‘You put a seed in, you put dirt on top’: Michael Bloomberg comes under fire for dig at farming suggesting it’s easy, takes less ‘gray matter’ and that anyone could do it, after 2016 comments resurface
- The former New York City mayor was comparing agrarian society to the industrial revolution and the information economy
- The billionaire made the comments at a University of Oxford forum in 2016
- He is competing in the upcoming Super Tuesday primaries across the South
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg appeared dismissive of America’s farmers, claiming he could teach ‘anybody’ to be a farmer.
The Boston area native made the comments at the University of Oxford while discussing how an ancient agrarian society transformed into an information-driven economy – of the kind that helped him become the billionaire head of a media technology empire.
‘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 during his 2016 remarks.
GETTING AN EARFUL: ‘You dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, add water, up comes the corn. You could learn that.’ The comment drew criticism from the Bernie Sanders campaign
He made the remarks at Oxford in 2016 (pictured on the stage)
‘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,’ Bloomberg said.
He continued, in comments captured on video: ‘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. At one point, 98 percent of the world worked in agriculture, now it’s 2 percent in the United States.’
‘Now comes the information economy and the information economy is fundamentally different because it’s built around replacing people with technology and the skill sets that you have to learn are how to think and analyze, and that is a whole degree level different,’ Bloomberg continued, making a point about the dignity of work and using incentives to stave off revolution.
PRO-GROWTH: John Mellencamp, Mike Bloomberg, New York Mayor, and Willie Nelson stroll through the farmer’s market in Union Square
The People for Bernie account accused Bloomberg of ‘insulting’ the middle class
‘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. But the thing that is the most important, that will stop them from setting up a guillotine someday, is the dignity of a job.’
Fox News reported on the comments.
The comments were reposted by rival Bernie Sanders’ supporters, as the two candidates battle for support ahead of the Nevada caucuses and Super Tuesday primaries.
Bloomberg has opened his wallet and hired more than 2,000 aides in a bid focused on a clutch of Super Tuesday states. Many include agricultural areas. Among them are Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Minnesota, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.