Shark Tank Star Thinks Poverty Is “Fantastic News”

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Kevin O’Leary, a Canadian businessman and star of the entrepreneur-focused reality show Shark Tank, is in hot water.

On a recent episode of the Canadian business show The Lang and O’Leary Exchange, O’Leary applauded the recently released statistic that the combined wealth of the world’s 85 richest people is equal to the wealth of the 3.5 billion poorest. “Of course I applaud it,” O’Leary said. “What could be wrong with this?”

He goes on to explain that the conditions the 3.5 billion poorest individuals find themselves in are simply a great motivator for those folks to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and make something of their lives. Nevermind the fact that these are people living on less than $2.50 per day often without access to basic necessities like water, food, and education.

17 comments
FrankGriffin
FrankGriffin

It is foolish to even create the metric that 85 people have most of the wealth bla bla bla.  Wealth is not a zero sum game.  Those that are economically illiterate still think that way of course.  


Most of the poor in the world are poor because of their government and culture, not the rich being rich.  Look to North and South Korea for the best example of this.  Did Bill Gates steal somehow from the North Koreans to make them poor or was it the maniac running that country?  


As for the evil uncaring rich what about the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.  I think they are donating all of their wealth away when they die.  Rich are people just like anyone else but they excelled in some why that typically makes everyone's life a bit better and they are rewarded for it.  On the flip side, poor and rich alike can be selfish butt heads but that has nothing to do with being rich it has to do with being human beings.  We are flawed but we somehow manage to better ourselves in the long run.


BTW all this hating on the rich gives me the pol pot feeling or even the jews in the 1940's feeling.  This whole economic equality crap has been spot lighted for political reasons (Obama).  The jews were demonized for political gain and that's what is being done here today by the left.

JeffWeiss
JeffWeiss

The only reason the one percent even have any money is because of the rest of us who buy the stuff they peddle us.  And two, don't give that crap about working hard.  I have worked for people like this, they aren't working, they are out on the golf course, or on some expensive vacation while we are doing the work for them, and getting none of the money.  if this is how america truly believes then maybe we should be wiped  off the map.

DavisGoodman
DavisGoodman

This show does absolutely nothing for anyone. It makes right wingers look like smug ignorant asses and left wingers as whinny know it alls. If this conversation happened in real life ... very few people in his position would say that income disparity is fantastic and very few people in her position would keep their mouths shut. How this show stays on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is beyond me?

@technologistjen
@technologistjen

Can he really be that insensitive, or was this for pure shock value, to draw attention either to himself or his show?  

Either way, I will never watch Shark Tank again.  That belief and comment are simply ludicrous and bombastic, and he should be fired.

ThomasMichaels
ThomasMichaels

Kevin is forgeting how he got to the top like most of the other 1%ers they wont pay their business partner for intellectual property.

kaki58
kaki58

Come on. Success is the national religion, and almost everyone is a believer. Americans love winners.  But that's just the problem. These guys on top don't work hard...they are not winners, they are cheaters, and Americans hate cheaters (just ask Barry Bonds). Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Dimon came across their wealth by their ability to borrow at zero and lend the same money back to the government at two or three percent, a valuable public service otherwise known as "standing in the middle and taking a gigantic cut when the government decides to lend money to itself."  They get outrageous bonuses for what?  Their banks get billions of dollars for free from the Federal Reserve and lend mortgages to us at four percent, or credit cards at twenty or twenty-five percent, yet turned to the people for bailouts...your average monkey couldn't screw up this business plan. With the power of such wealth, they have effectively bribed our legislative process into passing a highly complex set of laws and exemptions from laws and taxes allowing them to further protect and increase their wealth and significantly affect the U.S. political and legislative processes.  Hard work?  I'd love to watch them harvesting watermelons on a hot summer day or for 8 hours with a post hole digger in their perfectly manicured hands.

MACRM32
MACRM32

So, what you're telling me is that some rich people are completely out-of-touch with reality?

yodaweed
yodaweed

Does this mean we can finally shut O'Leary up and get him off the air...I mean seriously PLEASE get rid of him !! He is as big an embarrassment for Canada as Rob Ford and Stephen Harper. 

floriana08
floriana08

I thought he must actually be joking but it seems not.   Yes of course Bill Gates and Warren Buffett both crawled out of third world slums and became seriously rich all by themselves!!!!   Anyone who believes this is possible is a dangerous fool.   Even Warren Buffett admits he would not be where he is if had not first been born into a comfortable American family.

Comet_Art
Comet_Art


love their show...always watch them everyday but this Mr. Kevin over here, i like him not because of I share his views like this video would tell you...i like him because i see him as one those puppets worshipping

wealth in particular his "money". I wonder if this guy will be out of money, what would be his value as a person! I can't even say garbage because it can still be recycled. What's worse than that? Go figure!!!



Read more: Kevin O'Leary Says 3.5 Billion Living in Poverty is "Fantastic" | TIME.com http://business.time.com/2014/01/22/kevin-oleary-says-3-5-billion-living-in-poverty-is-fantastic/#ixzz2rC4BLotu

Bipolar_Puppy
Bipolar_Puppy

 O’Leary lucked into buying Softkey for $10,000 (A loan from his Mom?) and then made a considerable sum stealing free and shareware software (and some not free/shared - he was successfully sued by Adobe for outright stealing of a font collection) and reselling it (against many developers licensing agreements) as CD-ROM compilations in the pre-internet days. Using this money earned, in part by stealing the intellectual property of others, he bought The Learning Company which Mattel purchased in a tech fever frenzy (I was begging anyone I knew to divest any tech stock at the time) for a $3.8 billion stock swap in 1999, the height of the tech bubble and was considered one of the worst business moves in all history (proving an Ivy League MBA does not make you smart). Mattel sued him for cooked books and settled  for $122 million.


Now, Kevin did legitimately make money and worked hard to do it (although questionable ethics seemed involved). But, would he be a millionaire today if Mattel's board had any collective business acumen in 1999? Maybe not. TLC went the way of the Dodo like Lotus (123) and Ashton-Tate (dBase) and if no one else had bought him out and he could have ended up another moderately successful businessman with a split-level in Scarborough.


But, his immense wealth ($300M) was a combination of historic timing and the greed and stupidity of others, not his genius to make money. An example of his ability to lose wealth, including that of stock holders, was his stint as director at Environmental Management Solutions in 2004, O'Leary's 5 years there resulted in the stock price going from near $4 to 3.5 cents. I'm sure he tried hard but I could have done pretty much the same (or even better) by doing nothing but drinking beer and going fishing.


The truly poor have no access to the two things needed to create wealth: Education and capital (almost always land ownership). The poor do not own land and do not have the means for education. All money earned goes to basic, immediate necessities. There is nothing to save and if there was no institutions or infrastructure to create wealth from it. As an example China's emerging (legitimate) middle and upper class did not occur until an infrastructure of enforced laws of personal property rights was established.


I hope Kevin's free market spouting is a Don Cherry-esque attempt to elicit controversy and troll for viewers rather than the hubris the wealthy often soil themselves with. 


Kevin O’Leary is either a bombastic clown or a truly ignorant white boy. Either way, he is, in my opinion, of low moral fiber and I do not watch his show.

straydog
straydog

"pull themselves up by their bootstraps and make something of their lives"

Such a statement really shows this man's complete detachment from reality. According to the Census, the world population will reach 7.1 billion in early 2014. Of that 7.1 billion - 85 have managed to either make or retain their wealth (I'm betting mostly on 'retain'). 85. Out of 7.1 billion.


The odds are clearly stacked in the favor of those born in to a lifestyle where money is already plentiful. They receive better education, nutrition, guidance, and opportunities. Even those who made their own success (ie: Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg) came from more affluent households that gave them an advantage. The 3.5 billion people living in poverty did not come from affluence and therefore do not have those same opportunities. So to say the problem is just a matter of working harder shows a gross misunderstanding of the current times and what REAL people are actually struggling with. Real people aren't sitting around wondering how to become one of those rich 85 - they're too busy working 2 jobs (or more!) just to afford ballooned rent prices, health insurance costs and food. And I think it's fair to say that most people don't have the luxury of having parents who can front the bill while they try to dream up the next big thing.

JeffWeiss
JeffWeiss

@kaki58 I agree, they are like the plantation owners of old, sitting on their porches while the slaves do the work.  And instead of it being racial, now it's class separation.  We are all the new slaves.  But one day, as our african american brothers did before us, we are going to have to have the guts to stand up and change things.

Jackson12
Jackson12

@Bipolar_Puppy  He's a bombastic clown or a truly ignorant white boy? The hell does race have to do with it? Someone sounds like a jealous little black bitch...

bryanfred1
bryanfred1

@straydog The stacked deck always has been, and always will be.  But the people you talk about are generally in situations with truly no hope.  Worrying about the cost of health insurance would be a luxury to the billions who live in countries with no education, infrastructure, etc.  Poor governance and constant civil strife keep far, far more people in poverty than U.S. (or Canadian) marginal tax rates.  Where I agree 100% is that the concept of someone born in a shack on top of a dump in India or sub-Saharn Africa having even the first inkling of how to begin "pulling themselves up by their bootstraps" is ludicrous.  This guy shows a level of obliviousness that's hard to fathom.