Saying the quiet part out loud

(AP Photo/Ben Margot)

You have to hand it to property developer Tim Gurner–he pulls no punches.

Most people in his position would try to hide their contempt for the hoi polloi, but in front of his peers, he let his freak flag fly.


In a very limited sense, he has a point: There is a class of younger employees who believe that they should get paid for not working, but the solution to that problem isn’t creating mass unemployment to put the proles in their place. It is much simpler: don’t hire people with massive red flags, whose only qualification is a gender studies degree from Yale.

The blue hair, body modifications, and the pronouns in the bio are a tell. Install a probationary period during which there is a lot of documented feedback, and fire the poor performers.

Gurner is a bit disconnected from the realities of being a line worker.

Mr Gurner runs a company which has a development and management portfolio worth $9.5billion.

This year he came in at 192 on the Rich 250 list, with an estimated net worth of $677million.

To me what was striking about his spiel about the lazy masses were two admissions:

  1. That he wants unemployment to skyrocket, and
  2. That he believes that is exactly what government is trying to do.

On the second point he is pretty obviously right. That is the point of the interest rate increases we have seen around the world. The theory is that inflation exists because the economy is too hot right now, and the solution is to restrain the money supply to get supply and demand back  in balance.

Again, there is a nugget of truth buried in this arrogant mishmash: During the pandemic vast quantities of money got dumped into the economy to prop it up and keep the masses quiet as productivity crashed. Too many dollars started chasing an artificially constrained supply of goods. People really were paid too much to do too little, because that is precisely what the government wanted to keep us docile during the lockdowns and production cuts governments imposed.

It was, predictably, not going to end well. It didn’t even begin well, as supplies of basic goods declined while some luxury goods became much easier to buy. It was all a result of government policy.

And the painful solution being pursued is: Lose your job and learn your place, peasant.

It’s easy to see Gurner as the stereotypical rich capitalist who sees workers as cogs to exploit in the great economic machine, but actually his attitude is little different from the technocrats who turn dials and flip switches to direct the economy as they desire. The grotesque deficit spending of the past few years, the vast expansion of the money supply, and now the tightening of credit to bring down inflation are policy tools designed to do exactly what Gurner is calling for.


He puts it in personal terms, which sounds worse than how the politicians would, but to the extent that politicians muck around with the economy (which is a ton) they are doing exactly what he is calling for.

The whole point of central banks and government fiscal policies is to manage the economy and by extension our lives. Build Back Better is all about beating the economy into submission, which is another way of saying manipulate supply and demand in goods and services. The government decides where capital is allocated, what you can buy, whether your income shrinks or expands, and ultimately how you behave.

Gurner is just saying out loud what advocates of government intervention in the economy actually do every day. They tell us that it is for our own good, but look around. Do you buy that?

I don’t.

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