Whole Foods CEO warns socialism is a failed system that ‘impoverishes everything,’ says colleges are the problem

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Whole Foods founder and CEO John Mackey better be careful, the left-wing cancel culture may set their eyes upon him given his recent dig at socialism.

Set against a backdrop of American universities turning out an entire generation of anti-capitalists who see socialism favorable, Mackey argued Tuesday at a discussion organized by the American Enterprise Institute that socialism is a failed system that “impoverishes everything,” Just the News reported.


In response to criticism of “trickle down economics,” Mackey said socialism equates to “trickle up poverty.”

“We have to recognize that some of the progressive insights are important and they shouldn’t go away, but we can’t throw out capitalism and replace it with socialism, that will be a disaster,” he said. “Socialism has been tried 42 times in the last 100 years and 42 failures, it doesn’t work, it’s the wrong way. We have to keep capitalism, I would argue, we need conscious capitalism.”

The problem, as Mackey will learn, is that Gen Z doesn’t care about facts, logic and reason. Nor are they open-minded about debating countering points of view. Instead, they demand absolute adherence to progressive dogma, where the only option is to walk in lockstep or be rejected in society.

Stressing that capitalism is misunderstood, the CEO put the onus on businesses and corporations to correct this.

“Until we get this corrected, capitalism is always going to be disdained and criticized and attacked,” Mackey explained. “It’ll be attacked for its motivations, because its motivations are seen as somehow impure. Yes, of course, business has to make money. If a business doesn’t make money, it will fail, but that doesn’t mean that its purpose is to make money.”

The alternative to explaining the successes of capitalism is more socialism, and more poverty, he suggested.

“It needs to evolve, otherwise the socialists are going to take over — that’s how I see it, and that’s the path of poverty,” Mackey said. “They talk about trickle down wealth, but socialism is trickle up poverty. It just impoverishes everything, that’s my fear, that the Marxists and socialists, the academic community is generally hostile to business. It always has been. This is not new.”

He was smart enough to understand the root of the problem, saying that America’s universities are generally “anti-capitalist.”

Noting that he’s sometimes heckled when appearing at college campuses, Mackey said that while business students are usually receptive to his message, “professors are very skeptical, their arms are crossed and they want to argue with me about it.”

The challenge is college business programs don’t feature enough “business people” — on that note, America regularly elects people to office with no real-world experience, outside of academia and government.

“Intellectuals teach, mostly intellectuals, who’ve never actually been in business at all, right? It’s very interesting,” he said. “And who don’t actually understand business, who don’t particularly understand entrepreneurship, and actually can oftentimes be hostile towards the very thing they’re teaching. So that’s a particular challenge.”

Tom Tillison


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