What is it that motivates the entrepreneur Clive Palmer?

Expert Answers
Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is hard to say what motivates a person unless they make some declaration of their own about what drives or motivates them. We can however perhaps infer a motivation from what is on the public record about Clive Palmer.

motivation: psychology: the process that arouses, sustains and regulates  behaviour. Inducement; incentive; desire to do; interest or drive (Collins and Random House Dictionaries)

We know he is opposed to the Green Party because they want to regulate or even stop mining operations in Australia. This is public knowledge because of Palmer's assertion that the "Greens" are funded by the American CIA (this would not be out of keeping with previous CIA activity). Palmer is being sued for defamation as a result of his remarks yet won't back down, retract his claim or apologize.

We know he is partnering with China on two very large shipping projects, building a duplicate of the Titanic called the Titanic II whose maiden voyage will be from Singapore to Southampton, UK, and building four ocean freighters to reverse the cutbacks in ocean freight shipping caused by the global downturn. His catch phrase seems to be "Let's get the economy moving again" and this seems to apply to Australian and to multinational economies.

We know that he has announced a bid for Parliament in Australia citing disagreement with National Treasurer Swan over their conflicting visions for the economy in Australia. Palmer confirms that he wants the Australian economy to expand and get stronger while they "create more wealth" so more things "can get done for our people."

From these public facts we might be able to infer that Palmer's motivations could be based upon:

  • expansion of the economy, regardless of protection of the environment being his top concern
  • creation of jobs, this being a high concern
  • development of unrealized or stunted industries, this being a prime concern
  • revitalization of unresponsive government, this being a key concern

The unanswered question is whether his inner motive is (1) the creation of personal wealth or (2) the creation of shared wealth accompanied by the reduction of the wealth divide separating the rich from the poor. We certainly know that he is outspoken against government taking advantage of the people by doing such things as voting themselves pay raises and that he rewards his employees for jobs well done.

What we don't know is whether Palmer's idea of creating wealth includes wealth for the lowest levels of workers or not. Is he a nouveau Robber Baron mining magnate, or is he a nouveau Robin Hood? Controversy over the carbon tax may indicate Robber Baron motivation.

Multiple clips of Clive Palmer news interviews and releases.