Gina Rinehart's Delusion of Class Envy

Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 20:25 PM EDT, 25 September 2012

Gina Rinehart (Cropped), Photo by Panorama MercantilIn the United States 2012 Presidential election one of the candidates has been labeled as out of touch plutocrat, a perception reinforced by his numerous faux pas, gaffes, and seeming inability to connect with voters.

The perception held by the public and the media is that Mitt Romney desires to become president for the sole purpose of advancing tax policies and legislation that will benefit the rich to the detriment of the middle class.

These assertions have been vigorously denounced by other wealthy Americans who have subsequently accused the public of class envy.

Though they claim to be beneficent and caring about the lower and middle classes, this proclaimed sentiment belies what many believe to be the truth. This feeling was evidenced in a statement made by Mitt Romney in May 2012 to wealthy donors attending a $50,000 a plate fund raising event.

Unbeknownst to Romney, he was caught on video expounding upon his view that 47% of working and lower class Americans were in their predicament because they lacked both drive and a sound work ethic.

This, despite the fact that he and other wealthy individuals like him inherited their wealth. Lest global citizens think that Mr. Romney is an aberrant case of an extremely wealthy individual who can’t or won’t sympathize with those who were not born with the same privileges and advantages, Gina Rinehart proves this assumption wrong.

Ms. Rinehart is an Australian mining tycoon who inherited a fortune which is now worth $19 billion and is considered the world’s richest woman. She also claims class envy as the reason why commoners dislike her. However, public derision of Rinehart stems from her 30 August 2012 statement to Amy Coopes, a reporter for AFP in which she advised people of lesser means on how to become one of the uber-wealthy.

"If you're jealous of those with more money, don't just sit there and complain," she said in a magazine piece. "Do something to make more money yourself -- spend less time drinking or smoking and socializing, and more time working."

Today, speaking at the Sydney Mining Club, Rinehart reiterated her opinion about those less fortunate than her. In her speech she asserted that the mining industry in Australia cannot compete with nations that are willing to pay workers less than $2 a day for their sweat and labor, and therefore, Australian businesses should be allowed to lower employee salaries to match or beat this amount.

Rinehart has been urging Australian lawmakers to cut the minimum wage, ostensibly to prevent these jobs from being outsourced, but in reality it is because she doesn’t want to pay a living wage or benefits afforded most employees in industrialized nations, preferring to use the labor of immigrants from nations with emerging economies.

Like the American public, the Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard didn't buy Rinehart’s specious and self-serving argument. The truth of her position is much like other rapacious plutocrats, corporate raiders, and venture capitalists who believe that the poor should be grateful for any job even if they are paid little or nothing.

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