Whole Foods CEO Speaks on Markets
Whole Foods Market co-founder and CEO John Mackey recently “spoke up to defend free markets,” as a Wall Street Journal article puts it. Mackey recently spoke to the president of American Enterprise Institute to promote his new book. While I don’t claim to be an expert on the company or the CEO, there were some great free-market points in this interview.
Mackey spoke highly of capitalism, saying, “We can’t throw out capitalism and replace it with socialism—that’ll be a disaster! Socialism has been tried 42 times in the last 100 years and 42 failures. It doesn’t work.” Mackey believes that capitalism is “the greatest thing that humanity’s ever done,” crediting capitalism with increases in life expectancy, earnings, and literacy rates. Mackey recognizes that it’s entrepreneurs who have taken scientific discoveries and operationalized them to make our lives better. He points out that “businesspeople are not the villains of the story; they’re the heroes of the story. The entrepreneurs are the ones that create great progress.”
While noting that society needs rules and regulations, he says, “[Y]ou can overly regulate business so it’s hard to do business and then the whole society becomes less wealthy and less prosperous.” This is a point often made by Show-Me Institute researchers; burdensome regulations make it harder to work and make a living, which can have negative effects on economic growth.
I can’t speak to all the actions of Whole Foods or other interviews by Mackey, but it was certainly refreshing and interesting to hear the CEO of a major company supporting markets in this instance. I tend to agree with Mackey’s statements, but you can listen here and decide for yourself.