Mathew Sydney

Dear Ms. Rinehart

(Gina Rinehart is the wealthiest woman in the world. Her recent comments that "the poor are lazy" in 'Australian Resources and Investment Magazine' evoked criticism all over the world. During this Labor Day weekend I took the time to reflect on her comments. Personally, I feel that it is essential to maintain a balance between the interests of labor and the interests of capital.  Most of us don't care for unions, but would you rather earn less than minimum wage and send your children to work in unsanitary conditions? No, of course not. But that was the reality here in the United States before the evolution of unions and of the labor movement.  Hating on labor is just as small-minded as hating on capitalists.  It takes both to build a thriving industry.)

Dear Ms. Rinehart,

I will be frank.  I was at first offended when I heard the statements you made in the ‘Australian Resources and Investment Magazine.’  My first reaction was that it is the height of poor breeding and low morals for a wealthy heiress to criticize the countless people who are struggling to provide for their families, find work and build a decent future.

A moment later, however, I was inspired.  I believe that you are right.  God bless you for your honesty.  Not only am I grateful for your words but I believe that you have a tremendous gift to offer the world.  No, not your money.  I believe you have a powerful message that will change the lives of millions for the better.

Those of us who have trouble finding meaningful work, those of us who are underpaid, laid off, passed over for promotion, abused and saddled with debt are victims of an enemy far more powerful than any man or bank on earth: depression.  When we feel powerless and we allow despair to creep into our hearts then we surrender.  We numb our feelings with drugs and alcohol.  We numb our minds with reality TV and video games.  We go through the motions, do as we’re told and our souls die.

The greatest enemy of the poor is not the rich; it is their own fear and hopelessness that keeps them in chains. 

You are blessed with resources and opportunities that very few people in this world possess.  Like you, I do not believe that handouts are the answer to poverty and joblessness.  I do not believe that the redistribution of wealth fosters democracy any more than allowing the wealthy to have the loudest voice in government.  I believe that if you continue to tell the story of how your family achieved success and if you continue to encourage the common people to be proactive and to take advantage of the opportunities they possess in the free world that you will have a hand in shaping a world far greater than you or I can imagine.  We need you to help us to create a world at peace, where your grandchildren and mine will stand tall, confident in themselves and proud of their place on this planet.

I encourage you to continue to write, to speak, to teach and to, above all else, inspire!

Not everyone who hears your message will listen.  And of those who listen, few will try.  And of those who try, many will fail.  But those who fail yet who continue to try again will succeed brilliantly.  You see, I believe that entrepreneurship is the salvation of the middle class and that without a strong middle class, democracy and freedom will become a mere footnote in history.  Without democracy and freedom, men like your grandfathers will not be able to achieve what they did.  In honor of their memory, and for the sake of men and women like him to come, help us to pave the way for the next generation of entrepreneurs by teaching us the values and skills necessary to compete and to thrive.  For without a thriving middle class, a world with a few billionaires at the top and vast mass of illiterate rabble at the bottom is a very sad and ugly world indeed.

I know that you possess personal richness far deeper than money, share with us the tenacity and spirit you have inherited from your ancestors.

Thank you for inspiring me; I think you and your family are amazing.

Mathew Sydney