'We're in a world where bad things happen'

“We’re in a world where bad things happen,” said former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner at CNBC’s Delivering Alpha Conference on Tuesday.

On stage with him, billionaire investor Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates, added that the world he’s seeing today looks like the late 1930s.

With nationalism and the wealth gap becoming more powerful forces around the world, “it’s very much like the late ’30s and it worries me,” Dalio said. “But there is no period in time… that is most analogous to now.”

The persistence of low interest rates despite dramatic easing from central banks puts us in a world unlike any we’ve seen before, and Geithner and Dalio agreed that now is not the time to raise interest rates.

“I think people have this sense that our system can’t deliver anything meaningful… if you want to take a more hopeful view of the world we’re working on the frontier of what’s possible,” said Geithner. “It’s not true that the major governments are completely out of ammunition.”

He thinks that raising rates just to replenish the arsenal is a “weird argument to make.”

Dalio offered that he thought the Federal Reserve was putting too much emphasis on the business cycle, and not enough on the debt cycle in its planning.

Geithner only said that central banks could be more creative, but that the politics of such action were very difficult.

“We’ve never been in a world together that has been like this,” said Dalio.


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