I thought I had scored a bonanza with a couple of recent articles featuring quotes by Gerry Harvey. I thought I had another entry, possible the winner, for the ‘You have to admire their balls’ series…and if you read the articles I probably do. But then I started thinking…maybe with Gerry Harvey it isn’t a case of him having the gall to says the things he is saying. Maybe he is, in fact, delusional. And I’m not trying to be funny here. Some of the things he has said recently suggest to be that he might have some kind of mental illness.
In this article he suggests that Australia needs a two tiered wages system with people from poor countries being offered jobs here at lower rates that Australian citizens. Now, without touching on most of what is wrong with this idea morally, the first issue here is that it smacks directly in the face of his argument that GST should be applied to on-line shopping to give a level playing field. So he wants a level playing field for him but not for others? But this discrepancy can maybe be explained away by good old greed and self-interest. However the example he uses suggests something else might be going one here. He says, and I quote, “I’ve got horse studs and it’s difficult to get staff. Workers would rather work in the mines where they get paid twice as much.” Seriously, couldn’t he see that premising his argument on the fact that he is rich enough to own horse studs….studs, not stud…might not engender a lot of sympathy? Surely most reasonable, and sane, people would think ‘Hmmmm, want to make an argument for allowing me to exploit people from poor countries…must remember not to highlight that I am a filthy rich’!
Second point in hand is this article, where he suggests that Australian should be happy to pay the extra 10% because ‘Yes, you might have to pay more, but it’s the right thing to do. You’ll pay a lot more if we lose jobs and retailers close down’. Yet you can bet he and his organisation do everything they can to minimise their own tax, they source most of the products overseas,no doubt because they are cheaper, and they have quite deliberately set out to destroy smaller retailers…none of which are really the ‘right thing to do’ for the greater good of Australia. But again, the issue here is how totally out of touch with reality using this argument to get support for his case appears to be. Does he seriously think people will buy this, which would suggest a mental health issue to me, or is he just taking the piss?
So the question I’m asking is whether this guy has some kind of mental illness or have I just totally under-estimated the human capacity for greed and self-interest? Though I guess when the CEO of one of the other major retailers involved in all this says that we should be happy to pay the extra 10% because ‘there’s a moral principle at stake here’ it just proves the case of an article I read a while back that suggests that the best place to find a sociopath is at the head of a major corporation!:-)