From the mouths of capitalists: ‘We need to see unemployment rise’
Real estate billionaire Tim Gurner speaks at the Property Summit Tuesday.

Revealing the true sentiments of the capitalist class, Australian billionaire real estate developer Tim Gurner declared Tuesday that “arrogant” workers must be tamed and that to do that “unemployment has to rise.”

The surge in worker power that has been seen globally over the past few years has ruling elites upset, and Gurner is giving voice to their frustrations.

Speaking at a “Property Summit” hosted by the Australian Financial Review newspaper, Gurner said it was necessary to “remind people that they work for the employer, not the other way around.”

Not content with the 20% margins his property developments currently bring in, Gurner pinpointed labor costs and lower productivity as threats to profits. He said the pandemic made employees lazy, and they’re expecting too much pay for their work.

“People decided they didn’t really want to work so much anymore through COVID, and that has had a massive effect on productivity.” Talking about the skilled tradespeople who build his condo towers, Gurner derisively remarked, “They have been paid a lot to do not too much in the past few years, and we need to see that change.”

Gurner, the anti-aging guru, on the cover of Forbes magazine.

His solution: Raise unemployment—massively. Gurner called for joblessness to rise “40 to 50%” in order to discipline workers: “We need to see pain in the economy.” He said Australia’s government was too “supportive of the unions” and their demands for higher wages.

Exposing the truth that class struggle is all too real, Gurner pushed for harsher measures to control workers who become conscious of their exploitation by bosses and in turn demand more respect on the job and bigger paychecks.

“We need to remind people that they work for the employer, not the other way around.” He slammed workers who have dared to question the dictatorial power bosses have in the workplace. “There’s been a systematic change where employees feel the employer is extremely lucky to have them, as opposed to the other way around.”

Gurner argued that it’s better to have desperate workers eager to have any job they can get. He advocated tipping the scales back in favor of bosses and removing any gains workers might have made over the last few years in terms of bargaining power and confidence.

“We’ve got to kill that attitude” among “arrogant” workers, he said. “And that has to come through hurting the economy.”

Gurner praised central bank officials in various countries for doing just that by sending interest rates soaring. “The governments around the world are trying to increase unemployment to get that to some sort of normality.”

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And the effort is working, according to Gurner, thanks to “massive layoffs.” He happily announced, “We’re starting to see less arrogance in the employment market and that has to continue.”

For someone so concerned about how hard others are supposedly not working, Gurner didn’t exactly toil his way to the top. The seeds of his real estate fortunes are to be found in easy-term loans he scored early on from business connections and family.

He’s known as a youth-obsessed “biohacker” who takes ice baths and swallows 50-60 different vitamins and supplements a day in an attempt to stay young. In addition to his property empire, he also owns a chain of “holistic wellness centers” under the name Saint Haven.

At these “anti-aging clubs,” he peddles an endless array of scents, “Fountain of Youth” elixirs, and other quack gimmicks to fellow members of the ruling class. The cost of membership is reportedly $23,000 per year.

He first became infamous in the meme and social media world in the pre-pandemic period for being “Avocado Toast Guy.” He’s the one who alleged young people can’t afford housing because they spend too much on brunch—not because their wages are too low, their job opportunities too few, or because property prices are exploding.

These latest remarks are earning him fresh scorn. Australian opinion columnist Mark Di Stefano wrote on Wednesday:

Social media users enjoyed turning Gurner’s words back on him, as seen in this meme shared on Reddit.

“Tim Gurner encapsulates all the fears that regular people have of the property industry. That when landlords and property developers go into functions and hotel ballrooms, they all privately gripe about the ungrateful serfs. But the mask didn’t slip here. Timbo ripped it off.”

The Australian Medical Association also trashed Gurner. Its president, Professor Steve Robson, called Gurner’s remarks “breathtakingly irresponsible.” He tweeted, “Unemployment is associated with a range of adverse health outcomes, including suicide. I say this with some confidence having studied suicide and unemployment.

On the employment social networking site LinkedIn, the attacks on Gurner also rolled in. Calling him “rotten to the absolute core,” one commenter wrote that Gurner “saying he would rather irreparably damage the economy, sink other people’s fortunes, and level personal pain onto millions of workers in order to keep his own money flowing is the epitome of class warfare.”

On Twitter (now known as X), beneath an animation of a falling guillotine, one user wrote: “We need to remind employers that they are nothing without workers. He wants to see pain in the economy? Maybe we should take a lesson from the French.”

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C.J. Atkins
C.J. Atkins

C.J. Atkins is the managing editor at People's World. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from York University in Toronto and has a research and teaching background in political economy and the politics and ideas of the American left.