At a 2016 business forum, Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg belittled farmers and factory workers, saying “I can teach anybody … to be a farmer.”
Bloomberg on why farmers can’t work in information technology
MB: “I can teach anyone how to be a farmer 1 dig a hole 2 put a seed in 3 put dirt on top 4 add water 5 up comes the corn”
— Pete (@NYBackpacker) February 15, 2020
Speaking to the Distinguished Speakers Series at the University of Oxford Saïd Business School, Bloomberg was explaining why he believed there was a cultural and political divide in America: farmers and factory workers just didn’t have the “gray matter” to adjust to the information age.
“The agrarian society lasted 3,000 years and we could teach processes. I could teach anybody, even people in this room, no offense intended, to be a farmer,” Bloomberg said.
“It’s a process. You dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, add water, up comes the corn. You could learn that. Then we had 300 years of the industrial society. You put the piece of metal on the lathe, you turn the crank in the direction of the arrow and you can have a job. And we created a lot of jobs.”
But the multi-billionaire businessman said the information economy is not so simple because “the skill sets that you have to learn are how to think and analyze” and that is “fundamentally different,” from agriculture or manufacturing, he told the audience.
“You have to have a different skill set, you have to have a lot more gray matter. It’s not clear the teachers can teach or the students can learn, and so the challenge of society of finding jobs for these people, who we can take care of giving them a roof over their head and a meal in their stomach and a cell phone and a car and that sort of thing.”
Bloomberg has been plagued of late by comments he made before announcing his presidential bid. His previous political experience has been as mayor of New York City, where he promoted the “stop and frisk” policy that targeted minorities when police stopped people on the street to search for weapons or drugs.
Bloomberg apologized for that policy but audio from a Feb. 6, 2015 Aspen Security Institute event recently surfaced where the former mayor was vigorously defending stop and frisk, even if police had to “throw” minority males “up against the wall and frisk them.”
Author: David Krayden