Big Think on The Future of Capitalism

By John Mackey, November 15, 2010  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by John Mackey
I recently discussed some of my ideas on Conscious Capitalism for a special video series produced by Big Think on The Future of Capitalism. I’m very excited about the evolution of Capitalism and how it will support continual innovation and human creativity. Capitalism is, I believe, the only global force capable of eliminating poverty. The entire discussion (about 29 minutes) is on the Big Think website. (They've also loaded shorter clips of specific topics.) Big Think is an innovative global forum dedicated to connecting people and ideas.

 

30 Comments

Comments

Lizbeth says ...
Where do we draw the line for standards in our foods. As long as we give an inch to those who are degrading our food for profit, they will take a mile. In America we waste enormous amounts of food; with a little care in our buying choices, we could offset the higher cost of growing/raising food. I shop at a local farmers market (since we don't have a wholefoods -- 750,000 people here and not wholefoods???) and yes, the organic food is more expensive, but it is also fresher and lasts longer. Therefore less waste. What does this have to do with responsible capitalism? There's no reason we can't have healthy, clean food that is affordable. If the government subsidized organic growers like they do conventional growers, it probably wouldn't cost a whole lot more. Just like recycling. A recycled can costs more because the company that produces it is not subsidized. We pay for cheaper foods through our taxes. It's time for that to change.
12/04/2010 9:19:58 AM CST
Steven Kalch says ...
What you are see today in the world is a perfect example Conscious Capitalism. Media might not be calling it conscious Capitalism but if you listen to the poeople in the street of Eygpt and Tunisa and other countries near the edge of change. People in the US have something in common with other people in the world and that is a better standard of living not only for themselves but for their children. The mind is not idle and Capitalism is a clear expression of the mind at work for good!
02/09/2011 10:24:00 AM CST
Logan says ...
Capitalism has great power to erode society's values, but when the levers and influences of capitalism are aligned with clearly cut values, philosophy and non-commercial goals... it can truly shape a nation into something more productive, competitive and beneficial to the Earth, its people and the quality of life. Today, more than ever, there is naturally a growing number of opponents to modern capitalism. But with companies such as Whole Foods Markets, Inc. are able to bring a new mutation, if I may, to capitalism that truly aligns and balances capitalistic ventures with the potential social, economic and environment outputs of operations. If an organization can create a charter promising to adhere to several fundamental goals that are benefit society, the economy and the environment... and regularly run compliance audits and evaluate capitalistic venture against this charter...... ... I think that capitalism can truly transform our nation into something more uplifting and positive than anyone before us.
11/21/2010 6:09:41 PM CST
Kristi says ...
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU FOR NOT GIVING UP ON THE BOISE, IDAHO STORE! I CAN HARDLY WAIT FOR IT TO BE BUILT AND OPEN.
12/07/2010 11:14:29 AM CST
Kathy Beltz says ...
What a beautiful insight on Capitalism. Redefining the meaning to a total helpful and positive out look to better our planet. JUST ANOTHER REASON TO LOVE "WHOLE FOODS."
11/22/2010 12:03:00 PM CST
Shayne says ...
You have a lot more in common with David Korten then you know, based on some of these videos. Still don't think you're seeing the bigger picture when it comes to money. You should read his new book Agenda for a New Economy. He has some amazing wisdom into the old paradigm's cultural stories and how we get out of them. www.livingeconomiesforum.org
11/22/2010 12:21:16 PM CST
Anne says ...
Well, John when I was 13, I read Atlas Shrugged (and everything else by Ayn Rand), then by 18 I realized human nature does not work that way. And some folks such as my twin sister who has downs syndrome, I have a PhD in chemistry, so clearly we are not identical, will need "handouts. I thought I was Dagny, until I realized I was merely Kira.
11/22/2010 3:44:13 PM CST
John E. Gibbons says ...
Mr. Mackey: Your support of capitalism does not square with Whole Foods recent adoption of truly outrageous standards in the U.S. for the growing and purchase of meat, poultry and other products. These standards will unnecessarily raise the cost of foods and give questionable environmental groups undeserved power which will be used as a club against otherwise legitimate growers and farmers. Humane standards for the treatment of farm animals is a legitimate goal but your adopted standards are over the top. John E.Gibbons
11/24/2010 1:32:58 PM CST
Doug Rex says ...
I have shopped at many whole foods stores for the last 15 years from Philadelphia, Chicago, Austin, New Oleans and many points in between. I attribute my being 68 and on NO drugs to what I learned, purchased, and practised from visiting Whole Foods. I find it very difficult though to understand WF's seemingly to back progressive ideals when the American Free Enterprise System created the very businesses and products that are in your stores, WF's promotes taking care of yourself while progressive thought is that government knows best. I don't want to buy my Organic Farms Eggnog from my pharmacist anytime soon. Just some thoughts around Christmas time.
12/17/2010 11:38:25 PM CST
Elizabeth Teklinski says ...
Dear John, I am writing about you in my metanarrative dissertation on consciousness transformation in terms of the spiritual Hero's Journey. I am a fourth year PhD student, salesperson and permission marketer, longterm student of The Course, Spiral Dynamics, Sri Aurobindo, and Ken Wilber. I have been very inspired by your story and your insights on conscious capitalism. Warm regards, Elizabeth Teklinski
01/11/2011 9:49:00 PM CST
John Jay Myers says ...
Mr. Mackey, thank you so much for your continued support of the Free Market. I have also really enjoyed your thoughts on the health care industry. I work for the Libertarian Party of Texas, I also ran for chair of the National Party, I would really like to talk to you in regards to the State Party. But more importantly I would like to talk to you about a crazy, wild idea that I have, that I hope you might consider for having fun and spreading the word about truly free markets during 2012. And by having fun, I mean getting attacked from all sides for being the John Galt of our day. Sounds like fun to me. John Jay
02/08/2011 8:53:40 PM CST
Derek Dostal says ...
Truly Capitalism is what can battle poverty. Unfortunately there are few leads in Corporate America that take on the same social responsibility that you do. If you walk into any Whole Foods Market, you will find employees that have been absorbed from other spots of society and from parts that failed in economy and retrained them. Giving those that might be seasoned a chance is not just Capitalism but socially responsible capitalism. If more took actions as you, the better off we all would be. Derek Dostal Founder YouStartMonday.com
01/20/2011 4:46:07 PM CST
Aaron says ...
Don't you think that's a little overly simplistic? I mean, sure, positive and all, and we all love to hear positivity, but can you read the histories of this planet and specifically capitalism and believe that? As many times as not, capitalism has resulted in degrading working conditions, racism and ill health for generations of workers. It's been our technological advancements COMBINED with capitalism that have elevated the planet to a place where 7 billion can live and breath. It's important to remember that the price along the way has been quite high for many.
05/03/2011 7:57:03 AM CDT
Dakota Fox says ...
Hey John, This is off topic from your blog article however, I was just hoping to reach you! I'd like to say your a bright star in todays world. More specifically your cutting your salary to assist your company when it was in a time of need. I only wish more people could follow your example. I only wish our elected officals had the heart to do things the way you have. Our country spirals into debt over 14 Trillion as I recall and our nations leaders decide on ways to spend more of our money! Through their own pay checks! (Which around all this debt collection they haven't been so worried as to take a pay cut)And finding ways to "stimulate" our economy. Sorry! I don't want to start a political debt, but I'd like to thank you. You set a strong example in a time when people only think about themselves!
02/11/2011 7:21:01 AM CST
Jose Luis Acevedo says ...
Very great ideas Mr. Mackey I also agree with you in believing, the only global force capable of eliminating poverty that is very true. I know we have never talk before or going your blog. I am big fan of Whole Foods Market is just more than shopping in Whole Foods. I was wondering I know you are a very busy person. My team in Cal State Fullerton is doing a senior project regarding Whole Market. I would like to invite you to participate in our class presentation. Just talk about Whole Foods Market how it began and the future of the company. Thank you, Luis
02/15/2011 6:11:11 PM CST
Chuck Martens says ...
I have written a program which I've entitled,"Social Security, The Inconvenient Facts". The purpose of the program is to take discussions of Social Social from the philosophical abstract to a factual reality. I have expanded my program to include health care and the subsequent elimination of Medicare. After reading your article in the WSJ, I think we're headed in the same direction with my program taking a slight turn. Times have changed, but our approach to these subjects have not. We keep on trying to fit square pegs into round holes. If you would care to review my program, please feel free to contact me.
02/16/2011 5:31:53 AM CST
Dawn G says ...
Here in the town of Flint Michigan, we need a store just like the ones you have else where. We have a store that went out of bussiness a few years ago. When would you be putting a store up in are area? The store iI am talking about is the old Farmer Jack's on Lapeer Rd. and Center Rd. It was brand New Store only used for a few years. We do not have any stores like the one's you have done. Please Help use out here in Flint!
01/31/2011 1:34:51 PM CST
Carter says ...
I'm from Austin and grew up with WF...I now live in Brasil and one of my most cherished things to do when Im back home is camp out at the Austin store, relishing the perks of economies of scale and capitalism. From your corporate standpoint, will, or when, will you begin international expansion to Brasil? Are there currently any plans underway? thanks oh, and well done
02/01/2011 12:41:37 PM CST
meg wolff says ...
I like what the women above said, "Redefining the meaning to a total helpful and positive out look to better our planet." I think Whole Foods/you are doing that with your Whole Foods Healthy Initiative and Health Starts Here program. I've studied nutrition for a number of years and feel that this could be a good model for the medical Community. Thanks for being a pioneer and stepping up to bat helping others make the connection between food and health! Big kudos to WFM!
02/24/2011 7:26:49 AM CST
Angelica Moretti says ...
I'm Brazilian and would like to know your comments about the international expansion to here too. I would also like to be involved in that. Many interests in common, I think. Best of all,
02/24/2011 3:15:20 PM CST
Daniel Miller says ...
I recently heard you speak in my Business ethics class at UT and was very intrigued by your ideas. I would love to talk more about Conscious Capitalism with you. I am involved in a business venture that, based off hearing you speak, I think you would be interested in. I don't know how else to reach you but I left my email with this post so please email me if you would like to discuss this further.
02/07/2011 11:55:36 PM CST
Aaron says ...
Be the Hero Hello Mr. Mackey, We at the Society of Libertarian Entrepreneurs have come up with a clear and empowering answer to the real question: how can we truly implement liberty? Our answer is conveyed in a short, entertaining, and inspiring video on our website at WhoisMises.com I invite and encourage you to watch our manifesto video and share it with your audience! http://WhoisMises.com Thank you for taking the time to check out our site. If you have any comments or questions feel free to contact me. Sincerely, Tom Garrett President, Society of Libertarian Entrepreneurs WhoisMises.com
03/28/2011 1:52:56 PM CDT
chadfredlott@mac.com says ...
@ John- Actually, when you consider brand identity and consumer demand, the meat standards square perfectly with capitalism. If a meat business doesn't want to meet those standards, there are plenty of other markets willing to buy their product. With the backlash against "crappy" meat a business has to decide if it's best for its image to be associated with bargain in the long run. If a business wants product to be sold at Whole Foods then they have to meet the standards. Whole Foods shoppers are loyal, see value in paying premium and are frequently early adopters (these are facts, just look for thhe annual report WFM puts out for shareholders). The value of reaching this shopper is considerable and provides incentive beyond abstract enviromental issues to modify practices. No one is forcing anyone to do anything and consumers are better informed. Sounds like the mythical free market to me.
03/02/2011 1:39:07 PM CST
Mike Allsup says ...
I am a recently early retired engineer, now living in Brazil, investing in WFMI and wishing we had access to your stores here in Rio Grande do Sul Brasil. We need you here!
03/31/2011 8:09:04 PM CDT
Kenny says ...
Capitalism is about... capital. Placing the value of profit before doing good is NOT how to save the world. Yes, it's a stepping stone toward stability, away from corrupt governments and poor economies. But it's not the beeline toward the ideal we need, asap. Capitalism is replicating nature, smartly, at first glace (fittest survives)... yay nature. But to what end? How is America looking? How's our kid's health? Attention span? How's the local river doing? How effective is our government in sowing solutions to pressing problems? What is the answer? Beats me so far. But I know it's out there. And I know it's not Capitalism as it stands today. It's not working for our happiness, our health, our planet. Unless social entrepreneurship finds away to beat out the old hierarchy of ceo values, I'm going to wince at 'yay capitalism' speak. Why aren't biobags in all your stores produce sections? Why aren't there solar panels on all your stores? Why don't you offer more local produce, and with more variety? Why shy away from proclaiming the harsher truths - about meat eating and greenhouse gasses... plastic packaging leaching into foods... toxins in fish... sugar in cereals... etc etc. Oh right. I know why. Might scare away a few dollars. Strap one on. Your customers aren't going to be scared away. We're waiting for you to TRULY be the business that matches our passions... and ideals. People first. Not dollars. THAT, beautifully will win you... more people. YAY! Teach ethics of humanity before, in tandem and above the tenets of how to compete ruthlessly and you will TRULY enrich those people.
05/17/2011 11:25:37 AM CDT

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