The CEO of one of the nation’s largest grocery chains criticized socialism and the private universities that openly attack capitalism.
“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,” Whole Foods CEO John Mackey said during an event organized by the American Enterprise Institute this week. “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.”
Mackey expressed the belief that capitalism needs to be explained in a more articulate manner.
“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.”
Mackey explained that he has been heckled during speeches at college campuses and has even been disinvited by school leadership despite the fact that it’s usually only the professors who are upset rather than the students.
“But the professors are very skeptical. Their arms are crossed, and they want to argue with me about it,” he said.
The CEO suggested that more “business people” should be teaching at colleges.
“Intellectuals teach, mostly intellectuals, who’ve never actually been in business at all, right? It’s very interesting,” Mackey said. “And [it’s the intellectuals] who don’t actually understand business, who don’t particularly understand entrepreneurship, and, actually, can oftentimes be hostile toward the very thing they’re teaching. So that’s a particular challenge.”
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