Whole foods’ founder and CEO John Mackey sat down with the American Enterprise Institute to promote his new book, “Conscious Leadership: Elevating Humanity Through Business.” He says capitalism’s bad reputation is unwarranted.
“It’ll be attacked for its motivations because its motivations are seen as somehow impure. Yes, of course, business has to make money. If a business doesn’t make money, it will fail, but that doesn’t mean that its purpose is to make money.”
Mackey says he worries about the growing cultural hostility toward capitalism, fostered by, he says, universities and progressivism.
“That’s why we’re seeing this move towards socialism because capitalism they see as inherently corrupt. That is wrong. 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.”
He says he doesn’t believe socialism works.
“Socialism has been tried 42 times in the last 100 years and 42 failures, it doesn’t work the wrong way. We have to keep capitalism, I would argue, we need conscious capitalism.”
Mackey said the real purpose of a business is to create value.
“Business is really about creating value for other people. That’s why it exists. That’s why it exists to create value for other people. And if it does a good job of creating good value in products and services that its customers want, then the business will flourish, and it’ll make money.”
“We have to recognize that some progressive insights are important,” but he says, “we can’t throw out capitalism and replace it with socialism,” calling the scenario a disaster.