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Whole Foods CEO on Conscious Capitalism and Obamacare "Fascism"

Thursday, January 17, 2013

"Entrepreneurs who start successful businesses don't do so to maximize profits. Of course they want to make money, but that is not what drives most of them." writes John Mackey. The CEO of Whole Foods discusses his new book Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business.

→ Event: John Mackey at 92Y | Tonight at 8:15pm | Tickets and Details

John Mackey on Calling Health Reform "Fascism"

On NPR's Morning Edition today, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey told host Steve Inskeep that the Obama health care reforms, which he'd earlier called "socialism" are "technically speaking...more like fascism." On the Brian Lehrer Show, Brian asked Mackey to clarify.

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey on Calling Obamacare "Fascism"

 

On The Term "Fascism"

 

I made a bad choice of language. I was trying to distinguish it between socialism so I took the dictionary definition of fascism, which is when the means of production are still owned privately but the government controls it -- that’s a type of fascism. However, I realize that that word has so much baggage associated with it from World War II, with Germany, with Italy and Spain, that's a very provocative word, so I regret using it. What I do believe in is free enterprise capitalism, and I’d like to see our healthcare system really unleash the power of free enterprise capitalism to create innovation and healthcare progress. I don’t think we have that – I think we’re moving away from that. So I do regret using that word, I won’t be using it in the future.

 

On the Role of Government

 

I'm in favor of a safety net. I do believe that the government can provide subsidies for our poorer citizens so that everyone can afford health insurance. One of the great examples that I point people to is what they’re doing in Switzerland, where you have still private health insurance markets and yet the government creates subsidies for all of its citizens so that everyone can afford health insurance. There you let the private market, competitive capitalism work and yet the government makes sure that there’s a safety net for people – that’s where I wish we were going in the United States.

Guests:

John Mackey

Comments [155]

Rose from Long Island

Whole Foods was great when it was Bread of Life and everything in the place was all natural. Now every produce sign says "conventional." I can get that at Stop and Shop along with a bunch of organic stuff. Whole Foods is way too expensive. I'm done with it now.

Jan. 21 2013 08:07 PM

Josh -- this is the talk one heard in the 90s. I bought it too. Never again.

Jan. 20 2013 08:46 PM
Al Stead from UWS

I'll keep this brief: boycott, boycott, boycott!

Jan. 19 2013 08:33 AM

This fellow whines that he doesn't like it when "government" tells him what do do. I wonder if someone who makes a broad statement like that observes rules (laws) like health and safety rules for his employees? Or perhaps hygiene rules at his stores which might affect the health of his customers? Are these too intrusive for his libertarian philosophy?

Jan. 18 2013 07:08 PM
Josh

I am fascinated by the reaction this man has received. He is encouraging people to behave ethically and morally after all. He's supporting what he believes is a mechanism toward a better life given the restraints of resources that exist. I've seen people on here call him a fascist, they complain that he endorses crony capitalism, they say that he promotes a wild-west capitalism. He can't be all these things. This just a general, irrational anger that does not allow people to hear his message.

I'm very impressed with his logical, calm and honest explanation of his beliefs. The calls for boycotting will not help our epidemic of miscommunication. People should not be scared to state their opinions in a reasonable manner.

Jan. 18 2013 04:10 PM

(correction: "10-30 years")

Jan. 18 2013 02:27 PM

Lastly, your argument that Big Companies deserve our respect -- should we assume you are not just trying to be funny or snide with that assertion? If so, we have all been subject to (or profited from, depending on which percent you are) 1-30 years of Big Business being defined by crony capitalism -- immorality, incompetence and arrogance, secrecy, corruption and collusion with competitors and lawmakers alike.

True Capitalists, as with Patriots, applaud and celebrate those who expect Big Business to prove itself to be worthy of our respect -- not the reverse, as you curiously and daringly assert.

Jan. 18 2013 02:26 PM

1. LABEL YOUR GMO PRODUCTS "WHOLE FOODS!"

2. Calling Obama a fascist? That goofy looking man just announced his 2016 run for president.

3. It's not his maligning the idea of Socialism that I resent -- it's his inaccurately associating himself with the word Capitalism.

Jan. 18 2013 12:10 PM
Kurt

Switzerland has one of the most expensive health care systems in the world. Far less than the US, which is almost 30% more expensive than the next one, but still not an affordable health care system. I guess this is the capitalism he speaks of. Soak the customers.

Jan. 17 2013 11:18 PM
zeke22 from nyc


as of today, one less WF shopper here.
ObamaBiden2012

Jan. 17 2013 10:22 PM
kata from manhattan

whole foods, whole earth, whole paycheck..... why does your corporation throw away so much edible nourishing whole food????? why do you throw it away???? this is unconsciously evil. banally evil. what corporate mission statement of whole foods does this practice of throwing away whole food fulfill?? how does this practice of wasting food create value for your customers?? how does this wasteful practice provide quality for your customer.i was in the whole foods on 24th street in january on a monday at 10:25 pm before closing and ogling the filet mignon at 24.99 /lb. i bought hamburger. i asked the employee behind the counter what happened to all the fresh looking, expensive meat there, lots of it, now that the store was closing for the day. do you cook it up for the food bar? no he said. do you donate it to food programs for the needy ? no he said . do the employees get to take it home. no,he said,laughing. well i said, where does it go ? he said it goes in the trash. That was the last time i shopped at whole foods, except in emergency.

Jan. 17 2013 09:34 PM
Reinaldo from Perth Amboy

John, you were right the first time. The reason why you now don't want to use that term anymore is because you're a fasist yourself. That "safety net" you described is fascism.

Jan. 17 2013 08:53 PM

Another rich person who sees nothing wrong with raw capitalist for-profit healthcare. It's not stupid -- it's simply callous. And it should be condemned and boycotted.

Jan. 17 2013 07:31 PM
Wicker from Jersey

An earlier commenter gives a distorted definition of fascism as being somehow corporate directed. My dictionary defines it as follows:

The term Fascism was first used of the totalitarian right-wing nationalist regime of Mussolini in Italy (1922–43), and the regimes of the Nazis in Germany and Franco in Spain were also fascist. Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one national or ethnic group, a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach.

This is totally different than the commenter's definition and is also carefully skirted by the Whole Foods CEO, who advocates some sort of wild-west, free-range, blood-sucking capitalism that will smother the world in corporate greed (which is what we've got now, IMHO).

Jan. 17 2013 06:54 PM
herb from broo;lyn

i agree

Jan. 17 2013 06:45 PM
RobBach from Toronto

WholeFoods vs Traders Joe.. @ Union Square..just observe the difference between the 2.
Whole Foods employees, moral, seems low, mostly of color...overall spirit seems like the hierarchy we've come to know in super markets.
...Trader Joe's ...1st super market I've ever applied to work at... moral and spirit appear to be much more positive.. A good mix of all nationalities... it relates to excellent customer service, prices, and experience..it has been a revelation to me.

His point of view as CEO is observant in the faces of his employees...just look hard enough and you'll see it.

Jan. 17 2013 05:02 PM

So I guess most of you won't be food shopping at all if you won't shop at a grocery store that isn't in business to profit and doesn't provide adequate health insurance for its employees.

Jan. 17 2013 04:56 PM
SNK from Chicago

The best part about our free society is that all you Haters can take your grocery dollars and spend them at one of Whole Foods' competitors. You know, the other local grocers who aren't motivated by profit or by money. Then you'll all sleep well at night, knowing you didn't help anybody profit while they help FEED you.

Jan. 17 2013 04:46 PM
Yoichi Hariguchi from Menlo Park, CA

What ACA does is to mimic the Swiss system. It has an individual mandate. And Swiss healthcare system is the most expensive in Europe (compared with other countries having the single payer system). Health care market is a typical example that price signaling (i.e., free market) harms consumers. Government intervention works better in such cases.

Jan. 17 2013 03:12 PM
Robert from Manhattan

I NEVER shop at Whole Foods. Over priced and pretentious. Corporate Groceries. Blah. I Never shop at Whole Foods. (it's one block from my apt) Won't you join me in my boycott?

Jan. 17 2013 03:03 PM

I saw him briefly on Good Morning America today. He was trying to retract his decision to call Obamacare fascism. He said maybe he used the wrong word. But actually (according to him), when the government runs businesses and tells them what to do, that is fascism. No, actually, he's wrong about that too. Fascism is when corporations run the government and tell them what to do. Then he went on to say that he thinks employers and employees should be free to negotiate with each other over wages and benefits. Hahahaha. No, he really did say that. So the minimum wage employees who are kept at 30 hours and poor supposedly can negotiate with the multi-billionaire business owner. This guy should do stand-up.

Jan. 17 2013 02:23 PM
allannovick from Brooklyn

I wish Mr.Lehrer would have been more active in challenging some of the tendentious comments made by Mr. Mackey. Saying the Americans spend 7% of their earning on food--this is an average. Many spend much more and the growing need for expanded soup kitchens attest to the fact of hunger in the land of plenty. One reason for the "plenty" he celebrates is the subsidy program by which big agriculture has flourished, a government "handout" that he doesn't seem to mind. As for the idealism of the capitalist, what is his response to Big Coal which refuses to make expensive adjustment to methods of production in the interests of sparing Americans lung disease and a shortened life span? Big Tobacco in the service of a better product, not profits? If the market were truly without constraints, the damage would be even greater.

Jan. 17 2013 02:23 PM
Nick W from NYC

I just saw this book at Whole Foods last night, and Mackey represents the latest incarnation of how corporate citizenship is packaged and marketed to look like social conscience. John Mackey is a CEO - plain and simple. This "change the world"-BS is just that: BS. And it's just the kind of cost-effective brand-building that a CEO needs to engage in. It's much cheaper to blather about water purification tablets or shipping out the odd spinning wheel that let a village of women make sweaters or whatever, but when Whole Foods' employees needed healthcare, Mackey showed his true colors.

Jan. 17 2013 02:22 PM
emjayay from Brooklyn

Noach, I don't really want to start a dialogue that's not directly about the excreble Mackay or the ridiculously softball interview....but you quoted me and he was talking about a fictional kind of capitalism, which my post addressed.

I'm all for all kinds of stuff that the right wing (like him) call socialism. But the classical definition of all the means of production being government owned just doesn't work that well for all kinds of reasons. (But Medicare and the VA do work). What works in terms of modern corporate capitalism is capitalism with a whole lot more control and regulation than the little we do in this country. Beginning with corporations not being people and not being able to lobby and essentially bribe the legislature as they now do and going from there.

Which reminds me, one more statement not challenged in the interview: The 30 year lifespan he mentioned a century or two ago was an average due largely to infant and child deaths. The one dollar a day wage corrected for inflation would no doubt be much higher. And all the improvements in these and everything else are not exactly entirely attributeable to capitalism. That statement was absurd and unchallenged.

Jan. 17 2013 02:17 PM

Considering the VERY long list of VALUE-added (read: processed) "organic" food stuffs that fill the majority of the shelves at WF® it can be easily concluded that Mr. Mackey's primary objective is to to generate profit NOT any kind of idealism or "passion" (besides passion for profit!).

One "organic", "natural" JUNK "food" after another. Products that mimic their industrial counterparts with the ONLY difference being the "organic" label. Mackey has cleverly seduced Americans into believing that Organic "Oreos" are good for you while real Nabisco™ Oreos are not. He has capitalized on America's addiction to eating JUNK by hawking the EXACT same products as "health" foods. Sure, they may be "organic" (whatever that means!) but, make NO mistake, these products are HIGHLY processed foods with zero...ZERO additional nutritional value. ZERO!! Equally bad for you - ESPECIALLY your pocketbook!

Do we even need to point out that a MAJORITY of the produce on WF™ shelves are neither local, "organic" or otherwise better!!

Absolute horsesh*t.

Jan. 17 2013 01:45 PM

Wondering about the scoring system......each entry registers as up and down ?

Jan. 17 2013 01:13 PM
Chrissy from Monmouth Cty, NJ

Thank you John McKey,

I've got nothing particularly revolutionary to say... just basic, simple, typical stuff. I am married, live in the suburbs of NJ and have 2 young girls, ages 6 & 9. My husband and I both have bachelors degrees. He works as a photo editor for one of the top newspapers in NYC. I am a landscape designer who works part time so I can be with the girls a few days a week. Fairly typical but not too shabby, right? I assume we are smack within the typical target demographic that Whole Foods is seeking to attract? Every week I work pretty hard and put a lot of mental effort into figuring out how I can spend the maximum amount of money out of my budget on organic food from Whole Foods for my family. It's a struggle. Everything about it... when you add in the over-mortgaged house, healthcare, etc... even with having made very sound financial decisions all along the way, we are hurting.

So, thank you Mr. Mackey. You have just eased a big mental and psychological burden off my shoulders. I now am completely clear that I will never set foot into Whole Foods again. Your arrogance may work really well for you in your role as CEO and entrepeneur. But you seem to be drifting really far from the admirable ideals you had from when you started out years ago.

I will still work hard and spend a lot of energy finding and purchasing the most healthy organic food we can afford for my family. But the fruits of our labor will not go into your unappreciative pockets. And that simple clarity brings a little more peace into my daily life.

Jan. 17 2013 01:04 PM
Noach

Regarding all the references to "capitalism", I think the word might more properly be placed within quotation marks. Adam Smith is widely held-up as the father of what is called "capitalism" today but it would probably be unrecognizable to him. If you were to read a number of quotes from Adam Smith to people who were not familiar with them, you might be surprised at how many would guess that author had to be Marx or some other socialist.

emjayay wrote,
"Like Churchill said about democracy, capitalism is the worst form of economic systems, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

That's certainly not what Albert Einstein, to name just one, thought. Are you familiar with his "Why Socialism"?

But getting back to what I wrote at the beginning of this post, talking about "capitalism" as anything more than an academic _theory_ might be a little like what Gandhi famously said when asked about Western civilization...

Jan. 17 2013 01:02 PM

The type of health care plan loved by Mackey is not a health care plan. It is only good for wealthy people without chronic health problems. It discourages visiting doctors or getting prescription drugs, thus making people, particularly all those Whole Foods workers getting very low wages, ignore any symptoms until it's unavoidable. That wonderful amount of money you get to roll over and add to if you are so lucky to not ever be sick or ignore any illness you have? What happens if you are not so lucky? Oh, there goes your rolled over savings and you are on your own again until you hit some deductible that for most Whole Foods employees is a big per centage of their yearly income, which they already have to spend all of to survive. No problem for millionaires. I wonder if Whole Foods offers the workers a choice of say Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco?

Jan. 17 2013 12:54 PM

Mackay is wrong and/or lying about just about everything. I'm no opponent of capitalism. Like Churchill said about democracy, capitalism is the worst form of economic systems, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time. And some large corporations do start with someone's passion. But that is not how they succeed. It's all ultimately about profits - not that there's anything wrong with that. Just ask Adam Smith.

Particularly in today's markets, perception often leads to profits. If Whole Foods or Apple has an image of being environmental or fashionable or socially positive in some way or another, that will lead to more sales and profits if that is the kind of business their segment of customers want to patronise.

Home Depot is a low wage, 75% part timer anti-union hellhole, but it encourages employee volunteer projects. Because it cares? No. It just pretends to its employees and the public. Because the employees are out there working on a project wearing their orange aprons with maybe a spffy Home Depot banner posted, and covered by the media and maybe used in their advertising etc. This improves the image of the brand. This leads to profits, again the only ultimate goal of any capitalistic business.

So Mackey lied and misled his way through the interview, largely unchallenged as per usual by Brian Lehrer. Why? So he could sell more books (and make money) and the books themselves and the interview will burnish the image of Whole Foods - and increase sales and profits.

Jan. 17 2013 12:41 PM
K E L P V from Long Branch, NJ

Mr Mackey is way off as to why J Q Public is so against Big & Bigger Business! He must be either 1) VERY Young, or 2) Myopic! We don't trust Big Business, because they cheat the worker, so the CEOs can get their exorbitant pay, perks, & bonuses - paid for by the consumer! A truly "Conscious Capitalism" would actually welcome some Gov't rules & regulations, to keep businesses "Honest."

First of all, Show me a "Business-person" who isn't interested in "Making Money" & I'll show you - a worker, not the creator of a business. Mr Mackey is deluded, in his own bubble world, like so many who joined an already thriving, growing business
Business doesn't "create value" people do. IF your product is of no value, your business goes bust! Businesses are created, not to give "services" or "value" to society but to - MAKE MONEY. That includes small & big businesses. Why? Because people don't have the wherewithall, nor the skills to do all the tasks we need on a daily business.
Capitalism has been the major uplifting force in humanity for the past two centuries." Mackey shoud read his history. There's a big distinction between those people who actually start a company and those people who just happen to come to run it - once they've grown into a National one!
Both depressions, '29 & '07 were caused by BIG Business' Greed, not due to any actions done by Government or public actions or activities. In fact, Coolidge & Bush 2 could be labeled the "do nothing Presidents"

Second, if Doctors aren't "in it for the money" why don't we have more GP's? Why are the poorest areas, rural & city the least covered by Doctors. Does he not remember the 1980s poll showing that Medical students were going into "Specialized Medicine" fields "to make more money" - not to "do good"?
& on "Obama-Cares" - Sure, Switzerland would be a good model to follow, but they actually "regulate" Doctors' pay, Insurance coverage & fees, Costs medical venders can charge, and more, ad nausium! Something YOU & the GOP refuse to take on, for the benefit of the people, not the Big Business of Medicine! Mackey's logic would have all government regulation labeled as Fascism. SO, guess that would make the Swiss Health Care System - a Fascist one! A fine thing to say by someone who makes g-zillions of bucks, but won't shell out for health care for his workers (most are part-timers)

"All I can say is, we are SO greatful that TRADER JOE's came to our area! Once they did, we stopped shopping at the more expensive Whole Foods. W F's prices are outlandish for what you get. Trader Joe's is Way more "consumer" friendly.

Jan. 17 2013 12:37 PM
Noach

I am reminded of one of the arguments I heard for why Apple is particularly and especially worthy of censure and rebuke for their atrocious labor practices --even though their competitors can hardly boast clean records either: At least the latter aren't nearly as (deceptively) self-righteous and sanctimonious in the way they market themselves.

Jan. 17 2013 12:34 PM

122 comments for a wealthy grocer less than 40 for gun control.
sad social commentary

Jan. 17 2013 12:30 PM

As many here have pointed out, this was another softball interview by Brian Lehrer. The lack of pointed, informed followup questions was indeed maddening, but the real problem is that this is repeated daily. WNYC would be doing its listeners a big favor by hiring new hosts who are willing to challenge rather than coddle their guests.

Jan. 17 2013 12:26 PM
Leonard Cohen from Tarrytown, NY

It is clear that Mr. Mackey is thriving under our system of Fascism. He is one of the many super-rich who have almost everything and want the rest.
With regard to Switzerland - it is my understanding that contrary to what Mackey says, the health insurance in Switzerland is written by private companies with stipulated limits on profits. In effect, the insurance companies do the bookkeeping for the Government but do not compete in an unlimited manner.The so called profit is akin to a fee for keeping the books - it is not a competitive system!

Jan. 17 2013 12:24 PM
Frank from New York

The moment this guy said hello to Brian I knew he was a creep.

And to ask us to believe he made a mistake in using the word fascism when he claims to be ultra conscious was despicable. He knew exactly what he was doing.

I will never shop at Whole Foods again... for anything.

And dboy, yes, he made me nauseous the moment he said his first word.

Jan. 17 2013 12:19 PM
Tony from UWS

I am so tired of supporting all the idiots that get to sell their books on WNYC.

Jan. 17 2013 12:10 PM

Whole Foods™ Organic Bite-Sized Brownies®!!

Health food.

Jan. 17 2013 11:59 AM

Hmmm... I didn't realize Whole Foods® sold Kool-Aid™.

Jan. 17 2013 11:57 AM
Jane Ray

John Mackey sounded like a perfect idiot in this interview, clumsily defending his indictment of Obamacare as "fascism" ("I won't be using that word again") and responding to a comment about Whole Foods' high prices by implying that his customers just aren't good enough cooks or shoppers to make shopping at Whole Foods affordable. To this comment which had come from a self-professed loyal customer, Mr. Mackey's smug rejoinder was "Well, I (italicized) know how to cook!" A modicum of respect for your loyal and potential customers would seem to be in order, Mr. Mackey, and perhaps an effort to educate rather than insult.

Jan. 17 2013 11:51 AM

Brian,

To be more specific to my criticism. You used to distinguish your interviews by your informed questions. It was clear to anyone listening that you had deep knowledge of the topic under discussion. Lately, and this interview is a good example of what I am referring to, you simply let your guest go on unchallenged. Perhaps this is deliberate decision on your part and a change in your interview format. It would be a shame if this were to be true.

Jan. 17 2013 11:50 AM
Adrienne from UWS

Brian, Is your role just to sit there and listen to anything. You can't speak out when he calls Obama's health care "Facism". Be against the Obama plan, many people are, it comes with the death of thousands and sometimes millions. Read Paul Berman's "the Flight of the Intellectuals" this kind of politics has always come int the left and the right.

Jan. 17 2013 11:48 AM

HEY, John!!

"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power."

~ Benito Mussolini

idiot.

Jan. 17 2013 11:46 AM

Jonathan's comment should be on the heading of the page in LArge letters. I hope everyone has seen it and understood that this guy and most all like him are full of it. Why would Anyone want to have these greedy insurance companies decide who can and cannot have care and what kind of care that would be, if any.

Jan. 17 2013 11:45 AM

The owner of Whole Foods is into fresh produce, whole foods, organics and fair prices?

He's into cooking? ME TOO! One word for you, Mackster: FAIRWAY.

I recently rediscovered it (that olive oil! that fresh produce! those prices!!) -- if Mr. Mackey likes Whole Foods, he's gonna love...

Whole foods is great too of course but the GMO issue is a deal-breaker for our family and friends at the moment.

Jan. 17 2013 11:42 AM
Ron Fletcher from Yonkers

All of these Republican types on Brian Lehrer! He has way more than REAL liberals...which he almost never has...only DINOs...like Obama. This Whole foods guy depends on free markets but Brian conveniently didn't ask IF there were such thing as a free market...does this guy take lower tax rates to install stores...that is rigging the system...that is pro corporate chronyism in the guise of economy building. This is just one of the ways that Brian soft interviews fascist a holes. Then a Bush guy to talk about Africa! Unbelievable...why not just ask on shell oil execs.?

Jan. 17 2013 11:42 AM
Marcos from the Bronx

For profit corporations must make profit the bottom line. That is how they are legally structured. It is sociopathic. But, it is the bottom line. Some corporate formations make this pressure greater or less. Many Doctors are organized into non-profit corporations, to allow them to prioritize service.

The Affordable Care Law is sort of "Corporatistic", an economic model of private profit and government choosing winners and losers in the market. But, only sort of. The TARP was a much better example of corporatism so is the military industrial complex, or the prison industrial complex etc. The Swiss health care system requires that health insurance companies sell basic health insurance on a not for profit basis. So some are non-profits and some make money off of selling other products, but not basic health insurance.

It is true that corporatism is considered a core characteristic of fascist governments by many academics. But, corporatism not enough alone to brand an entire government as fascistic.

Jan. 17 2013 11:39 AM
Stella from downtown

Oh please... what a self-deluding dude. What percentage of WHOLE FOODS retail prices go to its suppliers? What percentage of WHOLE FOODS net profits are donated to charity? What percentage of their net profits are taxed? And don't tell my that he does his own shopping and cooks his own dinner!

Jan. 17 2013 11:37 AM
John from NYC

The problem with Capitalists these days is that nobody trusts them Mr Mackey!

Look at you making a complete misinformation about healthcare that you so loudly talk about.

I am referring to a Forbes article on the Swiss model of Insurance -

http://www.forbes.com/sites/aroy/2011/04/29/why-switzerland-has-the-worlds-best-health-care-system/

"Naturally, such a system will not be attractive to those who implacably oppose the idea of a private health-care sector. But conservatives will also find objectionable elements to the Swiss system. In important ways, the Swiss system resembles that of Massachusetts and PPACA. The Swiss have an individual mandate. The government defines the minimum benefit package, which has been subject to expansion from special-interest lobbying, and is more comprehensive and less consumer-driven than it could be. The government has enacted Medicare-style price controls for hospital and physician reimbursement. Insurers must charge similar rates to the young and old (“community rating”), must cover pre-existing conditions, and must operate as non-profit entities. Princeton economist Uwe Reinhardt describes Switzerland as “a de facto cartel of insurers and health care practitioners who transact with one another in a tight web of government regulations.”

Jan. 17 2013 11:34 AM
jmk from East Village


Whole Foods Market Corporate Office & Headquarters
(512) 477-4455
If you press "o" you will be sent to a mailbox but still may be worth calling them...

Jan. 17 2013 11:33 AM
miki from plano, tx

excellent point casey. one of the thoughts I was having in the jumble of responses my brain had to his interview, and you put it into words well.

Jan. 17 2013 11:30 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Emma from Green Point Brooklyn, thank you for giving us the details on health insurance at WFM.
This guy is full of himself and sh…….

Jan. 17 2013 11:29 AM

Brian,
This really is an interview that you should be ashamed of.

Jan. 17 2013 11:29 AM
Joan from Brooklyn

Pay more for high quality? Nothing like taking home those organic peaches, in season, that go right from hard to mealy and rotten.

Jan. 17 2013 11:29 AM

Whole Foods™ is CHOCKED FULL of SUPER-HIGHLY PROCESSED food items.

Just because it's called "organic" DOESN'T MAKE IT "HEALTHY"!!

I CALL BS ON MACKEY!!

Jan. 17 2013 11:27 AM
Casey from Brooklyn

I think a distinction needs to be made between the people who start companies and the people who come to run them once they've gotten huge. Founders tend to be passion-driven people; later CEOs and boards are of a different mindset entirely. These are the people who tend to make the more sociopathic decisions that have most thinking people mistrusting capitalists.

I would also challenge the idea that the only way to make money in business is to create value; there are lots of companies (specifically those that circle around debtors, as well as most Wall Street entities, etc.) who are essentially leeches off of value-creators. Also, once you have a tidy enough relationship with the government you can essentially coast on rent-seeking behavior.

Jan. 17 2013 11:27 AM
Greg

From Opposingviews.com...

During a recent interview with NPR, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey revised his previous criticism of Obamacare, which he called “socialism” in a 2009 Wall Street Journal op-ed.

Now, Mackey is calling Obamacare “more like fascism" even though it was voted on by both the U.S. Senate and House (audio below), reports NPR.

Mackey said: “Technically speaking, it’s more like fascism. Socialism is where the government owns the means of production. In fascism, the government doesn’t own the means of production, but they do control it, and that’s what’s happening with our healthcare programs and these reforms.”

However, by Mackey's logic any type of government regulation would be considered "fascism," including government laws that regulate food safety in Whole Foods stores.

Mackey is not alone is beliefs though. In 2011, former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum claimed that America was falling into the throes of fascism and that Obamacare was the “final death knell.”

Here's the link:

http://www.opposingviews.com/i/health/health-care/audio-whole-foods-ceo-john-mackey-claims-obamacare-fascism#

Jan. 17 2013 11:26 AM

I too will be making even further efforts to avoid Whole Foods after listening this this guy.

Jan. 17 2013 11:26 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

The best "whole food" for me is a well broiled STEAK! Nothing else makes me feel healthier.

Jan. 17 2013 11:26 AM
anna from new york

Brian what an idiotic conversation. Yeah, I care where sections are.
Why you didn't challenge the monster?

Jan. 17 2013 11:26 AM

B*llsh*ter Big-time!

Jan. 17 2013 11:26 AM
Frank DeGregorie

To use a loaded word like fascism in regards to Obamacare and then have to apologize for using it is not very conscious.

Anybody agree?

Jan. 17 2013 11:25 AM
Eileen

Is this not the same guy who was caught writing negative post's about rival Wild Oats? What kind of conscious capitalism is that?

Jan. 17 2013 11:25 AM
Jessie Henshaw from way uptown

I think the "bright line" that people are missing, between "money business" and "business with a purpose" is a very real thing.

What makes the difference is whether the profits made delivering goods and services is used to maximize the rate of growing profits that can be made, or whether the profits made are used for some other purpose.

Maximizing profit growth is what is generally expected by financial investors. That's NOT what Whole Foods does. So Mackey is just confused about how other businesses operate....

Jan. 17 2013 11:25 AM
Joaquin

the soul of milton friedman in the body of a game show host with an MBA

Jan. 17 2013 11:25 AM
Matt from New York

Wow. I guess that banks and the financial industry are driven by some kind of passion to lend, at reasonable rates, to qualified borrowers. HSBC is too-big-to-prosecute and Monsanto sues farmers because their own modified corn cross-polinated... Sure, the argument is dominated by these bad examples, but can people or the Earth take it much longer? Are we better off since the industrial revolution?

Jan. 17 2013 11:25 AM
Lewis Wendell from Harlem

It seems to me that entrepeneurship is about finding a need and filling that need with the intent of making money. It seems quite common that a businessperson decides to provide a service which has nothing to do with their passions or interests. Their motivation is that it is a good way to make a living. Good business people know their markets and provide services that people want but I would not confuse that with most business people doing things out of a sense of purpose and passion. Money is the prime motivator and it is a canard to testify otherwise.

Jan. 17 2013 11:25 AM
Brian

"It's not expensive to shop at Whole Foods". -John Mackey

Jan. 17 2013 11:25 AM
Ames Pallante

"High quality food." I can buy the same high quality foods at Sprouts for much less money. He still didn't answer the question.

Jan. 17 2013 11:25 AM
Arthur Vincie from Astoria, NY

This guy doesn't know the real definition of fascism. He also rather blindly assumes that competition is inherently beneficial to customers. This doesn't hold true when transactions go through multiple parties (which is the norm in 21st century capitalism), stakeholders have agendas that don't ultimately harmonize, and capitalism in general (as posited my Marx and confirmed by more than a century of real-world experience) leads to the emergence of anti-competitive, anti-market monopolies.

Finally, if he has a problem with Obamacare, why doesn't he push for a single-payor system? Big employers want everything - no taxes, no liability for labor, and no regulation.

Jan. 17 2013 11:25 AM
miki from plano, tx

This guy does some things right for his own business, but can't admit that the "free market" has already failed us in health care - because that would ruin his premise that for profit is not the goal in business. Besides, he wouldn't have written his book if he thought businesses were already "conscious".

Also, can't just lump businesses into one. A grocery store is not a gas/oil company is not a computer company is not an insurance company.

Jan. 17 2013 11:25 AM
Jonathan

I was never more cautious and hesitant about using health care than when I was working for Whole Foods. The voting that Mackey refers to was always a vote for the least bad of several useless ultra high-deductible plans.

Stores would *regularly* take up a collection among employees for a sick team member who couldn't afford to pay for treatment.

Jan. 17 2013 11:25 AM

How about the concept of GREED?!?!?

What happen to economy in 2008?!?!?

Unfettered, unregulated capitalism ignores the powerful motivator of profit to unleash the human propensity for greed.

Talk to Lloyd Craig Blankfein about regulation and greed.

Jan. 17 2013 11:25 AM
Tariq from Midtown

Mr. Mackey calls doctors businessmen and not profit driven. However, doctors provide a service. Their primary function is to treat illness. They aren't the businessmen in the equation. The correct analogy would be health insurance companies. Would Mr. Mackey say health insurance companies aren't driven by profits? That the people running health insurance companies aren't more concerned with their bottom line?

Jan. 17 2013 11:24 AM

Uh, intellectuals define capitalism?! Incorrectly? what about the drumbeat of commercialism, corporatism, and advertisements? Not the impossibility of of finding or producing "value" (the word he keeps using) *outside* of capitalism?
Anywhere? I'm dismayed by this mythologyzer.

Jan. 17 2013 11:24 AM
lucy

John Mackey your comments on the definition of fascism reveals the deep inadequacies not just of this country's health care system but its education system as well.

Jan. 17 2013 11:24 AM

After listening to this guy talk, I won't be going to Whole Foods anymore.

Jan. 17 2013 11:24 AM
Rob from Westchester

Why is this guy on? Fascist: "regrets" using the word, wasn't aware of the implications of using that word? C'mon. He should read a little bit. He must have run into the LaRouche people outside his US Post Office. (Pres. Obama with a Hitler mustache.)

He's unbelievable. I used to go to the store.
ASK HIM ABOUT THE FALSE ADVERTISING...............

He should send people in to ask his "team members" what they really think of the job and benefits. They're not going

Jan. 17 2013 11:24 AM
Bob

Hi Brian,

Please ask the guest if he thinks the financial sector, which makes money from money, has too much power over the "conscious capitalism" he claims that exists. How does this purely profit driven industry support his claims that profit is not at the heart of modern capitalism?

Thank you

Jan. 17 2013 11:24 AM
Lisanne from Croton

Whole foods is very expensive! Some people refer to it as "whole paycheck."
That being said, I still feel better about shopping there and knowing what's in my food, rather than shopping in the local supermarket, which I really dislike.

And one more comment: can you open a store in northern Westchester?

Jan. 17 2013 11:24 AM

The fact that you charge higher prices is OK with me since you do offer the best quality products and you provide the best benefits as well as wages that are about twice as much as your competitor...

Three Cheers for Whold Foods...

Jan. 17 2013 11:24 AM
Brian

This guy is undecided on whether Obama is a Socialist or a Fascist? Why are we shopping at Whole Foods again?

Jan. 17 2013 11:24 AM
Joanna Gazzola

I know someone who lives in Switzerland. The government absolutely sets the standards that insurance companies have to follow. I never shop at Whole Foods because the prices are too expensive.

Jan. 17 2013 11:24 AM

Mr. Mackey disregards the fact that US health insurance companies - including Part D providers - has 3x the overhead of CMS/Medicare.

Health insurance profits come partly from denials of service.

Also, health insurance companies have not even adopted the Medicare/Medicaid claim form or a universal health form which would reduce processing costs for health care providers by at least $700M/year, and probably more.

Jan. 17 2013 11:23 AM
mc from Brooklyn

The health care model he describes is not a good one in the long run. High deductible means people will probably neglect routine care which saves money in the long run.

Jan. 17 2013 11:23 AM
Julian from Teaneck


Whole Foods CEO tries to save the face of capitalists. It's his standpoint. What I cannot buy it i his comment about B. Obama as being fascist. This is not acceptable and put him in the same row with Tea Party.
Because I do not buy his comment on Obama I will not buy ever from his stores and I will encourage my family and friends to do the same. Finally, Whole Foods is a business which morally supports Tea Party extremism. In the last instance, all his efforts to save the face of capitalists falls short because his stupid comments.
Look, his says that he replaced "Obama is a socialist" with "Obama is a fascist" after checking the terms in a dictionary. How many books of economy, society and politics he has ever read?

Thanks.

Jan. 17 2013 11:23 AM
Emma from Green Point Brooklyn

The plan costs a non-smoking "team member" $10 a paycheck. There's a $2,000 prescription drug deductible that must be met before the company covers drug claims. There's a $6,000 max out-of-pocket for all other medical expenses. The company does provide a "Personal Wellness Card" based on service hours. That can roll over, but unless the "team member" has been there for 10,000 service hours it doesn't add up to too much. Perhaps $1,200 or $2,000 a year. So one would have to hope they don't use it for several years so they could cover the deductibles. The drug deductible resets every year, so in essence, there is no prescription drug coverage. Considering most employees make $10-$15 an hour, one incident could put that person in considerable financial stress. It's not anything more than a catastrophe plan. It's good if the employee suffered a brain trauma, but not much else.

Jan. 17 2013 11:23 AM
Michael D. D. White from Brooklyn Heights

That's the dictionary definition of "fascism? Really?- I just looked it up. I don't think so.

Jan. 17 2013 11:23 AM
James D'Addio from Hastings on Hudson

If he really is concerned about providing conscious provision why not lower the salad bar cost so that individuals from Yonkers can gather at the dining area with out spending 25.00 for a salad box.
They will end up buying additional items anyway give us a break..Whole Fodds is good quality and sometimes the same items disguised as 365 but you pay pay.. give options with cost he hits hard not conscious.

Jan. 17 2013 11:23 AM
anna from new york

OMG, we should stop buying there.

Jan. 17 2013 11:23 AM

Switzerland has a very well regulated health care system with strong regulated basic coverage.
This guy is misinforming to his own ideology.

Jan. 17 2013 11:23 AM
Zeggae from NY

Business is ALL about making money. If corporate America is a penny below Wall Street earning expectation they start firing people. My company has billions in cash. They downsize every year. Why? Money is my guess.

Jan. 17 2013 11:23 AM
Eileen

Lofty ideas aside, what about some of the "meat and potatoes" good a company like Whole Foods can and should do, such as limiting food waste (an underreported and systemic problem)? Or really pushing the envelope by opening stores in less affluent areas and offering competitive prices?

Jan. 17 2013 11:23 AM

@Red Bank woman...thats the point shop somewhere else! sheeesh that's your choice! some people want what WF has some do not....they go someone else. My god we are lost. If you think the nitrate free organic soy filled breakfast sausages are too expensive go someplace else.

Jan. 17 2013 11:23 AM
John Falcone from Queens, NY

The problem is not business people and professionals per se: many of them ARE driven by passion and a desire to improve our lives. The problem is the way that wee have structured INVESTMENT, so that stockholders and corporate raiders can make money in complete disconnection from the good or bad effects that a company has on the world.

Jan. 17 2013 11:23 AM
Jake from Nassau

Bill Gates was predatory, not creative. He did not invent the PC industry - He made a clever move on DOS to lock IBM into an inferior copycat operating system, then ruined the application software industry by churning out a whole bunch of low-cost inferior buggy apps for years to undercut the pricier quality software out there. Anyone get any useful work out of the first versions of Access or Windows ? Now MS products are as expensive as the ones it displaced.

Jan. 17 2013 11:23 AM
Sarah Reetz from NYC

What a profound thinker this guy is. In the space of a few hours he suddenly realized that the term "Fascism" has baggage...related to Nazi Germany. WOW. I'm sure glad I'm not a shareholder. Especially since I'mno longer a customer.

Jan. 17 2013 11:23 AM
John A

I am a whole foods shopper. I buy my whole foods at the ethnic grocery store where I can skip the marketing and get EG whole grain rice and lentils in simple bags and save money.

Jan. 17 2013 11:22 AM

I refuse to shop there! Who does he think he's fooling with this soft spoken PR crap?

Jan. 17 2013 11:22 AM

@Dee and @Ames - It depends on what you buy at WF. The milk at WF is actually cheaper than it is in my neighborhood. But other products - like chicken and meats - are WAY more expensive. I've learned to save $$$ by shopping at a variety of stores and using weekly ads. Also, I only really shop at WF if its something I can't find in a local store.

Jan. 17 2013 11:22 AM
Bob

Hi Brian,

Please ask the guest if he thinks the financial sector, which makes money from money, has too much power over the "conscious capitalism" he claims that exists. How does this purely profit driven industry support his claims that profit is not at the heart of modern capitalism?

Thank you

Jan. 17 2013 11:22 AM
mc from Brooklyn

I am curious if Whole Food's employee health benefit plan is a self-insured plan. My understanding is that such plans will have a lot of latitude in terms of "tailoring" benefits as he said this morning. Also, the Affordable Care Act is largely based on the Swiss model, so I don't understand his using that model as a way of contrasting the US model.

Jan. 17 2013 11:21 AM
DickeyFuller

This man seems to be delusional. I question his competence to lead the company.

We already have *competitive* markets in health insurance and it did not work. Absolutely no one can afford it.

What in the world is he talking about???

Jan. 17 2013 11:21 AM
John from NYC

Apparently this guys has never studies the Swiss model of Insurance - it is far more restrictive than ObamaCare

Jan. 17 2013 11:21 AM
Walter from Central, NJ

Why does Whole Foods, like Costco, pay their employeess approximately twice as much as most other companies in the same business, e.g., WalMart...

Jan. 17 2013 11:21 AM
joan from Brooklyn

I'm so glad banks were so socially conscious as to hand out mortgages like potato chips. As Lloyd the Blankfein said these guys are doing god's work.

Jan. 17 2013 11:21 AM
Uli from Midtown New York City

After hearing this guy on morning edition and hearing about the premise of his book, and then considering the inflated prices at Whole Foods, and his reasons for disliking ObamaCare I feel that this man's mentality is EXACTLY what is wrong with capitalism. I will NEVER shop at Whole Foods Again!

Jan. 17 2013 11:21 AM
Robert from Manhattan

Poorly supported self-serving arguments. Nothing new, constructive or interesting.

Jan. 17 2013 11:21 AM

Wow, he's bought his own hype! He clearly isn't in touch with the real world anymore because most pediatricians are barely scraping by. Don't believe a word you say. And I don't patronize his stores because he doesn't understand that lack of health care is killing this country, including small business owners such as myself. If we had a single payer system we, as small business owners wouldn't have to pay through the roof for the exorbitant costs of health insurance. This talk is renewing my decision to boycott his store. Fascism -- really! Thanks Brian for putting him on because he is every bit as odiously out of touch with the real world as I thought.

Jan. 17 2013 11:21 AM
Kay

Mackey has a pretty rosy-eyed view of business and capitalism, completely ignoring the ways that big business go out of their way to create *unfair* markets, and conditions that exploit already marginalized people, whether in the U.S. or globally.

Jan. 17 2013 11:20 AM
Tah from Croton on Hudson

John Mackey’s capitalist paradigm of low wages and high prices will find customers to satisfy on another planet.

Jan. 17 2013 11:20 AM

it is Fascism...don't back track now you have been making a persuasive argument so far. Things get better through competition plain and simple.

Jan. 17 2013 11:20 AM
anna from new york

Boy, what a DEMAGOGUE.
The guy is a Nazi. Yes, this is a right, descriptive word.
Yes, doctors in America live to help, etc. This bozo most certainly lives to serve.

Jan. 17 2013 11:20 AM
Mary

I am almost 30 and have worked at WF for over 5 years. I make 13.50 an hour. Their health care plan is terrible. Thre are huge deductibles and in effect no prescription drug coverage. A lot of my co workers get government insurance.

Jan. 17 2013 11:20 AM
Lolly from Brooklyn

Brian,

Please challenge this guy. What about tobacco, banks, sugary drinks? Good for people and driven by a vision of helping the world?

Jan. 17 2013 11:20 AM
Mario from Westchester

Who is he kidding, Whole Foods has no competition really! Whole Foods is a niche market. Mostly for people who use the the word niche!

Jan. 17 2013 11:19 AM
Larry from Nyack

Ask Mr. Mackey how our economy can provide more jobs while most corporations actively seek to "increase productivity" by cutting jobs and outsourcing?

Jan. 17 2013 11:19 AM
Henry from MD

Sounds great. It is as if the economic scandals of yesterday are all forgotten or did not happen at all. He is not talking about CEOs taking in astronomical incomes way above what many businesses can afford, or about corporations invading personal privacy. I am getting numerous calls every day by businesses (or others???)I don't know and don't want to hear from.

Jan. 17 2013 11:19 AM
Mike from Queens

I will never shop at Whole Foods again

Jan. 17 2013 11:19 AM
kristen carlberg from glen ridge nj

Mackey may laude his competition, but he's pretty quick to buy them up! there are no more bread and circuses, fresh fields and many others. Every town i've lived in has had a whole food market that originally was something else.

Jan. 17 2013 11:19 AM
jmk from East Village

Am I really supposed to take this glorification of capitalism from the man who:

"John P. Mackey, the co-founder of Whole Foods Market, has never lacked for personality. As it turns out, that was only the half of it. For seven years, Mr. Mackey had an online alter ego.

Using the pseudonym Rahodeb – a variation of Deborah, his wife’s name – Mr. Mackey typed out more than 1,100 entries on Yahoo Finance’s bulletin board over a seven-year period, championing his company’s stock and occasionally blasting a rival, Wild Oats Markets, that his company later went on to buy. The story was first disclosed on The Wall Street Journal’s Web site last night."

http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2007/07/12/whole-foods-ceo-posted-online-attacks-about-wild-oats/

And called "care" fascism? Give me a break.

Jan. 17 2013 11:19 AM
Ben from Westchester

I shop at Whole Foods because there is no alternative for the kinds of hormone and chemical free meat and chicken and seafood that they offer, as well as bulk foods, in Westchester where I live.

I hate them, though, their 365 house brand is terrible, I try to buy at other store, and I would leave Whole Foods in a heartbeat if I could find a strong alternative. Their CEO, who hates health care and seems to be completely full of it, just cements that opinion for me.

Jan. 17 2013 11:18 AM

Whole Foods has hurt a lot of smaller organic farmers in New York and elsewhere by its business practices. He should not be stating that his business is not primarily about making money while he injures the smaller suppliers by his policies.

Jan. 17 2013 11:18 AM
Chris from Minneapolis, MN

Mackey, there is no such thing as "conscious capitalism." Capitalism only works when you keep the money in your pocket and screw everyone else in society. That's what psychopaths do for a living. Just ask Gordon Gekko.

Jan. 17 2013 11:18 AM
Kate

I have been a regular shopper at WF for many years and have noticed over time that WH is increasinly selling WF brand products instead of products from other suppliers. Is there a reason other than increasing margins for doing this? How does this fit with his statement that competition is good when they seem to be limiting it on their own shelves?

Jan. 17 2013 11:18 AM

This guy sounds like a cult leader.

...or, Kult® leader, rather!

Jan. 17 2013 11:17 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Yes Capitalist are passionate about MONEY, they LOVE MONEY.

Jan. 17 2013 11:17 AM

I love shopping at whole foods, but it exists to make a profit. any business makes a profit. Who is he kidding! But I will say, that in order to make profit, Whole Foods understands that they have to be different from their competitors - and they do so by offering a better shopping experience and selling higher quality products.

Jan. 17 2013 11:17 AM
Dee from Brooklyn

Whole Foods is joke. It contributes to what I view as a major problem with access to organic food in the US. Wayyyyyyyy too expensive for the majority to afford. When I lived in the UK the difference in price between organic vs. non-organic was miniscule. So please explain to me how his approach to capitalism is not about the $$$ signs.

Jan. 17 2013 11:17 AM
Ames Pallante

Why does Whole Foods cost so much compared to other similar grocery stores, such as Sprouts. I am sure John Mackey knows Whole Foods is also called "Whole Paycheck".

Jan. 17 2013 11:16 AM
David from NYC

What world is this guy living in ??
Big Business has only profits in mind and if they could would
pay people as little as possiable, with no health benefits.

Jan. 17 2013 11:15 AM
Geoff from Brooklyn

Brian
Please don't let your loyal supporters down by not challenging your guest on his comments on The Affordable Care Act and likening it to Fascism !

Jan. 17 2013 11:15 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Yo, we may have to stop shopping at Whole Foods (those of us who do).
None of what he's saying addresses the crisis at hand which is the disproportionate power of business -- the "exploitive model".
So far, hot air. Is he conscious of this?

Jan. 17 2013 11:14 AM

"Organic" food???

Like organic pink COTTON CANDY?!?!?

Junk food weather it's "organic" or not is still JUNK FOOD!!

DON'T BUY THE MACKEY HUCKSTERISM!!

Jan. 17 2013 11:14 AM

Mr. Mackey's ignorance of fascism & socialism shows his unconsciousness.

The GOP borrowed Supply Side Economics from the Soviet Union & Nazi Germany where companies ran the government.

Jan. 17 2013 11:14 AM
Yosif from Manhattan

Please have your guest explain how public corporations - who are legally mandated to gain the highest amount for their shareholders without breaking the law - are supposed to be good for society. Especially, considering that they can influence lawmakers a la Citizens United. Modern day corporations seem to be sociopathic creatures that have growth properties similar to cancer. Long from the chartered mandates of companies from the 19th century. I am now a Fairway shopper since his comments on Obamacare.

Jan. 17 2013 11:13 AM
John

If small business isn't the source of exploitative capitalism and big business isn't the source exploitative capitalism where does it come from?

Jan. 17 2013 11:13 AM
debbie

Whole Foods sells lots of frozen foods that are produced in China under the Whole Foods Brand. Wondering how they can guarantee that they're organic? I am very skeptical.

Jan. 17 2013 11:13 AM
Mario from Westchester

I love going to Whole Paycheck!

Jan. 17 2013 11:12 AM
kaili from Montclair, NJ

What's the corporate difference between Whole Foods and Trader Joes? Why does it seem that TJ's offer better prices?

Jan. 17 2013 11:12 AM
Orla from Manhattan

Was is Mackay or another heroic head of Whole Foods who was caught a few years ago blogging in disguise to spread negative misinformation about competitors? Profit not idealism is clearly what Whole Foods is about.

Jan. 17 2013 11:12 AM
Julian from Manhattan

Comments like "Capitalism has been the major uplifting force in humanity for the past two centuries." (paraphrase) need to be qualified. It's given us the industrial revolution, which although it fundamentally changed society, also gave us industrial pollution, global warming, and exploitative labor practices. There's also a good case to be made that it has encouraged large-scale warfare.

Jan. 17 2013 11:11 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Yes, John Mackey also doesn’t believe in universal medical care. And many of his employees don’t make much over minimum wage. Brian, make sure that you go soft on him.

Jan. 17 2013 11:11 AM
Noach (Independent)

Re: "Obamacare": I don't know whether it's "fascism" (which, along with "Socialism", "Communism", and even "Democracy" have lost meaning, see Orwell's "Politics and The English Language") but it's a massive subsidy to the insurance and pharma leeches.

Who's gonna "break the cycle of dependency" for the _corporate_ welfare queens?

Jan. 17 2013 11:11 AM

Is it just me or someone else suddenly becoming nauseous??

Jan. 17 2013 11:11 AM
Keira

Love is the great value producer in the world.

Jan. 17 2013 11:10 AM
Laura from Staten Island

Please ask him to open a Whole Foods on Staten Island. I have been driving to Whole Foods in NJ. We could use more organic options here.

Jan. 17 2013 11:08 AM
Michael Lashutka from Brooklyn

Please ask him about his recent comments comparing Obamacare to fascism. And remind him that the Nazis were fascists and were responsible for killing six million Jews in Europe.

Jan. 17 2013 11:00 AM
Noach

Correction:
_Hugh_ Sansom, that is. Typo.

Jan. 17 2013 10:59 AM
Noach (Independent) from Brooklyn

Apropos to HushSansom's post:
A 2009 blog post by Doug Henwood lambasting Ralph Nader for his book, ""Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!"
http://lbo-news.com/2009/09/23/ralph-nader-the-plutocrats/

__________Begin Quoted Excerpts_________________________

"So now he’s out with a “novel” that apparently argues that a small posse of enlightened plutocrats will save us. Citizens’ groups aren’t up to the task, Ralph tells Amy Goodman."

[...]
"So the problem isn’t private ownership and a competitive system driven by profit maximization—it’s simply scale (small good, big bad) and temperament (replace the evil bizpeople with the good ones). He seems to have no idea that competition and profit maximization make people, who may be perfectly warm and lovely in their private lives, do monstrous things. I once heard a very similar line from Ben “Ben & Jerry’s” Cohen, who couldn’t understand how CEOs could both go to church and be nice to their families and then go to work and exploit and pollute.

Of course, as Liza Featherstone pointed out long ago, when faced with a union organizing campaign in crunchy Vermont, B&J fought it as roughly as any thuggish Southern mill owner would. “It’s business, man!,” as Liza’s title explained. "

____________End Quoted Excerpts_________________________

Jan. 17 2013 10:54 AM
Noach (Independent) from Brooklyn

I hope that Mr. Lehrer will challenge Mackey to respond to the claims that have been made in the comments here. (But I'm not exactly holding my breath...)

As soon as I saw the lead for this segment, I was reminded of the following quote I had read some time ago,

"the idea that we can improve the financial market through
socially conscious investing (à la Ben & Jerry’s or the Body Shop) is
also flawed. There is almost no way to engage in large-scale corporate
production and not deal with supposedly “bad” industries like logging
and steel. After all, to choose just one example, Ben & Jerry’s needs
cardboard for its ice cream containers and metal for the chairs in
its shops. Ben & Jerry’s may be buying brownies from Vermont collectives, but
ultimately it’s also dealing with clear cutters when it buys
thousands of yards of cardboard containers for Chocolate Brownie ice
cream."

- From: 'The Marxist Wall Street couldn't ignore' (Doug Henwood)
http://www.salon.com/1998/12/22/21feature_2/

Jan. 17 2013 10:49 AM

people are generally selfish

Jan. 17 2013 10:15 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Mr. Mackey said on an earlier NPR show that he thought Obamacare was "fascism."

If so, why didn't Mr. Mackey and the rest of corporate America take a more proactive role in tackling - the out of control health care costs, which put US businesses at a competitive disadvantage, to avoid the government stepping in, in the first place?

Jan. 17 2013 10:12 AM

In one online forum, Mackey hid behind a fake ID to denigrate rival Wild Oats and make flattering comments about himself — http://consumerist.com/2007/07/12/whole-foods-ceo-caught-bashing-wild-oats-stock-on-yahoo-forums/

Mackey said that Obamacare is "like fascism" — http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/16/whole-foods-ceo-obamacare-fascism_n_2488029.html

And Mackey is a climate change denialist, claiming that "no scientific consensus exists" (false).

The New Yorker had an excellent essay on Mackey: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/01/04/100104fa_fact_paumgarten

Mackey is another of a growing list of American wealth supremacists. Like the Koch brothers or Lloyd Blankefein, he thinks that the wealthy are just inherently superior to the rest of us and should just act as out parents, telling us what to do. We should be their obedient, docile children.

Jan. 17 2013 09:54 AM
Dave from Red Hook

Ha. Didn't one of his workers get fired for UNion Square for eating a sandwich form the garbage? No Union, etc etc. crazy!

Jan. 17 2013 09:39 AM

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