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- Home Depot’s cofounder told The Financial Times nobody wanted to work because of “socialism.”
- Bernie Marcus, 93, claimed that “nobody works, nobody gives a damn.”
- He added that if he founded Home Depot in today’s business climate, it wouldn’t be as successful.
The cofounder of Home Depot said people now lacked the motivation to work because of what he called “socialism.”
The rise of socialism was why “nobody works, nobody gives a damn,” Bernie Marcus said in an interview with The Financial Times on Thursday. “‘Just give it to me. Send me money. I don’t want to work — I’m too lazy, I’m too fat, I’m too stupid’.”
The 93-year-old also said the retailer would not have been very successful had it been launched in today’s business climate. “We would end up with 15, 16 stores. I don’t know that we could go further,” Marcus told the FT.
Marcus and Arthur Blank opened their first two stores in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1979.
Home Depot now has about 2,300 stores in North America and posted sales of $151 billion for its most recent financial year. The company is worth $321 billion and its shares have risen by two thirds over the past five years.
“I’m worried about capitalism,” Marcus told The Financial Times. “Capitalism is the basis of Home Depot [and] millions of people have earned this success and had success. I’m talking manufacturers, vendors and distributors and people that work for us [who have been] able to enrich themselves by the journey of Home Depot. That’s the success. That’s why capitalism works.”
Marcus backed Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016 and again in 2019, triggering calls on social media to boycott Home Depot. The company distanced itself from the remarks in 2019.
He said in the FT interview: “We used to have free speech here. We don’t have it. The woke people have taken over the world. You know, I imagine today they can’t attack me. I’m 93. Who gives a crap about Bernie Marcus?”
Despite having had five heart operations bypasses, Marcus told the FT he “would rather wear out than rust out.”
In October Marcus published his latest book “Kick Up Some Dust: Lessons on Thinking Big, Giving Back, and Doing It Yourself” co-authored with history professor Catherine Lewis.
He told the newspaper that the book was an attempt to explain to his children and grandchildren why he didn’t spend much time with them: “Part of the reason that we wrote the book … was apologizing to them for not being there for everything that they did.”
Marcus and his wife Billi were among the first to sign up to The Giving Pledge, set up by Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and his then-wife Melinda French Gates in 2010. Its signatories promise to dedicate of their wealth to charitable causes in their lifetimes.
Home Depot did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.