Brief - The Hustle

Avocado guy goes viral again and other weird takes from the extremely wealthy

Written by Juliet Bennett Rylah | Sep 14, 2023 10:28:55 PM

Australian real estate CEO Tim Gurner recently suggested that, because people have become “arrogant” and unwilling to work, the nation’s unemployment rate should pop 40%-50% — advocating for ~270k people losing their jobs.

“We need to see pain in the economy. We need to remind people that they work for the employer, not the other way around,” Gurner told the Australian Financial Review Property Summit this week.

That… went over poorly.

Australian Medical Association President Steve Robson called Gurner’s statement “breathtakingly irresponsible,” noting unemployment’s numerous associated health risks, and Financial Review eventually shut down replies.

Who is this guy, other than a Batman villain?

Tim Gurner (estimated net worth: $584m) went viral in 2017 when he said millennials could afford homes if they’d stop eating avocado toast — an instant classic meme that fully ignored the impact of a global recession and skyrocketing housing costs.

People were quick to point out that Gurner’s grandfather helped fund his first business, a gym, and his boss fronted $180k for Gurner’s first investment property.

Elsewhere in the news…

  • Boeing CEO David Calhoun apparently commutes to work via private jet, taking it ~400x between his two east coast homes and the company’s Virginia HQ since 2020.
  • “Housing providers” in Berkeley, California, are holding an autumn mixer to celebrate the end of the state’s eviction moratorium. (The group thinks “landlord” is “pejorative.”)

While funny…

… the virality of stories like these points to the widening gap between the haves and have-nots, and how out of touch these groups have become with one another.

And it’s not even the first time this year that CEOs have been called out for wildly callous comments or behavior. See also: the boss who praised an employee for selling his dog to return to office, or the CEO who told employees to leave “pity city.”

Would his plan even work? Well, it’s actually happier workers who are the most productive.