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Thomas Gallatin / December 3, 2020

Whole Foods CEO Defends Capitalism

Not only that, but John Mackey blasts socialism as “trickle-up poverty.”

Whole Foods might be particularly trendy among Millennial socialist hipsters, but its CEO, John Mackey, believes wholeheartedly in capitalism, especially as a means to help people. In his recent book Conscious Leadership: Elevating Humanity Through Business, Mackey argues that businesses generating wealth by producing and providing goods and services for others are bettering the livelihoods of all communities. We know, shocking stuff.

Mackey acknowledges that his desire to make money was a major reason why he started Whole Foods, but he’s quick to note that it was far from his only or even primary motivation. Rather, his leading passion was to make fresh and healthy food widely available to Americans all across the country. As we noted above, this should not come as a surprise to average Americans, but it will especially resonate with any small business owner.

Mackey laments that too many colleges and universities have reduced the concept of capitalism down to solely and purely a profit-motivated enterprise, which can thereby be declared selfish, dirty, and evil. “We’ve told a bad narrative,” Mackey contends, “and we’ve let the enemies of business and the enemies of capitalism put out a narrative about us that’s wrong. … From an ethical standpoint, we need to change the narrative of capitalism, to show that it’s about creating shared value, not for the few but for everyone.”

Furthermore, Mackey insightfully characterizes socialism as “trickle-up poverty” in a play on the old pejorative “trickle-down economics” that leftists used to throw at Ronald Reagan’s supply-side philosophy. Meanwhile, Mackey asserts that capitalism is the “greatest thing humanity’s ever done.” And judging by the massive number of people across the world that have been freed from poverty due almost entirely to free-market capitalism, he may be correct. One thing’s for certain: While socialism may bring about more equity, it has only done so at the cost of prosperity, individual freedom, and millions of lives. Capitalism enables and encourages ingenuity and diversity, whereas socialism depresses and destroys such motivations by dragging and holding people down, effectively killing any incentive toward excellence.

Coming from the head of a major American corporation, this is a welcome and truthful message that needs regular repeating to today’s “woke” social justice-minded youths, though maybe even more so to the “woke” corporatists leading the biggest companies. Capitalism empowers people; socialism enslaves them.

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