A case for capitalism

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Last week on radio, Glenn interviewed Whole Foods CEO, John Mackey, about his new book, Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business. While Whole Foods is a favorite of the health conscious left, Mackey is a remarkable businessman and an articulate advocate of the importance of capitalism.

“I want to tell you, last night – last night I really started digging into this book Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business. This was written by John Mackey,” Glenn said on radio this morning. “I realize we have a lot in common, a ton in common. And I really believe in his philosophy.”

Glenn, admittedly, has had a love-hate relationship with Whole Foods over the years, but he has really grown to respect Mackey and his business. “I shop at Whole Foods. If there’s a Whole Foods around me, I’ll shop at Whole Foods even though when I first started going to Whole Foods, it pissed me off because I’m like, okay, here we got another liberal,” Glenn said.

Mackey, who grew up in the 1960s and 70s, was a self-described progressive and social Democrat. He believed, like many on the left do, that business is an evil, zero-sum game that fostered a system of exploitation. Once Mackey started his own business, however, his ideology changed dramatically.

In the passage below, excepted from Conscious Capitalism, Mackey describes how being a business-owner caused him to re-evaluate his philosophy and the way the world works:

Our customers thought our prices were too high. Our team members thought they were paid too little. Our suppliers wouldn’t give us good prices because we were too small. A local Austin nonprofit sector was continually asking us for donations. Various governments were slapping us with fees, license fees, fines and various business taxes. Not knowing much about how to operate a business, it didn’t pay off for us in the first year, but we managed to lose only 50% of our capital. And despite all the losses, despite our intentions, we were still being accused by anti-business people of exploiting our customers with the high prices and our team members with low wages. Despite all of my good intentions, I had somehow become a selfish and greedy businessman to all the people I used to be with. All of my friends now said I was one of the bad guys. But I knew in my heart that I wasn’t greedy or selfish or evil. I was the idealist who wanted to make the world a better place, and I thought I could best do it by operating a store that sold healthy food to people and provided good jobs. And once I realized this, I gradually began to abandon the social Democratic philosophy of my youth because it no longer adequately explained how the world actually worked. And I started looking for other narratives that would make sense of the world. I devoured dozens and dozens of business books trying to help Safer Way, which was the predecessor of Whole Foods, succeed. I stumbled into reading a number of free enterprise economist and thinkers including Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig Von Mises, Milton Von Friedman…

I learned that voluntary exchange for mutual benefit has actually led to an unprecedented prosperity for humanity. I learned that with free enterprise when combined with property rights, innovation, the rule of law, and constitutionally limited democratic government results in societies that maximize societal prosperity and establish the conditions that promote human happiness and wellbeing action not just for the rich but for the larger society, including the poor. I had become a business person and a capitalist, and I had discovered that business and capitalism, though not perfect were both fundamentally good and ethical.

“This guy makes a case for capitalism from the other side,” Glenn said in response to the passage. “He still has his values, but he understands how business works. And he understands his ‘why’ and he’s never abandoned his ‘why.’”

Part of what makes Mackey such an effective champion of capitalism is the fact that he spent a good portion of his life following the progressive school of thought, until he realized that the world just did not work that way.

“He just abandoned the idea of the socialist or the progressive framework as being the way to get there. He didn’t sell out. He just realized that won’t do it,” Glenn said. “And now what he’s doing is he’s waking up business people.”

“How do you succeed? Conscious capitalism,” Glenn concluded. “Read this book. If you’re in business at any level, read this book.”

  • http://www.artinphoenix.com/gallery/grimm snowleopard (cat folk gallery)

    Socialism and Communism, the latter which Obama is slowly forcing upon all of us with his insane fundamental transformation plans and agenda, are zero-gain failures across the board, always have been and always shall be.

    Capitalism in a free society, where everyone has the opportunity to make something of themselves, pursue their dreams, and achieve them, shows that there is no ‘zero-gain’ in anything. 

    There is either decline and destruction/collapse, as in Socialism and Communism, and there is growth, such as continues in the United States despite the efforts of Obama and the Democrats to destroy our Republic, our way of life, our culture, our very society.

    That is the future – ruination under Obama’s communism, or freedom under Capitalism.

  • http://www.artinphoenix.com/gallery/grimm snowleopard (cat folk gallery)

    It is interesting how many progressives and socialists change their ways when they finally see Capitalism working first hand, especially when they own and grow their own businesses with their own efforts.

    Obama declared ‘You did not build that.”

    He is wrong, one person with a vision, desire, drive and ambition makes a start at a business and builds it on their efforts; so HE DID BUILD THAT!!!

    Capitalism is better than the enslavement that comes with socialism and communism.

  • http://youtu.be/R7MC2wu49Cw Sam Fisher

    Remember you didn’t build that Obama did.  

  • http://youtu.be/R7MC2wu49Cw Sam Fisher

    Remember you didn’t build that Obama did.  

  • http://youtu.be/R7MC2wu49Cw Sam Fisher

    Welcome to the dark side with us John Mackey. 

  • http://youtu.be/R7MC2wu49Cw Sam Fisher

    Welcome to the dark side with us John Mackey. 

  • landofaahs

    All you have to do is look around and see the failures of govt. run corruption all over the world.  I’m always amazed how people expect to have liberty for themselves but think they can be secure in theirs while denying it to others.  It’s called “PROGRESSIVE”.  Only corrupt cronies benefit in Monkeynomics.

  • landofaahs

    All you have to do is look around and see the failures of govt. run corruption all over the world.  I’m always amazed how people expect to have liberty for themselves but think they can be secure in theirs while denying it to others.  It’s called “PROGRESSIVE”.  Only corrupt cronies benefit in Monkeynomics.

  • Draxx

    Capitalism Works Great For Those People Willing To Work…

    The Problem Is, We Have Too Many Damn Lazy Freeloaders That Want Entitlements!  What ever happened to work hard for what you want in life, my elders grew up with that mentallity/culture (they passed it on to me, and I am passing it on to my kids).  I would rather have Welfare Go Away, and People Get Back To Work!  I know way too many people that have Lived and Leeched Off of the Welfare System for Twenty (20) or More Years!  They All Do Nothing But Sit Around Complaining They Don’t Have Enough Stuff/Money (Well DUH)!  Some of them are in My Own Family asking for handouts/loans because they Will Not Work… and they wonder why I have zero respect for them!

    I am Broken Enough for SSD, but that will not provide for my wife and two kids (especially if they want a Higher Education).  So I Work Hard Through My Pain, and I have many days where I want to just give up (but My Conscience Won’t Let Me).  In the end I will be Successful Again, then I will not be so disabled but “Hindered” in Life… Until then I Will Work (and when the system crashes I will be Okay, still broken but Okay)!

  • http://www.facebook.com/bruno.skopinich Bruno Skopinich

    I believe that there are many segment groups in the liberal/progressive culture, that have always used the Government to address their agenda, but now,  some of them realize that the government has a Mr Hyde side of them. This will slowly start to haunt some of these groups and they will rebel against the 800 pound Gorilla they help to create. 

  • Anonymous

    This concept, of capitalism operating to benefit mankind, has a parallel in the sphere of governance. As has been explained by Glenn, we can have anarchy or despotism at opposite ends of the political spectrum, but there is a principle that operates correctly instead of the bottom-up or top-down forms that anarchy or despotism represent. It is the form of government that will operate during the millennium under Christ’s leadership. It is called Common Consent, where all will operate under the principles of righteousness, of which capitalism is an example. Men will operate businesses to maximize benefits all around, instead of for accumulating personal wealth, but to boost wealth for all, while providing support and benefits for both producer and consumer alike. All will give Common Consent to the laws and direction that Christ will give. (After all, who knows better how the world works?)

    If someone doesn’t want to operate under those principles and direction, he is free to go his own way, and partake of the consequences of his own action. After all, God gave us our agency, and we are free to exercise it however we desire, but we also have the responsibility to  accept the consequences of our actions, our decisions we make for ourselves.

    Laus Deo

  • Anonymous

    the problem is The Left are Followers of darkness followers of the father of lies. they wouldn’t know the truth if it bit them because they are determined that their way is the only way for their complete power! do you know last time someone wanted that complete power, Lucifer thought he was God and was sent to live eternity in Hell,and ever since then  he has been trying to get as many people down there with him as possible!! 

  • Anonymous

    Now if others read his book maybe people will realize capitalism is not the enemy.

  • Anonymous

    Capitalism is not at fault here just falsely label as reason for downfall of our country !!!!  It’s our crooked politicians using any  means to bring our way of living and our form government down !!!!  What obama and his minions of Democrats Governors and mayors are doing this by increasing the debt pit so there is no way out but through period of chaos tearing down our government,while shredding our constitution rights and freedoms!!!, Then  obama will be ready to replace  it with a nanny socialists Marxists police state dictatorship government !!!!!!!!!!!  Our President obama is doing this by his sharing the wealth & health benefits with the don’t to care to work crowd and illegals at the expense of the hard workers and senior retire workers he increasing the U.S national debt !!  Believe this his pre position chess moves of debts and chaos to fulfill his campaign statement that he will create a youth army bigger than U.S Army and Just as well arm !!!  With cities and states in debt they will not be able to fund their local and state police and their national guard units !!  Plus obama doing his part with cutting U.S  military especially ,the Army and Marine Corp . With this vacuum obama will slide in  youth army with a rush passage of a bill in congress that no one reads !!!  This way king dictator obama will have his thug army of goons who don’t  know right from wrong ,with no restrictions,rules,regulations,laws,need no warrants when operating in U.S,( it will be with no senior officers like in Army,National Guard ,State Police,local Police to say NO this is unconstitutional ,and sound alarm bell this is wrong !!!  He also setting the stage by his new patriot acts executive orders to monitor and and kill U.S citizens at his whim without judge,jury,court,lawyer,warrants etc or with congress oversight !! He can do this stealthy by insect drones that inject substance with no trace that can cause heart attack to anyone with different opinions or not in lockstep with obama policy to not raise  out cry and keep the population in the dark!!