Dalio vs. Bernanke On Secular Stagnation

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke may disagree, but hedge fund guru Ray Dalio says we’re in a period of secular stagnation.

“We (the United States, Europe and Japan) are in a period of secular stagnation,” Dalio wrote in an April 7 note obtained by CNBC.com. He said central banks have limited policy tools given near-zero interest rates, which means less lending, less investment, and lower economic growth.

Sign up for The Guru Investor’s FREE Weekly Newsletter

Dalio says not to expect the debt-fueled growth of the past. “Interest rate declines and debts increasing faster than incomes to pull demand and economic activity higher are largely a thing of the past,” he wrote.

Bernanke, meanwhile, doesn’t buy the secular stagnation case. “Does the U.S. economy face secular stagnation? I am skeptical, and the sources of my skepticism go beyond the fact that the U.S. economy looks to be well on the way to full employment today,” he wrote in a recent Brookings blog post.

Bernanke contends that there will always be profitable investments available in a low interest rate climate, CNBC reports, adding that he says recent sluggish growth has more to do with the post-financial crisis economic cycle then secular stagnation.