Tim Gurner, CEO of Luxury Hospitality Gurner Group, had some choice words for workers. He called for “pain in the economy” in order to “remind people that they work for the employer, not the other way around.” He also recommended unemployment rates of 50% to discipline the labor market.
Via Fortune (emphasis added):
It’s not every day you see a CEO arguing for a worse economy. But that’s what Tim Gurner, founder and CEO of Australian luxury real estate company the Gurner Group, tried to do at an Australian Financial Review conference on Tuesday.
“Employees feel the employer is extremely lucky to have them, as opposed to the other way around,” Gurner told the audience. “We’ve got to kill that attitude, and that has to come through hurting the economy,” he continued.
“We need to see pain in the economy. We need to remind people that they work for the employer, not the other way around,” he said. The real estate CEO also suggested that Australian unemployment needed to jump by as much as 50%.
Gurner also complained about “tradies”—workers who practice a trade, like electricians, plumbers and carpenters—and claimed they had “pulled back on productivity.”
Gurner’s remarks earned ire from various corners of the media, including mainstream right-leaning ones such as Sky News.
As I’ve argued previously, the right is largely, understandably sheepish about wading into any sort of class war rhetoric because it smacks of communism and the decades of Cold War.
But the class war is very much alive, spearheaded by shady characters such as Gurner and waged asymmetrically against the middle and working classes of industrialized society, not just in the United States but throughout the Western world. Furthermore, the ideal that Gurner is describing is not a free market system, but a rigged one in which oligarchs manipulate the mechanisms of government to suit their own ends.
Trump did a lot to upset that apple cart with his unapologetic criticism of one-sided multinational trade deals that solely benefit the multinational corporations that wrote them, then bought support for them from crooked Hillary and an entire bipartisan army of corrupt Swamp goblins. But the aversion to class war remains.
Meanwhile, Gurner’s calls for a 50% unemployment rate and the explicit encouragement of governments worldwide to enact monetary policies that would bring about this catastrophic drop in employment would have nearly unimaginable implications of human misery and pain. But it would increase his industry’s leverage over labor and drive down costs, so no amount of suffering is too high of a price to pay for people like Gurner.
If the goal of the prevailing economic system — and the managers who run it — is not to achieve full or near-full employment and spread wealth throughout the entirety of the society, but rather just to rig the system in the service of funneling wealth into the hands of a tiny class of parasitic financial managers like Gurner, what is the virtue of maintaining it?