(US) Freedom's Whole Foods
- [opinion from American Spectator]
I've been there, so the things that John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods
Market, says in the June 2006 issue of Liberty magazine essentially
Whole Foods is big now, one of the nation's fastest growing mass
retailers, with sales last year exceeding $5 billion and a gross
profit of more than $1.6 billion -- not a bad return in the grocery
It didn't start that way. Coming out of the counterculture movement of
the 1960s and 1970s, Mackey, a vegetarian, a former long-haired and
bearded commune resident, a student of ecology, yoga, and eastern
philosophy, writes that he idealistically opened a small food store in
1978 with his girlfriend, with a total capital outlay of $45,000. The
store lost $23,000 in its first year
"I believed that 'profit' was a necessary evil at best and certainly
not a desirable goal for society as a whole," he writes. "However,
becoming an entrepreneur completely changed my life. Everything I
believed about business was proven to be wrong."
The freedom movement, libertarians, and free market economists, he
writes, have done a poor job of defending the social legitimacy of
business, economic freedom, capitalism, individualism and free
markets. The message should be that business, working through free
markets, has arguably been the world's greatest force for human
progress and our collective well-being, delivering increased
prosperity, less poverty, extended longevity and democratic freedoms.
Ralph R. Reiland, the B. Kenneth Simon professor of free enterprise at
Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh.
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