Ray Dalio’s data points

The essay is on inequality, but there are interesting statistics scattered throughout. For example,

While many of the major causes of death have been flat or falling over the last 15 years, deaths from drugs and alcohol more than offset it among the bottom 60%. And the rise in drug-related deaths is not happening across the world—the phenomenon is unique to the US.

Pointer from John Mauldin.

I could swear that when I first looked at Dalio’s piece, he had more tables with more statistics, including death rates that are preventable with health interventions (higher for the U.S.) Those tables, which are in the appendix, do not show up in the version of Chrome on my laptop. Ah, there they are. They show up fine on the Microsoft browser and on Chrome on my tablet. They appear to be graphics. If you don’t see a table called “Health Care Performance Measures Across Developed Nations,” try a different browser. Those tables are a big reason that I am sending you to his essay.

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6 Responses to Ray Dalio’s data points

  1. collin says:

    Nothing against John Maudlin but he is a conservative investor who blames the inequality on the modern political system and not the economic changes of the Reagan Revolution. (In reality the break was 1974/1982 one big ‘Depression’). The economy does not tickle down as it once did. (Although we are seeing some wage increases although it is focused on urban populations.)

    In terms of drugs and alcohol deaths the reality of the US:
    1) The US is hardest on the bottom 15% than any other developed world after WW2. There has always been a loser population in the US.
    2) It is the first drug epidemic hitting white populations instead of minority citizens.
    3) The other odd point is this is the first drug epidemic that did not have significant crime wave in the trade. (Remember the 1980s the cocaine/crack trade and drug cost almost killed as many people than the drug themselves.) Today the stuff is twice the price of a candy bar so labor ‘drug dealers’ don’t compete in other ways.

    Again, what can be done as the areas worst off tend to be in red states. The heart of the conservative movement has the ‘small c’ Ross Douthat versus the Paul Ryan/Koch Brothers in terms of how to help the populations. And judging by Trump’s campaign promises (populism for WWC) versus his governing (Koch style) he seems the worst of both styles.

    Anyway, I still say the simplest fix on the increasing deaths of WWC is the access of rural healthcare is diminishing and it would be wise to modify Obamacare to give state governors more control of healthcare dollars and money. Because I assume quality rural healthcare is not a profitable business and state governors would be best handle these choices.

  2. Jeff R. says:

    Only about a third of the bottom 60% saves any of its income (in cash or financial assets). As a result, according to a recent Federal Reserve study, most people in this group would struggle to raise $400 in an emergency.

    How much of that income that these people aren’t saving goes into cell phone plans, broadband internet and cable tv packages, and the video games he mentions people are trading for shorter work hours? The difference between can’t save/won’t save is not clear cut. Citing statistics uncritically like that makes the problem sound worse than it is.

  3. Kevin Dick says:

    I just glanced at the article but he seems to be making the common mistake of looking at positions in the distribution rather than individuals. This ignores lifecycle effects.

    What fraction of people in the bottom 60% are young or very old and supported (or backed up) by their parents or children?

    You could interpret this pattern as people generally being much more productive in their prime earning years. Yes, this ignores important patterns below the surface of people who stay in the lowest parts of the distribution their whole lives. But this isn’t any more misleading than ignoring the fact that there’s a natural tendency of people to move in the distribution over their lives

  4. Moo cow says:

    John Edward’s – Two America’s. He was ahead of his time. Too bad his personal life was messy. That kind of thing doesn’t matter today.

    Good to see a hedge fund billionaire and a stock prognosticator on board.

  5. Michael Moran says:

    Kevin Dick makes a good point. Also, if you forget wealth stats, which have many problems, and look at income stats, picture is a bit different. Look at income tax data and basically share of income (AGI) of each group has remained the same since 1999. All the while, the taxes on top groups have gone up, benefits to bottom group have gone up, and movement among groups has gone up. So by any reasonable measure income inequality has declined since 1999. Also interpose these comments with cost of living stats. I am not saying all is roses, but world is much more complex that rural WWC is in dire states.

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