Whole Foods CEO John Mackey ripped socialism last week during a discussion with the American Enterprise Institute, calling it a “disaster” and noting that it has failed everywhere it has been implemented.
Mackey said that the “single biggest misunderstanding about business and capitalism” was the notion that businesses exist solely to make money, noting that “until we get this corrected, capitalism is always going to be disdained and criticized and attacked.”
“It will be attacked for its motivations because its motivations are seen as somehow they’re impure and yes, of course, business has to make money, business doesn’t make money it’ll fail, but that doesn’t mean that’s its purpose to make money,” he continued. “A good way to explain it is, my body has to produce red blood cells and if I stop producing red blood cells I’m going to die, but just because I have to make red blood cells does not mean the purpose of my life is to produce red blood cells.”
The AEI host asked Mackey about a section in his book where he wrote about “cultural intelligence,” specifically three kinds of cultural intelligence: the traditional, the modern, and the progressive.
Mackey slammed the progressive worldview, which he said was distrusting of science “except when it serves their ideology.”
“Progressives, because they they dominate academia, Hollywood, and the media punch way above their weight class in terms of their actual numbers, but that’s the cultural war,” Mackey added.
While saying that some of the things that progressives value are important, Mackey added, “but we can’t throw out capitalism and replace it with socialism.”
“That will be a disaster,” Mackey continued. “Socialism has been tried 42 times in the last 100 years, and 42 failures, it doesn’t work, it’s the wrong way. We have to keep capitalism, I would argue, we need conscious capitalism.”
Mackey said some of the additional “disasters of progressivism” were that it teaches people to not be patriotic about America and portrays the country as “the worst that’s ever existed.” He added that progressivism was authoritarian, self-righteous, and canceled people who have different views. Mackey also noted that Whole Foods has had multiple stores that have been damaged in “peaceful protests” by the political Left.
Mackey said that actions by the Left have made it “harder to do business” since America is in “kind of a rocky place right now.” Mackey specifically mentioned the “defund the police” movement, saying that the company has to hire significantly more security guards now.
Mackey said that the culture in the business world needs to evolve, “otherwise the socialists are going to take over and that’s the path to poverty.”
“They talk about trickle-down wealth, but socialism is trickle-up poverty,” Mackey continued. “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.”
“Innovationism is the greatest thing that humanity’s ever created,” Mackey continued. “I mean if you go back 200 years ago when innovationism was really beginning to pick up steam, 94% of everybody alive on the planet on earth lived on less than two dollars a day, 94% percent, only 6% made more than two dollars a day and that’s in today’s dollars. Today that’s under 10%.”
“The average lifespan 200 years ago was 30 now it’s 72.6 in advanced countries, developed countries it’s closer to 80,” Mackey continued. “Illiteracy rates 200 years ago across the planet were 88%, now they’re 12%.”
“Business people are not the villains of the story, they’re the heroes of the story,” he added. “The entrepreneurs are the ones that create great progress and they’re universally vilified.”
He added that the whole reason that socialism has gained steam is because people have been falsely indoctrinated into believing that businesses are motivated by greed and exploitative.
“That is wrong,” he said. “Capitalism is the greatest thing humanity’s ever done, we told a bad narrative and we’ve let the enemies of business and the enemies of capitalism put out a narrative about us that’s wrong, it’s inaccurate and it’s doing tremendous damage to the minds of young people. We have to counter that.”
Mackey also slammed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) “Green New Deal,” saying that it will cause the U.S. to regress.
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