Whole Foods CEO And ‘Conscious Capitalist’ John Mackey Warns Socialists ‘Taking Over’ U.S.

Whole Foods CEO And 'Conscious Capitalist' Mackey Says Socialists 'Taking Over' U.S.
Mackey: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) Gage Skidmore 2/15/13 Whole Foods: Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0) ChadPerez49 7/16/14

Whole Foods grocery stores are not usually the place you might expect to find a lot of capitalists. Or Conservatives. Or libertarians. But its founder and CEO John Mackey is unapologetically a capitalist. And he is warning America, again, that “socialists are taking over.”

Mackey, who has described his economic ideas and concepts “conscious capitalism,” appeared on Thursday on the Reason Magazine podcast to talk about his warning and what he’s seeing coming down the pike.

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Speaking Out

During the interview, Mackey said to host Nick Gillespie:

“My concern is that I feel like socialists are taking over. They’re marching through the institutions. They’re… taking over education. It looks like they’ve taken over a lot of the corporations. It looks like they’ve taken over the military. And it’s just continuing. You know, I’m a capitalist at heart, and I believe in liberty and capitalism. Those are my twin values. And I feel like, you know, with the way freedom of speech is today, the movement on gun control, a lot of the liberties that I’ve taken for granted most of my life, I think, are under threat.”

Mackey has explained his concept of conscious capitalism as a “way of maintaining American business culture while focusing on more than just profit.” He added:

“From an investor’s perspective, the purpose of the business is to maximize profits. But that’s not the purpose for other stakeholders—for customers, employees, suppliers, and the community. Each of those groups will define the purpose of the business in terms of its own needs and desires, and each perspective is valid and legitimate.”

Mackey is stepping down from his leadership role at Whole Foods in August. He says he will be more outspoken about his views once his tenure at the grocery chain is over. 

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Sounding The Warning For A While

Mackey has been sounding the warning bell about America’s slide toward socialism for quite a while. As far back as 2020, while at the American Enterprise Institute, he talked about socialism being a form of “trickle up poverty.” He also spoke about the business culture as a whole:

“It needs to evolve. Otherwise, the socialists are going to take over — that’s how I see it, and that’s the path of poverty. They talk about trickle-down wealth, but socialism is trickle-up poverty. It just impoverishes everything. That’s my fear, that the Marxists and socialists, the academic community is generally hostile to business. It always has been. This is not new.”

Mackey does not discount all progressive ideas outright, however: “We have to recognize that some of the progressive insights are important and they shouldn’t go away, but we can’t throw out capitalism and replace it with socialism. That will be a disaster.”

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Mackey Right About Damaging Minds Of Young People

Mackey also commented on today’s young people in the work force: “Younger people aren’t quick to work because they want meaningful work. This is a mistake. You can’t expect to start with meaningful work. You’re going to have to earn it over time.” 

Mackey also talked about the fact that often, there is a price to pay for “meaningful work,” and that young people don not want to make the sacrifice.

You don’t have to look far to see that John Mackey is spot-on about woke progressive academia corrupting young people about capitalism. While she may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is a shining example of what America’s colleges and universities are teaching young people about capitalism.

Back in February, Ocasio-Cortez was interviewed by Yahoo’s Andy Serwer. She described capitalism as “not a redeemable system,” and “represents a pursuit of profit with disregard for any human, environment and social consequences run by an elite minority.”

If AOC is the trend on how young people view capitalism, perhaps John Mackey’s next venture should be teaching young people about what capitalism really is.

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