Competitive Edge

By Kate Lowery, January 20, 2013  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Kate Lowery

John Mackey, along with co-author Raj Sisodia, business professor and co-founder of the Conscious Capitalism Institute, lays out a bold blueprint for capitalism in their fresh, new book: “Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business.”

Free enterprise capitalism has been the most powerful creative system of social cooperation and human progress ever conceived, but its perception and its role in society have been distorted. Now is the time to demonstrate to a skeptical world the truth, goodness and heroism of capitalism rather than perpetuate the false stigmas of selfishness, greed and profit maximization. We must revolutionize capitalism and show that businesses are the greatest value creators of all, with the power to push humanity upward for continuous improvement. Here, John talks about the unique opportunity businesses have to unleash creativity.

Let Conscious Capitalism inspire you. Want to know more? Find lots of details in our pressroom and at or at




anna mentzer says ...
I have been a WFM employee for 3 years. I have never kept a FT job for longer then 1 year b/c I have a very strong personality- if they aren't trying to fire me by a year, I'm probably bored and looking for a way out. Not knowing anything about WFM, I immediately fell in love and decided that I would make it my home. It's hasn't always been a pleasant 3 years, but this company blows me away. Coming from food service, things like PTO, healthcare, free shoes, free uniforms, and numerous other perks are unheard of. The day Walter Robb walked up to me, shook my hand and asked how I like my job was even more of an indication of the awesomeness of this company. I have fallen in love with WFM and everyone running the company from the top down. Mr. Mackey, I agree with your comment and I applaud you for speaking up. Speaking up is what you expect of your team members and leadership. It's too bad we live in a country that is not capable of handling the truth. I know this has put you in a sore situation, but I want you to know that I applaud your strength and efforts. If Conscience Capitalism is anything like the WFMU Conscience Leadership, I have even more respect for you and your message. Thank you for everything you have done for me and my family Anna Mentzer
01/20/2013 12:13:40 PM CST
J Douglas Crawford says ...
Thank you for sounding the charge for Conscious Capitalism (CC). In 1962 President Kennedy established a goal of "placing a man on the moon by the end of the decade." Those were the "good old days" when Americans believed capitalism was a force for good in the world...and government created incentives for businesses to achieve the goal. Incentives drove inventors and manufacturers to develop the technology that placed men on the moon and safely returned them to earth. For the past forty years, that same technology has helped save lives, improve communications, expand healthy food production, and educate the world. In 2009, Secretary of the Navy - The Honorable Ray Maybus established a goal of having 50% of the Navy's energy use provided by Renewable, Alternative & Implementable Sustainable Energy (RAISE) by the year 2020. Today, capitalism is unfortunately a bad word and government's answer is not to provide incentives to business to rapidly develop and commercialize RAISE technologies. Rather, new penalties and higher taxes are driving up the cost of the much needed research and development is not affordable. Incentivizing Conscious Capitalism (CC) by businesses to meet the goals needed for the next decade and beyond is essential. Mr. Mackey provides the much needed "point of the spear" we need to capture the people and government's attention and get back to "the good old days" and RAISE CC.
01/21/2013 2:31:18 PM CST
Ram Dutt says ...
I am in complete agreement that conscious capitalism has long lasting impact to the community and sustaining power. This strategy has solid roots where it leverages basic human behavior and beliefs. True conscious capitalism is showcased in our local communities and local businesses. The business survive and thrive only when they practice these principles. Can't wait to get my hands on the book.
01/22/2013 5:41:12 PM CST
richard.bier says ...
I am in the process of reading Conscious Capitalism, and am being so inspired by the foundation and principles that Whole Foods examples. I have been in Wholesale Foodservice on the East Coast for 30+ years, and in Southern Ca. 15 years and excited to see a movement to "Real Food" minus "innert" ingredients. I also see a huge opportunity in the Market Place for Whole Foods that I would appreciate the opportunity to share in a different arena.
01/27/2013 10:08:53 AM CST
Deina Duval says ...
I wrote to WF regarding one of their biggest vendors, UNFI. UNFI is located in Auburn, Wa and has grown from a small locally owned niche market wholesales to the largest organic foods distributor in the country. Trouble is that although they raked in a half a billion in PROFITS last year their response to employees who wanted to set a date to negotiate better pay and benefits was to permanently lay off 71 workers - half their workforce! That workforce makes 25% LESS than other grocery distributor workers in Puget Sound. I suggested in my letter to WF's that they may want to remind their vendors that they are FAIR TRADE marketers and that they are very invested in a compassionate retail model as outlined in John Mackey's new book. Their Global Cust. Info "Specialist" quickly responded that they have no "practical or legal influence"..."hope that the vendor will work this out in favor of the workers...", etc. Of course WF's has PRACTICAL influence just as does every consumer - to make a choice to do business with those who share a value for treating workers in the community with respect. I think WF's customer Info Specialists would do more good taking the time to have discussions that may generate solutions rather than quickly point out the obvious road blocks. Always good to start with finding ways to is just a no-brainer. I think the issue is important. You can't claim to be all about high standards and values and then dismiss the fact that a major supplier wouldn't honor a commitment to at least negotiate with it's workers. So - it may be time to make John's book required reading at WF's and look at this situation as an opportunity to put his words into action where it counts. (I hear the book is "selling" well)
01/28/2013 4:13:32 PM CST
Stephanie Byrne says ...
Thank you for your comments on Conscious Capitalism. I am a Whole Foods Shopper and I agree with your message. It is becoming more and more difficult to speak of this due to the popularity of the Obama movement. It is important for our society for people like you to have a voice.
01/29/2013 4:17:44 PM CST
Tom Bruno says ...
Mr. Mackey: Your assessment of government and the health program as being facism is right on. Thanks for your frankness and guts.
01/30/2013 12:55:27 PM CST
Sharon Mason says ...
Mr. Mackey -- As a man of your convictions how do you reconcile doing business in countries that mandate health insurance? You seem all too eager to do business in the UK and in Cananda, both of which have mandated health care and therefore have "fascist" policies. I am assuming you comply with laws in those countries yet you balk at complying with the laws of the US? My parents were both refugees from fascism and you truly appear not to have a clue of whence you speak. Additionally, my father was a very successful entrepreneur and his motto was that a good businessman never expressed his political opinions publicly because like religion, politics had no business in the marketplace. Perhaps this post will help you understand why I will no longer be shopping at Whole Foods and neither will some of my friends.
02/03/2013 10:23:49 AM CST
M. Renee Orth says ...
Over the past several weeks I've received several texts and e-mails from friends who've seen Conscious Capitalism advertised in WFM and were worried that my own book, Conspiracy of Dreamers: Capitalism at the Service of Humanity, had been trumped. I appreciate their concern, but I'm always excited to find more people surfing this evolutionary wave. I've read most of Conscious Capitalism and am thrilled to hear my own thoughts and words echoed throughout. The foundational ideas are nearly identical, but where Conscious Capitalism addresses business leaders, Conspiracy of Dreamers is about systemic changes we can make from the ground up that will make the job of conscious leaders easier and far more plentiful. In a nutshell, it's about ways we can make capitalism more intelligent so that it brings us more of what we want - education, health, justice - and less of what we don't - inequality, pollution, stagnation - but without growing government. I think of it as a compassionate libertarian manifesto :) Thank you Mr. Mackey and Mr. Sisodia for your contribution to creating a better world.
02/04/2013 11:29:36 AM CST
Robin Shannon says ...
Just heard John talking with Glenn Beck, and at the earliest possible opportunity, I will patronize a Whole Foods location and become a dedicated customer. Thank you, John, for keeping your eyes wide open.
02/07/2013 10:37:06 AM CST
Juan Do says ...
Way to go John! I am a WFM shopper and even though it is more expensive than Fast food, Wal-Mart or Target, it's less expensive than the medical bills I'd be paying if I had diabetes or other diseases. Thank you for providing quality food at a reasonable price. Keep it up! As for the book, I am very intrigued and will read it soon hopefully. I really hope this can spread the message of individual liberty and responsibility.
02/09/2013 10:17:32 PM CST
elan star says ...
Dear John I love all of your stores I have visited traveling around the country ..and I hope your new book will be available in an audio format .Audiobooks are so much more practical than reading time in a stationary position Commuting and traveling and moving demands an audio format. Is there any possible future release of an mp3 or cd version? elan Star Hawaii
02/11/2013 11:56:19 AM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@ELAN - An audio version has not been officially announced but we will make sure to post on here if that happens!
02/12/2013 4:19:20 PM CST
julie dagnillo says ...
I have been so eager to read your book about Conscious Capitalism. I've always thought Capitalism, had many good facets by creating so many opportunities for those who embrace this system in a creative, truthful, self-directed manner. There has been so many people who have done well in this sy, and helped so many others to realize their own potential to better their lives., and take responsibility for their lives. The better people manage their lives, the less gov't is out there to try and control and dictate what each of us should be doing. Less regulation. I am eager to read your thoughts. Have been living in Tucson, for four years w/my family. Moved here from Colo., due to husbands job. live in nw Tucson, and work south, with a new, large Whole Foods that just went up on River Road. Looks very impressive, planning on shopping there, esp., since your philosophy appears to be so refreshing. I shop at another healthfood store in nw, but I plan at shopping at Whole Foods, on my home from work. Thank You for bringing dignity back to our way of life. Julie D.
02/19/2013 11:45:44 PM CST
Rich says ...
Can you please post his talk from sxsw
03/13/2013 7:42:23 PM CDT
Tim Reynolds MD says ...
John, Great great job on book. It speaks to much of what we have been trying to do in our business. I just have not found a source that expresses it in this way. Kudos to you.
03/20/2013 8:59:40 PM CDT