Outgoing Whole Foods CEO warns scourge of socialism is ‘taking over’, teases more to say when he’s ‘unmuzzled’

John Mackey, the co-founder and soon-to-be-departing CEO of Whole Foods, says he is “deeply concerned” that “socialists are taking over” the nation.

Appearing on the Reason podcast with Nick Gillespie, Mackey, 68, stated, “They’re marching through the institutions. They’re…taking over education. It looks like they’ve taken over a lot of the corporations. It looks like they’ve taken over the military. And it’s just continuing.”

“You know, I’m a capitalist at heart, and I believe in liberty and capitalism,” Mackey continued. “Those are my twin values. And I feel like, you know, with the way freedom of speech is today, the movement on gun control, a lot of the liberties that I’ve taken for granted most of my life, I think, are under threat.”

According to Mackey, increased pandemic-era unemployment benefits made it difficult to staff Whole Foods.

“A lot of people were making as much money, if not more money, not working at all,” he said. “And so guess what? They chose not to come back to work. They got used to it.”

The bigger problem, the exec said, is “the younger generation” who “don’t seem to want to work.”

And that woke — and unrealistic — mentality, he argued, is particularly present in major Democratic-run cities such as New York.

“They only wanna work if it’s really purposeful, and [something] they feel aligned to,” he explained. “You can’t hope to start with meaningful work. You’re gonna have to earn it over time.”

“Some of the younger generation doesn’t seem to be willing to pay that price, and I don’t know why,'” he added.

According to actor and political commentator Mike O’Hara, Mackey has a point.

“He’s not wrong,” O’Hara argued. “He’s not. The issue is this generation was educated to believe that capitalism is bad and “free” is their right… when they find out it isn’t it’s too late.”

Far from being fueled by greed and power, Mackey has developed and embraced what he calls “conscious capitalism” — businesses whose mission it is to “create financial, intellectual, social, cultural, emotional, spiritual, physical, and ecological wealth for all of their stakeholders.”

According to Gillespie, Mackey is “one of the most hardcore capitalists I’ve ever met, yet also an incredibly spiritual and thoughtful guy who wants to help all of us live better, more interesting lives.”

“I believe that the enlightened corporation should try to create value for all of its constituencies,” Mackey once wrote. “From an investor’s perspective, the purpose of the business is to maximize profits. But that’s not the purpose for other stakeholders—for customers, employees, suppliers, and the community. Each of those groups will define the purpose of the business in terms of its own needs and desires, and each perspective is valid and legitimate.”

His “enlightened” thoughts on capitalism make Mackey’s warning of a socialist takeover all the more noteworthy and it’s a subject he says he will be discussing in greater length in the near future.

The CEO, who will be retiring after 44 years from his post at Whole Foods in six weeks, said he will have more to say about politics once he exits the role that rendered him “intimidated enough to shut up.”

“Pretty soon, you’re gonna hear about ‘Crazy John’ who’s no longer muzzled,” he said. “I’ve got six weeks. I can talk more about politics in six weeks than I can today.”


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