Whole Foods CEO John Mackey wants the world to know that capitalism is the “greatest thing humanity’s ever done.” Capitalism has raised more of the world out of poverty than all other systems of economic organization combined. Mackey is now selling his book, in which he makes the case for capitalism by changing the narrative of capitalism to “show that it’s about creating shared value, not for the few but for everyone.”
The book is called Conscious Leadership: Elevating Humanity Through Business. The Editorial Board at the Wall Street Journal writes of Mr. Mackey:
Mr. Mackey offered his remarks while promoting his latest book, “Conscious Leadership.” The title points to the strategies he pursued in building Whole Foods. But the subtitle captures his larger message: “Elevating Humanity Through Business.” His argument is that businesses make money by creating value for others—producing goods or services that people want and can afford, creating livelihoods for workers, providing returns for its investors and helping communities.
In founding Whole Foods, he admits he wanted to make money. But he emphasizes that what really drove him was a passion to put fresh and healthy food within reach of all Americans. He says too many progressives and universities never see this larger story because they can’t get past the idea of profits, which they believe are dirty. Too many business leaders fail to push back.
“We’ve told a bad narrative,” he said, “and we’ve let the enemies of business and the enemies of capitalism put out a narrative about us that’s wrong.” It builds on his previous remarks that “from an ethical standpoint, we need to change the narrative of capitalism, to show that it’s about creating shared value, not for the few but for everyone.”
Mr. Mackey is right to worry that socialism may win the argument even as in practice it always proves a disaster. Instead of shrinking from political criticism, other CEOs could learn from his example.
Many of you are small business owners and entrepreneurs. You know what a difference a business can make, not only in your lives but in the lives of your customers and suppliers.
Action Line: Tell me how your business is “elevating humanity.” Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your stories.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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