Millionaire businessman Kevin O’Leary of ABC’s hit reality show Shark Tank thinks a new report on world poverty is fantastic and something to be celebrated.
O’Leary, aka “Mr. Wonderful,” who is said to be worth $300 million, made the comments on The Lang and O’Leary Exchange on Canadian televison in the context of encouraging people to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. See embed below.
The discussion got started when co-host Amanda Lang asked O’Leary about an Oxfam International report that indicated that combined wealth of the world’s 85 richest people is equal to the 3.5 billion poorest people. The organization also contends that just one percent of the population owns about 50 percent of the world’s wealth.
Said O’Leary: “This is a great thing because it inspires everybody, gets them motivation to look up to the one percent and say, ‘I want to become one of those people, I’m going to fight hard to get up to the top.’ This is fantastic news, and of course I applaud it. What can be wrong with this? I celebrate capitalism …”
Lang seemed to be initially speechless. She then responded “Really? So somebody living on a dollar a day in Africa is getting up in the morning and saying, ‘I’m going to be Bill Gates?'”
“That’s the motivation everybody needs,” one-percenter O’Leary replied. “I’m not against charity. Don’t tell me that you want to redistribute wealth again; that’s never going to happen.”
Whether you agree with O’Leary or believe his comments are outrageous, progressives and others on the left tend to think that the economic pie is static (and needs to be redistributed by government) while those on the opposite side of the issue view the pie as ever-expanding provided government regulators get out of the way of free enterprise.
If you haven’t the seen Shark Tank, what happens on the show is that entrepreneurs, or would-be entrepreneurs, pitch their ideas to five often obnoxious but oddly engaging, deep-pocketed “sharks” (including series regular Kevin O’Leary) and try to convince at least one of the panelists to invest in their venture. While the budding businessmen and women are looking for start-up capital to take their ideas to the next level, the hard-nosed sharks are looking to get a return on their investment and own a piece of the next big idea. Shark Tank is a spin-off of the Canadian version of the Japanese show Dragons’ Den, which also starred O’Leary.
O’Leary, who apparently also is not a fan of global warming theories either, may have been doing a little trolling here with his comments on income inequality, but his views appear consistent with his blunt, sarcastic demeanor on Shark Tank.
[top image credit: Pummax]