Reason TV: Whole Foods chief Mackey defends capitalism
posted at 4:25 pm on October 14, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch interview the man who became the unlikely villain for the Left in the debate over health-care reform: John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods. Mackey tells Reason.tv that he believes in capitalism, but that its advocates have not told its story adequately enough to counter the emotional arguments against it. As long as its seen as a philosophy of “greed,” Mackey warns, then it will remain vulnerable to statist alternatives that kill economic growth, liberty, and technology:
The entire one-hour interview can be seen here:
In August, Mackey became one of the most controversial businessmen in America when he penned an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal outlining his company’s free-market-oriented health care system and offering eight concrete reforms that would reduce costs and improve access. Noting that health care is not “a right” as that term is properly understood, Mackey forcefully argued that increasing government intervention into health care is precisely the wrong thing to do: “The last thing our country needs is a massive new health-care entitlement that will create hundreds of billions of dollars of new unfunded deficits and move us much closer to a government takeover of our health-care system. Instead, we should be trying to achieve reforms by moving in the opposite direction-toward less government control and more individual empowerment.”
The response from the left to Mackey’s op-ed was swift: Advocates of single-payer health care, union activists, and others called for protests at and boycotts of Whole Foods, despite the fact that the company provides affordable and well-regarded coverage to its employees. As a cutting-edge entrepreneur who is comfortable quoting astrological signs and Ludwig von Mises, who practices veganism and sells some of the best meat in America, and who chases profits and is an outspoken advocate of charitable giving, Mackey confounds conventional political categories. As an
advocate of what he calls “conscious capitalism,” Mackey is that rarest of businessman: an articulate and passionate defender of free enterprise and free individuals.
I may not agree with everything Mackey believes, but on economics and policy, he is spot-on. It’s well worth the viewing, and gives me another reason to do more shopping at Whole Foods. If the government was serious about cost reforms in health care, Congress would follow the Whole Foods example of health coverage.
Over at his blog, Nick attempts to defend Roger Moore as James Bond, but eventually admits the futility.