January 22, 2014

O'Leary's comments on inequality cross the line

Commentary by Rebel Youth magazine

Rebel Youth magazine is renewing its call to fire CBC economic commentator Kevin O'Leary after comments made Tuesday about growing global social inequality.

Responding to co-host Amanda Lang's summary of a new report by Oxfam which notes that the 85 richest people on the planet have as much wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion people, O'Leary said:
It’s fantastic. And this is a great thing because it inspires everybody, gets them motivation to look up to the one per cent and say, ‘I want to become one of those people, I want to fight to the get up to the top.’ This is fantastic news and of course I applaude it. What could be wrong with this?
Oxfam is an international anti-poverty NGO. Its new report ''Working for the few,'' confirmed that almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just one percent of the population. (You can read our 60 second summary here, with links to the full download).

I love capitalism

O'Leary's comments have appalled many. Ishmael Daro of the news site The Albatross recorded the Youtube video below which already has close to 20,000 views in just over 24 hours.

On the clip O'Leary calls the report "a celebratory stat, I'm excited about it, wonderful to see it happen" and says "I love capitalism!" adding: "Don't tell me that you're going to redistribute wealth again, that's never going to happen."

"What value [O'Leary] possibly provides to the CBC is entirely unclear. Either nobody watches the Lang & O’Leary Exchange to catch this routine stupidity or management is purposely destroying the CBC," Daro wrote on The Albatross.

Poverty, hunger nothing to celebrate

In its report Oxfam documents how seven out of ten people live in countries where economic inequality has increased in the last 30 years, a "massive concentration of economic resources in the hands of fewer people" which means "governments overwhelmingly serve the interests of economic elites – to the detriment of ordinary people," an Oxfam release said.

That monopoly capitalism undermines democracy and social well-being is, of course, a suggestion which fits with the long-standing analysis of our magazine.

The reality that working people socially produce all the wealth in society but do not control the results of their labour which is privately accumulated has been consistently exposed by Marxists who describe this relationship of "we make it, they take it" as exploitation and the main contradiction of capitalism.

Crisis of capitalism

Perhaps ironically the Oxfam report still sets out to defend capitalism, quoting Adam Smith at one point and elsewhere claiming that "Some economic inequality is essential to drive growth and progress, rewarding those with talent, hard earned skills, and the ambition to innovate and take entrepreneurial risks." (pg. 3)

Read more about the report here.

But Oxfam's picture in its new report can't hide the reality today -- an emergency situation with the very system that thrives upon and creates inequality, global capitalism. This system is currently mired in an ongoing deep economic crisis, despite continued claims of "economic recovery" just around the corner. While Kevin O'Leary might be despirately trying to excuse what Oxfam has exposed, more and more people are looking for real change, and the economic alternative -- socialism.

We say that O'Leary's role as a commentator on CBC is to peddle big lies disguised as opinion, defending the boss class and their capitalist system, all presented as if it were the news from a "business expert" TV personality. For that reason we urge all our readers to stand up for a better CBC, sign the petition here to get him off the air, and invite you to please read more about our campaign here.

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