Whole Foods’ John Mackey on Capitalism’s Moral Code

I’ve never been to a Whole Foods. From what I’ve heard it’s a place for smug hippies and yuppies to go and feel good about themselves for buying overpriced organic food.

But I liked everything that Mackey had to say here.


Edit: I feel I should add how interesting it is to me that Mackey lists Milton Friedman as an influence, given the (unfair) assumptions I make about the Whole Foods clientele.1

Milton Friedman, if you don’t already know, is the economist who opposed policies such as:

But, don’t just dismiss the arguments outright because it opposes your world view.

Mackey:

…somewhere along the line I came across various free enterprise thinkers and economists, people like Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises and Milton Friedman, Murray Rothbard. And I read, I don’t know, dozens and dozens of books about society and about the way the world worked and about economics and business. And it all made sense to me now that I was actually a business person, so identifying myself differently, thinking about business differently.

So, yeah, I let go of the politics that I’d had for many years and came up with a new world view, one that has certainly evolved in the last 30 plus years. But the fundamentals are still basically there, that business is the great creator value for other people and it’s fundamentally a force for good in the world. And I just don’t think most people understand that.


  1. Although, after reading up on him and his thoughts on health care reform perhaps it isn’t that interesting. You won’t be surprised to learn that he believes nutrition found in the products he sells at his stores are the key to good health.