the toll would have risen as high as 6 million souls.”


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