On Monday’s "The Lang and O’Leary Exchange," the co-host said it was “fantastic” that a recently released Oxfam report states the world’s 85 richest people hold the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the planet’s population.
“This is a great thing because it inspires everybody, gets them motivation to look up to the one 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. “This is fantastic news and of course I’m going to applaud it. What can be wrong with this?”
Oxfam’s report, titled Working For The Few, warns extreme inequality can allow the wealthy to influence government policy for their benefit, exacerbate social tensions and raise the risk of “societal breakdown.”
While Oxfam acknowledged some inequality encourages innovation and ambition, its report says “the extreme levels of wealth concentration occurring today threaten to exclude hundreds of millions of people from realizing the benefits of their talents and hard work.”
If action isn’t taken to reverse extreme inequality, “we will soon live in a world where equality of opportunity is just a dream,” Oxfam Executive Director Winnie Byanyima said in a news release.
But on Monday’s show, co-host Amanda Lang simply responded with a moment of silence and asked O’Leary, “Really?”
She continued, “So somebody living on a dollar a day in Africa is getting up in the morning and saying, ‘I’m going to be Bill Gates’?”
“That’s the motivation everybody needs,” O’Leary replied.
Well, there you have it. Watch the full show here.
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