GaryVee and False Hopes in a System on the Verge of Collapse

Carlos Cruz

BY CARLOS CRUZ MOSQUERA

More than two thousand years ago, Jesus of Nazareth is said to have performed his first miracle at a wedding celebration in a town named Cana. Cana was allegedly located in the mountainous region of Galilee, which is today occupied by Israel. After the wedding guests drank all of the wine, Jesus’ mother urged him to intervene. Jesus proceeded, so the story goes, to turn water into wine, causing an uproar among the wedding guests. There is not a shred of empirical evidence, of course, that this ever actually occurred. Regardless, the purpose of this legend is to implant in believers of the Abrahamic religions a sense of absolute faith in their prophets and, ultimately, a sense of hope of eternal salvation.

Two thousand years later, hope dealing continues to be a profitable venture — not just for religious institutions. Wealthy figures like Gary Vaynerchuk, more commonly known as GaryVee, have also discovered this. GaryVee was propelled into the limelight thanks to his family’s wine company, multiplying their earnings with his business “miracles” in the early 2000s. Since then, the outspoken businessman has outgrown his role in the family business to become a world-famous motivational speaker and business coach. Despite the fact that the family business was making millions a year since he was a child, he is a self-proclaimed “entrepreneur.” That is, although GaryVee was raised in a wealthy household that earned millions annually, he portrays himself as someone who made it from nothing and, as a consequence, cementing the false idea that we can all become wealthy at will. 

Gary Vee speaks at the 2017 SXSW Conference and Festivals. | Source: Mary Stevens, CNBC

This false narrative provides a sense of hope, a sense of possible salvation from the exploitative tentacles of the capitalist system, by claiming we can become masters of our own destinies through becoming capitalist masters ourselves. What GaryVee — and the rest of the capitalist hope-dealing movement — keep from their faithful followers is that in order to become wealthy, one must already be wealthy. Those who have truly become rich from nothing are so rare and irrelevant in the grand scheme of things that you are better off playing the lottery and praying for your numbers to come up. 

Beyond the statistical unlikelihood of becoming a wealthy entrepreneur from nothing in this global capitalist system, we must, above all else, explore the moral implications of modern business entrepreneurship. There is no ethical way to become wealthy and successful in a global system that is, by default, terribly exploitative and destructive. More concretely, there is no way to achieve success within this system without directly or indirectly causing human suffering and environmental wreckage. 

GaryVee, to give just one example, has invested heavily in the ridesharing company Uber, which is infamous for exploiting its employees and contributing to carbon-dioxide pollution. If we delve even deeper, the company has contributed to human suffering and exploitation in the Global South, where it has created an unsustainable demand for petroleum. In the long term, then, even in the unlikely event that you do become a successful businessperson in this system, it is guaranteed that you will be contributing to the vilest economic order in human history. Furthermore, even if this does not concern you, you will at some point be forced to be concerned given the inevitability of capitalist crisis and impending environmental catastrophe.

Ultimately, what we at ANTICONQUISTA suggest is not just an active disinterest in the false hopes offered by the likes of GaryVee and other false prophets thrown at us by capitalist elites but, most importantly, an urgent movement to dismantle global capitalism. Our critique and discouragement of individualist financial success under this system should not be viewed as a general pessimism of success or of overcoming our socio-economic struggles. It should be read as inspiration to invest our time, energy and money to a movement that bases its success on collective advancement and that prioritizes the reversal of environmental damage. In the long term, this is the only stable way that we can become truly wealthy. 

If you agree with this stance, please help us support the dismantling of the global-capitalist system. Help us support revolutionary organizations in the Global South that are carrying out this work.

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