Famous entrepreneur calls for more philanthropy

I think Dick Smith has a point below. He overlooks the very important fact that competition between Coles and Woolworths is benefiting all Australians in the form of lower prices so I don't agree that Coles should pull back from its marketing strategy.

At the risk of sounding like a Leftist, however, it does seem rather obscene to me that people with lots of money don't use a substantial part of it to help others. I give money away constantly as does Dick Smith so both of us do literally put our money where our mouths are. One might also note that both Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are in the process of giving most of their money away to worthy causes

And philanthropy is much more efficient than taxes. Government inefficiency and waste is legenday whereas philanthropy will generally get the money straight to the intended beneficiary

COLES boss Ian McLeod is destroying the livelihoods of Australian farmers with a "new form of extreme capitalism", says entrepreneur Dick Smith. The criticism follows reports the supermarket chief pocketed a $15.6 million pay cheque for 2010/11.

"Where does this extra money come from?" asked Mr Smith, a former retail electronics king and one-time Australian of the Year. "This salary and most of Coles' increase in profit clearly comes directly from Aussie farmers and Aussie processors as they are destroyed by this new form of extreme capitalism."

Coles sales have soared under Mr McLeod, with a 21 per cent lift in earnings last financial year. Mr McLeod's reward was a total salary of $15.6 million for the 12 months to June, including $11 million in bonuses.

Mr Smith said the flip side of "this greed" would be a crisis in rural areas, with "country towns boarded up, more rural suicides".

"Aussie farmers are now ploughing in their crops and Aussie processors are sacking workers and closing down because they cannot sell at a price that will even cover their costs because of the huge push by Coles to buy at lower and lower prices," he said in a statement. "Why keep pushing down down prices are down - and putting more and more Aussie farmers and workers on the scrap heap?"

Last Christmas, Mr Smith labelled chief executives of Australia's big four banks greedy.

Then last month he threatened to name and shame rich people who don't contribute to the community, saying if they don't want to open their wallets they can "rack off".

Mr Smith said the rich in the US donate about 15 per cent of their income, while Australia's wealthy give less than one per cent.

Today he called on Mr McLeod to "give something back". "Ian McLeod, you've done incredibly well out of Australia ...," he said. "I look forward to hearing that you are fulfilling your obligation as a wealthy person and have become well known publicly as a major philanthropist."


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