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Kevin O’Leary thinks global wealth gap is ‘fantastic news’

Noel Hulsman
Kevin O’Leary thinks global wealth gap is ‘fantastic news’

There’s a rare genius to staying forever in the lights. Kevin O’Leary possesses that talent to a degree few can match. O’Leary’s latest grab for the headlines, a lurch so cynically played it pains me to provide coverage, came during a recent episode of CBC’s The Lang O’Leary Exchange, where he celebrated an Oxfam report that the world’s richest 85 people had the combined wealth of the world’s 3.5-billion most impoverished.

“This is fantastic news”, said O’Leary, “Of course, I applaud it. What could be wrong with this?”

The Oxfam report titled “Working for the Few” states half the world’s wealth falls in the hands of 1 per cent of the population. Such a wealth disparity comes along with minor trifles such as crushing poverty, massive corruption and social upheaval. Tell the people of Europe that yet further evidence of famine and destitution across Africa is “a great thing,” to quote O’Leary.

“It inspires everybody to get some motivation to look up to the 1 per cent and say I want to become one of those people, I’m going to fight hard to get up to the top,” he said.

But of course that’s nonsense. O'Leary surely knows all too well that the absolute last thing that most developed nations are looking for is the world’s most marginalized billions fighting hard to “become one of those people.” He need only look at Lampedusa, the island off of the coast of Italy, where more than 30,000 Northern African refugees have fled in recent years in a bid to get a toehold in Europe. Countless migrants drowned en route, many more have been deported back to their countries of origin.

Those are the intensely motivated of whom O’Leary speaks so glowingly. Of course, he’s not interested in immigration issues much less squalid refugee camps. Nor, I suspect, is he particularly keen to see wealth in any form shared more equally. O’Leary is in it to see his name in the headlines, seemingly regardless of the issue, the implications, or how he looks in the process.