Only last week J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon humbly abased himself before the Chinese Communist regime. “Dimon found himself in potential trouble with the current executors of the Mandate of Heaven when he repeated a joke he said he had told in Hong Kong earlier,” Gerard Baker explained in his excellent Wall Street Journal column. This was Dimon’s joke: “The Communist Party is celebrating its hundredth year. So is JPMorgan. I’d make you a bet we last longer.”
Reflecting on J.P. Morgan’s aspirations to do business in China, Dimon quickly stood down from his joke. “I regret and should not have made that comment,” he said in a statement. A bank spokesman added: “Dimon acknowledges that he should never speak lightly or disrespectfully about another country or its leadership.” I don’t think such self-abasement comes naturally or easily to Dimon. It’s no surprise that the statements came prepackaged in written form.
Baker commented: “The Chinese government graciously accepted the double-grovel.” Baker adds this salient observation: “We can assume the spokesman carefully chose the word ‘another,’ since Mr. Dimon has long been a colorfully outspoken commentator on the quality of his own country’s leaders.”
Which brings us to the case of Ray Dalio, as set forth by Oliver Wiseman in his Spectator World DC Diary column this morning:
Today’s nomination for Kowtower of the Week is billionaire hedge fund manager Ray Dalio. The Bridgewater founder has just raised $1.25 billion for a new investment fund in China. Asked by CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin for his views on Chinese human rights abuses on Tuesday, he said, “I can’t be an expert in those types of things… I really have no idea… and then I say well, what is going on in the the United States and should I not invest in the United States because of our own human rights issues or other things.”
Dalio went on to offer his “perspective” on the Chinese government’s policy of disappearing people: “What they have is an autocratic system and one of the leaders described it that the U.S. is a country of individuals and individualism…in China it is an extension of the family… As a top down country is they behave like a strict parent. That is their approach. We have our approach.”
It’d be one thing if the Dalios and Dimons of this world kept themselves out of politics altogether. But neither is shy about holding forth on American politics. Dalio loves nothing more than delivering alarmist warnings about capitalism being broken….
Wiseman comments: “High on the list of to reasons to worry that the US is not up to the China challenge is the fact that some of its most powerful business leaders cannot bring themselves to make even modest criticisms about a genocidal regime that also happens to be America’s main geopolitical foe.”