The Moral Case for Capitalism

At FreedomFest 2012, I sat down with Reason's Matt Welch to discuss how businesses create value, the politicization of "organic," and the need to shift the narrative of capitalism. Thanks to Reason for allowing me to share the interview here on my blog.

Leave a reply

To provide feedback or ask a question about our company, a store or a product, please visit our Customer Service page.

For more information about posting comments to our blog, please see our Comment Posting Guidelines.

28 comments

Comments

DD says …

John great commentary on capitalism and business!!!

David says …

I love organics, I love Whole Food, I love Freedom Peace and Prosperity. And now I lovw also John Mackey. Thanks always for your great company WFM and for defending liberty and freedom. Free market is moral, social, human and the poors' best friend

Andrew Coyle says …

John Mackey is one of my heroes. He is an example of American vision and drive. It is people like him who can shift consciousness surrounding the damaged view of capitalism.... and Whole Foods is one of my favorite places to be and eat. Andrew

Laura Grock says …

We really appreciate you standing up for capitalism. We would be honored if you would do a PSA for our campaign for capitalism - FreeCapitalismNow.com. Some good people - like Dick Morris of Fox News just did one recently for the campaign. Please take a look at the site and let me know.

TS says …

Impressive commentary and great foundational advice for those just starting their own businesses to those trying to turn theirs around.

Tina Millican says …

John Mackey for President!

Lisa says …

After 7 years Portland transportation finally completes the pedestrian bridge connecting the corbett-lair hill neighborhood with the south waterfront. The streetcar is in and soon the Max will connect the west and east side. The one thing that it's lacking is a premium grocery store. Please be a leader and set the example of urban living. With a Whole Foods in South waterfront, I could eliminate the use of my car contributing a greenier world. The money I save on gas could be spent in your store, a win for you. Please announce your building plans before Fred Meyer or Safeway take the market from you, after all the south waterfront is supposed to be about quality lifestyle not low grade bulk living mass produced markets. Thank you!

kent says …

Excellent articulation and response to the questions. We need more people to stand up for capitalism and business and the great benefits it yields. The various philosophical debates over economic freedom and capitalism need to be opened up and debated so everyone can see the truth of capitalism benefits and the negative effects of intervention. Today we find society accepting that all Capitalism is about is greed , when it is the best system for allocating resources and creating value. Adam Smith , Milton Friedman ,Von Mises and Hayek would all be happy to see such a influential and successful capitalist as Mr. Mackey defending its virtues. Hooray for Jon Mackey!!!!

Debbie Nicol says …

Finally - an evolved leader - thanks John Mackey! I hear two very relevant points in the vid: a. connection can be at the centre of all we do in business! b. business has a great opportunity to be from a responsibility mindset where we can serve all equally! Let's tear off the mask of 'entitlement mindset' that has shrouded business for so long... Long live this mindset!

Alyssa says …

Wow, all I can say is you've missed the mark. Those who are critisizing you, John Mackey & Whole Foods are not control freaks who want their way and all others to conform, nor does their mindet as a majority appear to be negative toward capitalism, however, WE want transparency and a right to KNOW and CHOOSE which products we consume. Carry GE Foods (GMO's) in your marketplace, but require them to be LABELED so WE the CONSUMER can CHOOSE. Do the right thing and make money doing it. How simple.

Ebony Mackey says …

Hello Mr. Mackey. I just would like to say thanks for following your dream and passion. You and your support team have done a great and outstanding job with in the organic and natural food stores industry. I like how Whole Foods Market have local products that give small business a chance to make it within the industry. I also like how you guys network with the local communities and assist them. Keep up the great work.

Ebony M Mackey says …

Keep up the great work Mr. Mackey. You and your team are doing an outstanding job with in the organic and natural industry. Keep supporting the local venders and the communities. Thanks for allowing us to be a part of your vision and dream.

Jennifer Smith says …

As a staunch Libertarian, I really admire you, John. You've got great vision, you encourage personal responsibility in your employees, and your leadership proves that capitalism delivers way more good than harm. I've shopped at Whole Foods for years, both on principle (to support you) and for higher quality food for my family. However, you MUST re-evaluate your stance on GMO's and Prop. 37 in CA. While the bill isn't perfect, I feel it is 100% necessary. If it passes, it will not post a skull and crossbones on packaging. It will merely state that the product may contain GMO's so that people can be informed enough to decide whether or not to purchase the product for their family. This is not just another business-crushing regulation, but something that people really want. It looks as though this bill is going to pass with or without your financial support. But a press release and a meaningful contribution to the cause can help reverse the very bad (and permanent) publicity this issue has brought you and Whole Foods. Please re-consider!

Dave Scott says …

[OFF TOPIC - MM] Love your stores , and I believe that your store in TriBeCa is going to cost you if you let these young ladies in customer service keep coming in drunk and giving away free products . You deserve better ,so have better supervisors train staff and stay on top ! I know many people that's shops here solely because it they always get items for free (hint ) Sasha cabreja ! The only way to get to CEO John .M Because complaints have been made over and over and nothing being done about this girls alcohol problem

Toney says …

Love the video, i love Whole Foods and can only shop at one when i visit Dallas, is there any plans to open one in Shreveport, La

Fiona Luth says …

I have been to the US twice now. I have lived off Wholefoods food and everything about it makes me feel good. The quality of the produce is exceptional, the fair trade practices, the fair and reasonable prices and the fact that the employees get $3 above the minimum wage. The coffee is one of the few decent strength coffees I have had in the US. The staff seem happy and not sour. We are driving around the US in an RV and we get all our food from Wholefoods. Are you coming to Australia? Would the prices be comparable with US prices? If you do come to Australia can I work for you? The former question is entirely serious. Well done John for taking a $1 a year wage and caring about your workers. You rock! From Fiona, Melbourne, Australia but currently touring the US.

marie bigbee says …

Empowering Self through Personal Health. My name is Marie Bigbee and I am Director of Health Strategies for Rural Health IT. We have partnered with Blue Cross Blue Shield. This includes servicing their 100 million customers. We are looking to add to our team a company like Whole Foods, as a provider and distributor of natural and organic food products and supplements. I would love to send more information on our new business venture, if this is of interest to you and Whole Foods. Thank you for your time.

Earthier says …

I am a loyal WholeFood shopper. Organic and clean food for children are important to raise health-conscientious generations. The increasing number of farms and suppliers offering organic fruit is great. But I find that many growers use thiabendazole, ortho-phenylphenol or imazalil as fungicides and coating food with shellac-based wax or resin to maintain freshness is questionable to the taste of the fruit and to health. While shipping over long distance or for preserving the freshness longer, the fruit has become "hard" outside but inside rotten or unripened. I find that you can keep the fruit for a long time and it will not ripe. I find grapefruit like that from Costco and Lucky, a bag of pear like that from Trader Joe. I recently bought a basket of strawberry and a basket of fig from Whole Food. The strawberry are crushy and hard to the touch. The figs are similar, remain hard for days. I start wondering if the supplier for these fruit also used fungicides and wax? I don't mind to pay more for authentically organic and untamed natural fruit. Why buy organics if they are treated after harvest? This whole practice of fungicide and waxing makes perfect business sense to prolong the sales of produce but make consumer like me nervous. If WholeFood could be the Leader to not compromise on its health values, there is more business to be earned!

Peter Beiro says …

Capitalism, in theory, should find the the best economic solution to any problem. And I think this is true, provided there is perfect information. I'm not sure what information is being use to have Fidelity administer the 401k plans. My October statement showed $150 in contributions and $18 in administration fees. It is a good economic solution for Fidelity.

Ed says …

Welcome to Anchorage, Alaska. Hope to see you soon.

Michael says …

[SENT TO SP CS - NN] I'm relatively new to Whole Foods and apparently I've been spoiled. My store is the Annapolis, Maryland store and I LOVE that store despite higher than the usual regional prices. I've been working in the Phoenix, AZ area and I "invited" some of my co-workers to have a meal at the local Scottsdale area stores, expecting the same quality and choices that I've experienced in Annapolis. I was TOTALLY embarrased by the presentation, quality and significant lack of prepared food choices available at the Scottsdale and Mayo Clinic area stores. The food was the worst I've EVER had. Something is seriously wrong with the Phoenix area stores. I don't believe they meet the standards of the Whole Foods Corporate imaged and I think they should take a lesson from the Annapolis team. Please let the Annapolis team know how well they are doing compared to the western stores!

Sanjay Sanghoee says …

John, what a wonderful philosophy and brilliant business practice! Inspired by your model, I wrote an article for the Huffington Post about Conscious Capitalism which features your company prominently. I hope you enjoy it! Here is the link: "How Conscious Capitalism can Save America" http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sanjay-sanghoee/conscious-capitalism_b_2281613.html?utm_hp_ref=business Sanjay Sanghoee

frank says …

still hittin the nail squarely on the head! thanks

Danielle Reagan says …

I had the privilege of working for Whole Foods back when I was a student in Austin. That was the best job I have ever had. It was amazing to go into work everyday knowing that I was a part of a company that truly wanted to better the world we live in. This post is yet another manifestation of that change that WFM is trying to exact. John Mackey is a visionary.

Anthe Kelley says …

I was so pleased to see your book on Conscious Capitalism when I was shopping at my local Whole Foods the other day in Boston. I will look forward to reading it, and I wholly support a new model of a conscious, beneficial business paradigm. I feel that you are in a leading position to effect social change and broad-paradigm shift on this issue. However, there is one concern that still plagues me, and makes me question the tens of thousands of dollars I have spent at your stores over the years (since I worked across the street from the central Austin store, to later welcoming the first stores in Santa Fe and Boston). Why did Whole Foods not give one cent of its vast profits to support the expanded labeling of food (Prop 37 in CA) when the vast majority of consumers who support your company support labeling? Not only do the majority of us not support GE foods, but we don't even want their effect in our environment (i.e., the spreading of pollen, seed wars, the erosion of small farm's rights and integrity). You are also in a position to be a leader on this push for transparency in the contents and nature (or unnatural state) of the foods we consume. Your stores have a wonderful system now to alert the consumer as to the status of seafood harvested, etc. We would like to see the same care taken in the labeling of all other foods, so we are aware of the impact our purchases are making, and what we are supporting with that money, and as importantly (if not more), what we are taking into our bodies and offering to our children. Please take responsibility and leadership on this issue as well. You would not be such a successful business, conscious or no, if you didn't have the support of your customers. Please honor this support!!

RKG says …

I believe in capitalism. I advocate capitalism. I support John Mackey.

Kerri Burnside says …

While visiting Las Vegas for business, I made my usual trip to Whole Foods. (We do not have a Whole Foods in my community) The book Conscious Capitalism caught my attention. It was my lucky day because Mr. Mackey was schedule to speak that afternoon. I stayed for his presentation and want to thank him for inspiring me. After listening to him speak, I went home and started a mind, body, spirit newspaper and later opened a mind, body, spirit gift store. In less than a year both are growing rapidly. Thank you for inspiring me to create my dreams!

Larry Mandelberg says …

I purchased Conscious Capitalism on January 18, 2013 and have been struggling with it ever since. While I couldn’t agree more with your writing, I approach the subject from an entirely different perspective – organizational sustainability. As a 5th generation family business owner, I’ve spent 40+ years pondering what makes businesses fail and believe I’ve figured out how to measure the capacity of an organization to create and sustain profitable growth, and not just top line revenue or profits (e.g. geographic, social value, market penetration, etc.). The principles on which Conscious Capitalism is built mirror the results of my research and approach to helping businesses create sustainability. More than that, I believe with the proper leadership, a job exists for every person who wants to work that they will love and where their employers and managers will treat them with the appropriate amount of respect, appreciation and care. I believe ‘help wanted ads’ need to be as common as 78rpm records; and with the right form of organizational structure, leadership and governance, that is an achievable goal. We are at a rare turning point whose impact has not been seen since the shift from an agrarian economy to an industrial economy. I would fiercely like to discuss my thoughts, theory and research with you and get your feedback. It is my hope that you will accept my request and we can have a direct dialogue about this critical issue our free-market economy is facing. Thank you.