Thursday, January 06, 2011

Gerry Harvey makes an hilariously funny accusation

Gerry Harvey runs a very successful retail chain here in Australia. But he has a small problem. Something like 2% of goods are now being bought more cheaply online from overseas companies. Harvey's response? He has accused the online buyers of being unAustralian and has urged them to accept paying more in the national interest:

Retail king Gerry Harvey says online shoppers buying bargains from overseas should accept paying more for the good of the country...

He said such shoppers would pay a far higher price in the long run because of lost jobs and a weaker Australian economy...

"Yes, you might have to pay more, but it's the right thing to do."

I burst out laughing when I read this. People are just amazing at times. Just a few years ago, Gerry Harvey was pushing a very different line. He was arguing that he had the right to bring in immigrant workers and pay them half of the going rate:

Billionaire retailer Gerry Harvey says Australia needs a two-tier wage system to allow employers to pay foreign guest workers less than locals...

He called on the Federal Government to allow foreign workers on fixed visas to form a second tier to the labour market.

"Australia doesn't have cheap labour. Many overseas workers would be prepared to move here for a much better life and half the money Australians earn," he said...

"I've got horse studs and it's difficult to get staff.

Mr Harvey said both major parties needed to open the gates to migrants.

"The US can draw on a lot of cheap labour from Mexico and South America," he said...

"European countries can draw on cheap labour from eastern Europe.

"What I'm saying is not politically correct.

"You won't get politicians saying what I'm saying, but privately they know this sort of thing is a reality in the future."

So where was his concern to "pay more because it's the right thing to do" back then? Where was his concern for unAustralian activities? Where was his concern for the good of Australian workers?

The only thing Gerry Harvey cares about is the bottom line. His nation is his business company.

And, seriously, if he wants Australians to show loyalty to the interests of his company, then it might be wise for him to begin to show a little bit of loyalty to us in return.


  1. I went to dinner at my mums the other day and all around the table the entire family [ages 18 to 70-something] could not stop laughing at the sheer balls on this man.

    Everyone knows that the big retailers were the first to take their business overseas to undercut and destroy Aussie manufacturing. And now they complain because people can go to the same sources as them and don't want a middleman?

    Screw you Harvey, go back to your horse stud and fornicate with a big stallion for all I care.

  2. What a perfect illustration of the mindset of the new global entrepreneur who seems unable to grasp that one man's employee is another man's customer. I've always puzzled over what their diabolical long game was, because nobody could be stupid enough to believe that you could maintain a system where you could relentlessly drive down the cost of labor while simultaneously enjoying ever-increasing consumer demand. I concluded they just intended to slash-and-burn, selling to higher-wage countries until the wage-gutting process rendered them useless as consumers, then moving production to the next poor country, selling to the temporarily-prosperous country they'd just abandoned, wash, rinse, repeat.

    I mean, surely they noticed that places like the U.S. were the engines of the global economy because its workers were (until recently) well-paid? Surely the credit party was a rational, cynical attempt to keep the game going there until new consumers could be found elsewhere?

    No? They really don't understand the connection between wages and spending? Maybe they really are that stupid, because the man seems genuinely clueless. Or, more plausibly, they are true sociopaths, in the technical sense. Anybody who's ever dealt with true psychiatric sociopaths can see in men like Harvey the sociopath's characteristic narcissism: "but it's different when I do it/when it happens to me"; the complete lack of, or understanding of, reciprocal obligation.

    I've come across studies purporting to show that narcissistic personality disorders have increased significantly in the last couple of generations. Seems plausible, and would sure explain much of the scum running around our lands these days. But yeah, I laughed my ass off at the poor fellow's plight.

  3. I guess if there are more people in the country they don't have to worry so much about rising wages, as more people buying fewer products will still see them ahead.

    So I flipped on the news during Christmas and every news report focused on how much shopping was taking place, "Consumer demand is higher/lower this year". Isn't that embarrassing when all we can say about Christmas is how much everyone is buying.

  4. Next time I'm buying electronics I'll make sure to go elsewhere - one of stores belonging to immigration restrictionist Dick Smith would be a good starting point.

  5. It is even more hilarious considering prices online are often 20% to 50% cheaper. Adding GST to online prices would have no effect whatsoever. Online sales represent only 3% of overall sales, they are a bit of a scapegoat, really. There is no valid reason to launch such a campaign against them. By the way, significant parts of these online sales are made at Aussie online retailers and not overseas. Besides, I still wonder how they would collect it.

    Your retailers are just like ours over here; gormless, unpatriotic and pathologically incapable of spotting the inconsistency in their statements. Nice one, Mark, I did not know Mr Harvey had advocated this abomination.

  6. Since my experience of the public reaction to Gerry Harvey (across all age groups, all social classes, and both sexes) is the same as that which James described in his comment at 11:47, I don't think Harvey will ever recover from this self-imposed humiliation. My only regret is that it hadn't occurred earlier, before he acquired a certain clout as (ahem) immigration policy analyst. Expect, in the next month or so, an announcement that he'll be stepping down to "spend more time with his family."

    The worst of Harvey's many bad decisions in the latest matter was to whine about how upset he had been by the hostile criticism via Facebook, Twitter etc. What would Harvey have us do? Abolish social media in order to soothe his ego? Australians will tolerate a great deal of nonsense from those who aspire to lead them, but unless you are a sporting star, mindless displays of self-pity are not considered acceptable.