Can You Swallow $2?

How far can your $2 go?  A meal?  In most underdeveloped places, that could be good for a day. Not a big deal really as their people just got used to it what with their nation’s long, ailing economic condition.  It’s a pity.  However, when Gina Rinehart disparaged Australian labor costs as to the willingness of Africans to work for $2 a day – many got naturally irked.

2 Kangaroo Dollars.

And I agree with Wayne Swan‘s sentiments, it’s an insult indeed.  More so, I see this as a lack of sympathy for Africans and arrogance on the part of Rinehart.

Anyhow, we could perceive that the root of such is simply wanting more profits.  Understandable but as a Business Leader, one has to be empathic, after all, you can not really do things alone.  Yes, the slowdown of the economy can be frustrating but it’s no time to gripe and put sacks on others’ backs but be a resourceful and hard-working Leader.  That while it makes sense to spend less time drinking, smoking and socializing, and more time working to make more money – Rinehart’s $2 comment and suggestion to reduce minimum wage was demoralizing.

How did she get rich anyway?  While credit goes to her for expanding the Hancock business, she did not in truth start with zero.  Thus, she can not just threaten or blame her government, or burden people when, in fact, she has even already amassed a fortune from her own country’s resources.

See, if minimum wages were reduced without lessening prices of goods and services, what would happen?  This would only make Rinehart even richer and the workers dead tired and poorer.

Among her other suggestions:  I say, the abolition of taxes would do no good to governments who uses it to provide basic services although lowering taxes would spur investment.  Cutting red tape and changing industrial relations laws would help if the process has been carefully reviewed and simplified.  On the other hand, pushing for an SEZ is a good one.  However, boosting Australia’s or any other nation’s productivity categorically starts with investment, resource and cost management, policies, laws and tax structures, attitude, innovation, and process improvement.

What could Rinehart do for the economy, Australia, and herself?

  • Lower her export prices after an agreement with governments and other players among others. This would have a domino effect, this is why she would need to extend communications to all in the food chain.
  • Buy or build her own barges for transporting her minerals.
  • Expand her market more.  Invest.
  • Help companies that uses her minerals to survive and thrive.
  • Cut costs without truly burdening her people but focus on being a lean organization.  And as a Billionaire chair, be an example, try living with $20 a day just like Zong Qinghou to feel her $2 comment and understand people better.
  • For those who has the money but blames government and taxes – do VC.  With good projects, it’d help emerging entrepreneurs, your country, and your pocket.

Wealth can not really influence public opinion unless you give them money or if one’s naive, but, it could help the wealthy be heard.  What could shape a thinking public is if the deal or scenario would truly benefit them long term.

What’s your take?