Whole Foods CEO John Mackey claimed capitalism cannot be replaced by socialism, stating it is ‘the path to poverty’.
Speaking to Robert Doar from the American Enterprise Institute via Zoom last week, the multimillionaire, 67, said capitalism is the ‘greatest thing humanity has ever done’ while claiming socialism ‘impoverishes everything’.
The libertarian grocery store boss, whose business is said to ‘lead with love’, spoke passionately about leadership and criticized those who slam capitalism.
‘Socialism has been tried 42 times in the last 100 years, and 42 failures,’ he said. ‘It doesn’t work. It’s the wrong way. We have to keep capitalism. I would argue we need conscious capitalism.’
‘We’ve told a bad narrative, and we’ve let the enemies of business and the enemies of capitalism put out a narrative about us that’s wrong.
‘It’s inaccurate and doing tremendous damage to the minds of young people,’ he said. Until we get this corrected, capitalism is always going to be disdained and criticized and attacked.
‘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.’
Instead he suggests business culture needs to evolve, to avoid the socialists ‘taking over’, which he describes the ‘path to poverty’.
‘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.’
The supporter of a free market economy suggests professors are more upset than the students and proposed there should be more ‘business people’ teaching.
What many Communists don’t get (and some count on) is that the old Soviet Union had even fewer nomenklatura (the Communist version of oligarch), and that the gap between the nomenklatura and the narod was even greater than that than the current Russian gap between the oligarchs and the narod, which itself is greater than between the “rich” and the “poor” here.
I would question the last portion of your statement Steveegg. Maybe by some arcane measure that last is true, but since the top 1% of the US conservatively owns about 40% of US wealth or 8.6 trillion in 2019 and the Russian GDP was 4.21 trillion in 2019, I would guess our top 1% is further apart from our middle and lower classes than Russia’s. Our poor may be richer than Russian poor, but our wealthy has their wealthy whipped so our dollar cap is a lot higher.
The latest estimates I could find is that the Russian top 1% only owns 20-25% (increasing just like ours) of the wealth compared to our top 1% owning 40%.
Not to say that I am in any way against capitalism, I think it is by far the best economic engine. To successfully use the economic engines for Socialism, Communism, Fascism or any other ism I can think of you would have to change several fundamental behaviors of humans, imo. For Capitalism, the greatest challenge is judging how much/little regulation is necessary for it to function most effectively.
I should hope that Mr. Mackey was being hyperbolic when he said “capitalism is the ‘greatest thing humanity has ever done’”. I would think that discovering fire, discovering writing, eradicating small pox, mastering flight, traveling to the moon, etc… should be of more worth to humanity than capitalism.
Also, it is tempting to play the devil’s advocate here and argue the case for Russian Communism… but as I recognize the failures of their system I will not. (for fun though we could argue this if you like)
I do think it behooves one to examine the failures of the U.S. system.
1) Lack of Universal Healthcare System
2) An elite that owns over 40% of the wealth and controls the political system.
3) A mass incarceration system, the largest the world has ever seen both in absolute terms and as a percentage of the population.
4) A national debt that is spiraling out of control.
5) An industrial war complex that consumes a massive amount of the annual budget and engages in atrocities abroad.
Is it too much to ask the business community to support a steeply progressive tax on large incomes and a small wealth tax on very large fortunes to pay down the debt and fund social programs? Social programs such as: a single payer system, federal jobs program, etc.
Yes, it is too much to ask. Many times that profit goes into innovation: new drugs, cures, vaccines, technology that makes life better for all!
To take money from leaders and achievers, like a an average leftist thug does not forward humanity, it forwards laziness for those not earning those resources.
Distribution of Christianity to help those less fortunate is solution you are looking for. However, godless liberals seem to impede that basic spread of Gospel every chance they get because it lessons need for politicians to force you to do it through endless, liberal thirst for economic power they do not deserve.
Many times successful capitalists are very generous, without leftist force.
“I would think that discovering fire, discovering writing, eradicating small pox, mastering flight, traveling to the moon, etc… should be of more worth to humanity than capitalism.”
Fire was discovered not invented by man.
Writing is a form of communication and communication comes naturally.
Mastering flight, eradicating small pox and traveling to the moon were all made possible by capitalism.
Somebody doesn’t remember their Soviet history very well. At the same time the narod were waiting years for a 1-room apartment, the nomenklatura not only had cars and country dachas, but their own lanes on the road.
Not sure if that was at me this is aimed at, but I said I disagreed with the last portion of your statement, i.e. post Nomenklatura/Narod. Are those issues still accurate? I just don’t buy that the current wealth distribution between the top Russian 1% has a greater gap than the upper 1% of the US today. The Russian 99% owns 75-80% of their GDP, the US 99% only owns 60%.
Maxwell, in very broad terms, I agree with 2 and 4. I have usually been on the side of the job makers and Capitalism in the past, but that has waned since the big time job makers (not small businesses) have taken control of Government. For instance, I think a well regulated healthcare system would crush any universal healthcare system and even a poorly regulated healthcare system will beat out a Government controlled universal healthcare system. However, in a very real sense, since the super rich have control of the Government now, they are the ones who really owe the debt. It is not anti-capitalistic or anti-democratic for the guilty to pay for their problems. We expect the guilty to do their time and/or pay the fine. So to me, they should be paying down the debt. Unfortunately, in controlling the Government, they also control who, if anyone will pay it at all. Liberals are still under the silly delusion that Democrats would actually force the super rich do do anything that will actually cut into their profits, much less their fortunes.
Should have said:
I think a well regulated healthcare system in a capitalist society would crush any universal healthcare system and even a poorly regulated healthcare system in a capitalist society will beat out a Government controlled universal healthcare system.
Umnnhhhh,……T……..which of the Founders was a working-class schlub? Or–better put–did working-class schlubs dominate the early governments in the US, whether State or Federal?
Larger: basing the discussion on the false theory that the “happiness” of the Declaration is “wealth” will always lead to exactly what Marx wanted: class warfare.
That’s because in this country, the term ‘self-discipline’ is no longer even 20th on a list of 10 most important virtues. For that matter “virtues” are no longer considered desirable, either. Ask any Democrat.
Umnhhhhhhh…………D……how is this relevant to my back and forth with Steveegg? Are you trying to say that the founding father’s were the top 1% and that they owned about 40% of the wealth in the early US so it has always been this way? Are you insinuating that the founding fathers owned the Government back then and made laws to help themselves? Last time I looked at the tax code it was over 75,000 pages and about 99% only affects the top 1%. How big was the tax code back in the 18th century and was it filled with breaks for the founding fathers?
Who did that? Relevancy? And why would you base anything on a false theory?
And end with a statement I have espoused on B&S many times through out the years, but has nothing (that I can see) to do with my commentary.
Would you now like to continue discussion with a nice back and forth on how squirrels like nuts?
Since you are obviously fixated on wealth, my comment is germane. If you can’t see that, oh well.
To my knowledge, neither the Founders nor any group of oligopolists today “own” the Government. That’s as obvious a rhetorical dodge as anything put forth by CNN about Trump. From you, it’s a disappointment–although perhaps you are a secret socialist?
Actually, my initial comment was purely that I dis-believed that the Russian top 1% today had a wider gap than the the US top 1%. When Steve took umbrage, I followed up with some stats.
Then in real terms we disagree and I think you have bad knowledge. Oh well, I guess I am disappointed in you too. If you don’t think owning all of the major media, i.e. controlling information, facts, stats, and spin on elections and all related news, being virtually limitless in the amount of money that can be spent on campaigns and the amount of money that lobbyists (who are nothing but representatives of the super wealthy) spend to influence any particular vote equals ‘control of Government’, I can’t help you. Do you disagree with any of that statement or do you think it just doesn’t equal control?
If you believe anyone who disagrees with you on the above is a secret socialist then I believe I am within bounds in thinking you to be as narrowminded as any PC loving liberal. Should I start calling you Daaaaad 2222229999 like you use Le Roi’s moniker? Are you closet PC? Or do you just like the way they do business and like to copy them like Kevin?
I prefer civil, but I can enjoy good old fashioned mudslingin’ match since you seem to prefer it. Or if you would like to bring it back to civil, please answer what part of controlling information through media ownership, spending virtually limitless money on campaigns, and then spending any amount more through lobbying to affect any vote do you disagree with? Or, why specifically, do you think it does not equal control?
You started very well. Then you got to “owns”……….
One cannot dispute that some group of wealthy individuals, foundations, and major corporations have significant influence on Fed and State gummints. Recently, however, their influence was considered malevolent by enough people to toss an election to Trump.
Given all that–but not “owns”–the question underlying your complaint also has to do with ‘greater good’. For the time being, we don’t have to discuss regulatory levels; it’s sufficient to ask whether MOST Americans are able to obtain MOST of what they need to live MOSTLY happy lives. That is “the greater good,” unless you have a different definition.
It’s also noteworthy that Trump won–twice. We can speculate at length about who financed the jiggering of this election, but there are oligarchs on both sides of the battle. In any case, a ‘populist’ with ‘America First’ as a brand wrested control of some significant parts of Gummint despite a great deal of money arrayed against him.
So we have a not-too-firm “own” of Government by ONE group of money-men, and we have another group of money-men along with a large part of the population (probably 60%) voting for what Trump stands for.
AND we have 250+ million people living pretty good lives. How do we know that? They’re in the top 80% of income-earners in the wealthiest country on Earth. They must be fairly happy or they would not have re-elected Trump, right?
Can there be fine-tuning? Maybe. Better question: SHOULD there be fine-tuning?
We are generally in the same ballpark. Capitalism (or ‘limited/regulated’ capitalism) is fine with me. I just disagree that any group really “owns” the Gummint–or “owns” it to the serious detriment of the population at large.
“It’s also noteworthy that Trump won–twice.”
That will need some further explaining, or at least a reasonable twisting of reality.
I see the little coward, sociopath, crawled out his septic tank and makes an appearance.
Hoping of course that we don’t remember that he lied about President Trump and myself.
Go back to the septic tank, coward sociopath. You and the poop down there make perfect bedfellows.
Tuerqas sez: The latest estimates I could find is that the Russian top 1% only owns 20-25% (increasing just like ours) of the wealth compared to our top 1% owning 40%.
I don’t know where you are getting your data from but you are quite a bit off there.
According to the Federal Reserve, 2020 Q2 shows 1%-ers owning less than 1/3 (30.4%) of US wealth. Meanwhile, as of just about two years ago Russia surpassed the US in the wealth gap category. And consider that when you hear a Russian labeled a “millionaire” or “billionaire”, that Russian is far richer in-country than one of our own because $1.00US in Russia equals around $2.50 here due to cost of living differences.
Tuerqas sez: Our poor may be richer than Russian poor,
On that point you are correct. Our poor have cell phones and cars and big screen TVs. (coming soon: internet connections are a civil right). Not sure if Rusky poor have cell phones but overall auto use per/1000 pop is only 42% of US.
FWIW, overall poverty rate (2019) in US is 10.5 %. Russia is 14.3%. (Given 2020, one would expect both to rise).
I am not really sure that is fair unless you equate controls with owns. I used the term control exclusively (concerning wealth in Gov’t) until I sarcastically put words in your mouth. The first time I used owns started with “Are you suggesting”” and it was aimed at you facetiously. And yes, I said ‘controls the Gov’t’ and I could have said controls too much Gov’t, and been more in line with what I think. I spoke in generalizations and have no problem with being taken to task for it. I think we see pretty much eye to eye on most things fiscal. On Trump we differ. It may well be true and you may well be right, but I just can’t accept that a multi-billionaire with questionable ethics as President is ever going to spearhead a successful a Populist movement aimed at getting money out of Government.
MjM – Tuerqas answez:
Always willing to be schooled MjM. I got my info off the internet, as I am guessing you did. Mine was 2019 data. Also, my initial statement was based off a stat I read in relation to a percentage of the GDP. I would have no trouble believing that different measurement tools will show different results. So while I would not discount your info as being bad in actual numbers, I am not sure my source is bad either. You can accept a single source and measurement tool as the final word if you wish, I don’t care (for instance, Q2 2020 stats right after the Covid market bath might show very different results from the Q3 come back results. I would say yours is a bad number to use.).
I never questioned the number of poor in either country. Russia has more. All I said was that the gap is greater in the US and I still believe I am right in that statement. The average for the top 1% for the US was 10.7 million (it was either 2018 or 2019). I could not find a specific number for Russia, but I found one reference say it was ‘under 5 million’. The gap is going to be greater in the US with those numbers. Whose poor ‘has more’ is a very different question and was not the one Steveegg commented on that I took umbrage with. As the wealthiest nation in the world, it would seem obvious that American poor live better than poor most anywhere else (outside Western Europe). i.e little of your comment was relevant to me though it was all directed there, and what was relevant used different tools with different numbers. Mine was based off of one year and yours was based off a skewed quarter, in my opinion, so no schooling yet.
Btw, Dad29 we do not disagree on Trump concerning the last election, though 60% may be high. I do believe the early balloting system in most states is simple to defraud and it skewed the election.
Tuerqas sez: Mine was 2019 data… and Mine was based off of one year and yours was based off a skewed quarter,
At the end of 2019 the 1% owned 34.92 trillion of 111.8 trillion US wealth, or 31.2% of total US wealth. By 2020 Q2 they lost 0.8% of US wealth.
Tuerqas sez: Also, my initial statement was based off a stat I read in relation to a percentage of the GDP
Well, them I’m confused. This is what you wrote above:
… but since the top 1% of the US conservatively owns about 40% of US wealth or 8.6 trillion in 2019…
In 2019 US GDP was 21.75 trillion. Your 40% would be 8.7 of that.
Perhaps you should be more clear and explain how the richest 1% “owns” GDP.
My number was 21.43 trillion, was that 2018?
Tueqas asks: was that 2018?
You tell me. 2018 GDP 20.91T (Sources: Fed Reserve, BEA)
But it doesn’t matter. Explain how anyone “owns” GDP. Do you really think the 1%-ers accumulated their wealth by way of US consumers only?