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A Pagan's Blog


John Mackey of Whole Foods, Libertarian Blindness, and New Age Spirituality

posted by Gus diZerega

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, is at it again,
using his version of libertarianism to deny global warming.  It is a false crisis that responding to
would impoverish and enslave us. 
Even a writer who has long defended him before now has finally had it with the
guy
.  I was going to unload on Mackey again, but before doing so did additional reading
about the guy.  Especially a very
interesting piece by Nick Paumgarten in the January 4 New Yorker.  


 I’m glad I
did.  While my support of the
boycott remains (I have not shopped there since his comments on health reform)
Mackey is far more interesting (and sympathetic) than simply being a ruthless
businessman.  He is also an
idealist. An interesting one.  And
so what was going to be a short post has turned rather philosophical.

Mackey is a libertarian entrepreneur with a firm belief in
each individual’s responsibility for his or her own life.   That hits close to home because I
was a libertarian for a long time myself. (I also ran my own business for many
years – but that’s another story). 

Only gradually and bit by bit did I cease being a
libertarian, and I still have a great deal of admiration for the creative
entrepreneurial spirit as well as respect for individual autonomy that
libertarianism at its best honors. 
Mackey sees the crucial role in improving society that business people
can play, and that many on the left have a hard time grasping.  Within the limits of today’ economy, he
has done much to mainstream organic and sustainable food and healthy eating,
and he did so not simply to make money. 

In a telling, and I believe completely honest, statement,
Mackey says

“Would I prefer Whole Foods to be very successful and people still ate
terrible food and were getting heart disease and cancer and diabetes when they
didn’t have to? I fundamentally don’t believe you have to get those diseases.
Or Whole Foods has gone bankrupt, but yet the world’s health is far better and
everybody’s eating a healthier diet? I’d rather have the second one.
Absolutely.”

Admirable as these sentiments are, and as much as he has
accomplished to promote his vision, I think Mackey still suffers from an
ideologically enhanced myopia blinding him to very important dimensions of
reality.  If I had to summarize my
core problem with Mackey’s views, I’d point to a yin/yang symbol.  Or perhaps to our own Wheel of the
Year, which is a more complex image of the same point.  Mackey’s views of human beings are
completely yang.  Completely
Midsummer. 

The yin/yang symbol is simpler to use, so I’ll stick with
it.  When I teach political theory
one way I explore the nature of our individuality is by analogy to a
photon.  Ask one set of
experimental questions and you get responses indicating the photon is a
particle.  Let’s call it the “yang”
aspect of the photon.  But with
another set of questions you get results indicating it is a wave, the “Yin”
aspect.  They are not reducible to
one or the other.  From a human
perspective both are equally fundamental even if we ourselves cannot see how
that can be true logically.

The same holds for our individuality.  We are individuals.  No question of that in my mind.  We are also social beings who are
immersed 100% of the time in relationships which make us what we are.  Also no question in my mind.  Neither Mackey nor any of us would have
the same ideas or attitudes had we grown up in a traditional Hopi or Chinese
family or in a traditional Muslim or Jain culture.  But our actual individuality-in-society encompasses both, is
reducible to neither, and achieves its unity, to the degree it does, within our
consciousness.

Another way to grasp this point is to think of each of us as
a dynamic gestalt constantly in interaction with everything that surrounds
us.  Our environment gives us
something to push against,but it also supports us.  We and it co-evolve. 

So a reasonably unbiased thinker, or one like me who started
out biased as an individualist but is open to con-conforming data, quickly
comes to the conclusion that a purely individualistic approach to understanding
human beings is simply wrong. 

Paradigm Prisons

Paradigms are models of reality we use to explore
parts of the world we have not yet encountered.  They tell us what questions to ask and what counts as
evidence and roughly what to expect to find.  They tell us what is reasonable and what is
unreasonable.  We all use them,
explicitly or tacitly.  
Scientific and philosophical and religious paradigms share these
qualities in common.  So do
political ideologies.

Most of us use the paradigms that orient us pretty
loosely.  This can lead to sloppy
thinking, but it has an upside as well. 
We are open to at least noticing evidence that does not fit the paradigm
we mostly take for granted.  By
contrast, when someone studies a paradigm and uses it rigorously to examine the
world, he or she can make genuine contributions to knowledge and deepen their
own understanding, but at a cost. 
He or she is far more at its mercy, and far less likely to take
seriously or even notice what is absent in their paradigm but in front of their
noses.  The history of science is
filled with such stories, as is the history of our lives.

I think the only real check on this tendency, and
certainly not a fail safe one because nothing in life is fail safe, is to try
and remember that the world is a far more mysterious place than we can
understand.  If we take that to
heart we use our paradigms as potentially fallible road maps not Truth.  Ideologues and those who have benefited
enormously from following a paradigm will have a hard time doing this.  Mackey’s libertarianism is an example.

The libertarian paradigm grows from Western
individualism, refines it, and adds free market economics to it.  Libertarians are able to see stuff that
others might not notice, like the creative role of entrepreneurs.  Outside libertarian ranks entrepreneurs
are often simply thought of as business people after a buck.  Mackey’s interview shows another side.

On the other hand libertarians also are likely to
miss what their paradigm ignores. 

So long as he refuses to distance himself from his
libertarian theoretical paradigm Mackey will never find a way to question
it.  With its core reliance on
Western individualism, the truth of total individual responsibility unless
someone intervenes violently seems obvious to libertarians.  They are literally blind to some things
and unwilling to look at others except to find the hidden flaws because their
paradigm tells them such and such must be the case.  Two examples from my scholarly own work that only took on
significance after I started being able to think outside it are the fact that
democracies never war on other democracies and that there has been no tendency
for freedom to turn into despotism as European “welfare states” have expanded
their activities. 

But there is a more interesting blindness we
encounter in libertarianism’s major thinkers, that is then passed on to those
influenced by them, like Mackey.

Theoretically Induced Blindness: Children. 

It is not accidental that the paragon of libertarian
individualism is Ayn Rand. Mackey is not uncritical of Rand.  He disagrees with her exaltation of
selfishness, saying what she really meant is enlightened self-interest.  Mackey’s “self-interest” is wiser than
that of many of Rand’s followers. 
But it is still severely limited. 
Why?  Here is a clue.

There are no children in Rand’s novels.  All are adults, all are self-contained,
who are as they are because of some inexplicable cause buried deeply in their
very being.  They are as
impermeable as balls on a pool table – except for sex, and even that (if I
remember Rand’s sex scenes accurately) is not a matter of relationship so much
as filling a need by using another for mutually achieved pleasure along with
admiration of the partner’s character. 
Her first novel, We The Living,
still had fairly complex and conflicted characters.  By the time of
The Fountainhead and  Atlas
Shrugged
this appreciation for human
complexity had disappeared into a good guys vs bad guys image of life where
most people served as filler.

By treating every adult as essentially impermeable
forces of nature, and ignoring the existence of children, Rand and her
followers cut themselves off from appreciating a large dimension of reality,
for their environment obviously has an extraordinary impact on children. (I
find it significant that Mackey himself is childless.)  This ultra-individualism leads to his
prescription for improving health in America: Eat better.  It’s your issue.  Your responsibility.  Because his sentiment is partly true
its error of radical incompleteness is hard for those holding it to see.

Willful Blindness: Nature

I believe this ultra-individualism, this exaltation
of the yang alone, is also why the global warming issue elicits such an
irrational response from libertarians like Mackey.  It suggests we are intrinsically limited by relationships
not of our choosing.  Because they
accept the basic secular modern image of a world whose meaning depends on human
creativity and effort, anything that fundamentally limits us is a threat, a
trap,  and a tragedy.

Western individualism assumes we live in a world of
objects, resources valuable to the degree they can meet our needs.  Creative people discover how to use
them better.  We ourselves are
separate from nature.  Libertarian
writers spend a great deal of time determining how we are separate from nature,
so we can use it for our purposes. 
The global warming argument undermines this Faustian view of how to
relate to nature.  It also
undermines the libertarian view that the market with minimal government can
solve any problem because there is no obvious purely market solution to the
problem, if it is a problem.  For
three reasons: (1) we are separate from and superior to nature, (2) nature’s
value is in its service to us, and (3) the market can solve all problems,
global warming CANNOT be a problem, and scientists or anyone else who say
otherwise must be wrong.  The
result is willful irrational blindness. 

Almost 100% of the warming deniers I have read about
are on the libertarian wing or conspiracy wing of the political right.  That a argument about the world that is
essentially a scientific issue has such strong correlates is pretty good
evidence that for most the science does not matter.  Global warming is no more an intrinsically left or right
question than are arguments about the effects of volcanic eruptions. 

That Mackey’s response is as irrational as I am
suggesting is demonstrated by his saying, right after he pooh poohs the global
warming claim, “Historically, prosperity tends
to correlate to warmer temperatures.” A revealing rationalization as well as a
false one.  He grants it might be
happening after all, but that’s OK. 
That is quite different from saying it is not happening.  As to warmth and prosperity, ask the
Swedes and Canadians.

Finding Balance

Paumgarten goes into considerable depth as to who Mackey is
and what makes him tick.  All in
all, I liked him.  But it also
provides a wonderful example of how New Age practices, in which Mackey has
extensive experience, do not necessarily lead to spiritual insight, though they
can lead to psychological healing. 
In my view, the New Age is fundamentally about Me.  The New Age conception of well-being tends
to be extremely individualistic, and to the degree it is, Mackey appears to be
a long-time enthusiastic practitioner. 
I think this is all good as far as it goes, but it does not go as far as
some seem to think.

But apparently it has not enlarged his compassion.  And compassion is the means by which we
who tend towards the yang can most easily access the yin side of our being, the side of who we are that is contained in and
expresses itself through the quality of our relationships. 

A culture that is ‘yin’ in the sense I am using the term
here can lack compassion as well.  I am reminded of the Chinese bystander who pushed a
suicidal Chinese off a bridg
e, explaining “I pushed him off because
jumpers like Chen are very selfish. Their action violates a lot of public
interest.”
  

Mackey and libertarians would probably say that this
illustrates the horrors possible in a society that does not respect
individuals.  And so it does.  But despite its not being
individualistic, Chinese culture also provides many cases of profoundly
generous actions helping others, as this very different story and accompanying
photos from the Chinese internet reveals.   

Compassion and genuine love are what integrate the yin and
yang, the social and individual, whether it be in the West or in China, or
anywhere else.  They are
ever-present potentials that each of us does a better or worse job
accessing.  Given his influence in
an important part of what our future will be, if we have one to look forward
to, I hope John Mackey will open himself to a more balanced view of the world.



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Comments read comments(23)
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johnny

posted January 5, 2010 at 2:07 pm


It’s john mackey dummy.



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gus diZerega

posted January 5, 2010 at 2:35 pm


OOOPS! My bad. Thanks for the correction. I got so involved in the argument. which is what interests me, I sometimes screw up details. Not the first time, alas, likely not the last.
Correction made.



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bile

posted January 5, 2010 at 3:15 pm


“the market can solve all problems, global warming CANNOT be a problem, and scientists or anyone else who say otherwise must be wrong. The result is willful irrational blindness.”
You seem to misunderstand the argument. It’s not that the market can solve all problems… it can solve problem *better* then coerced methods over the long run and does so without the harm and distortion that naturally comes from coercive means. And it’s not that global warming is not or cannot be a problem… but that the source of the problem (assuming it exists) is government induced. It was governments that started ignoring property rights “for the greater good” in order to allow the factory owner up the road or stream to dump harmful chemicals into the water and air. By all accounts I’ve come across the US government is the largest single entity polluting. A propertarian libertarian arbitration system would have stopped the pollution problem before it started. As for global warming otherwise… still nothing legitimizes the unprovoked coercive means used by government to change things. If I decide I wish to continue to sell incandescent light bulbs or not purchased a government approved healthcare program I’ll be thrown in prison or worse if I refuse their initial fines? How is that compatible with any peaceful belief system? Individualism isn’t about individuals as independent from everything else but individuals as sovereigns in themselves. That they own themselves and it is illegitimate to coerce or harm them. It says nothing of their interactions between themselves and others or society at large. One can be an individualist anarchist and yet prefer flat, socialist style, communal living.
You are narrowing and misrepresenting what ‘libertarianism’ is. May I recommend reading more on left libertarianism.



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Hathor

posted January 5, 2010 at 3:37 pm


I remember seeing something about this whole hullabaloo on the Daily Show, isn’t it kind of useless to boycott an entire company just because of the sentiments of a CEO?(Note I didn’t say corporate actions here)
The Daily Show did an excellent treatment of this when they profiled a liberal guy who wouldn’t buy at Whole Foods but still owned a car brand that hired a rather illiberal reggae singer known for his homophobia, and compared him to all the conservatives who bought at Whole Foods in a “buycot” to support him, but don’t like the Fair Trade produce. I guess the whole point of the feature was, when does “buying” our politics become impossible and silly?



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gus diZerega

posted January 5, 2010 at 3:50 pm


I think anyone reading my piece would know that I was writing about “right” libertarianism. Terminology has fractured and divided so much that someone will always say I have neglected them. I have read a lot of left libertarians, know a number, am on good terms with some, and they are 100% irrelevant to the point of this essay.



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gus diZerega

posted January 5, 2010 at 9:51 pm


Hathor-
You’ve gotten me to change my mind. You prompted me to rethink the issue, and I’ve decided you have a good case.
As a society we need to bring ourselves back into a sustainable relationship with our home. We’ve gone far away from that goal and no one is really certain how to return. But we can be pretty certain the costs for not doing so are high. This is my starting place, my core assumptions about the underlying issues involved.
The means that for me the most basic issue is buying from organic and otherwise sustainably grown producers.
If Whole Foods makes it possible to buy this way and roughly equivalent products are not available at a reasonable distance, I’d shop at Whole Foods. Regardless of what John Mackey says or believes.
But if other options are available, other considerations enter in. There are two that seem to me significant. First is the issue of supporting local producers and vendors. This makes for healthier communities economically and ecologically.
Second, to avoid strengthening corporations. Here the issue of the boycott actually cuts both ways. Mackey is motivated by an idealistic vision of good food and good eating. Were he not, Whole Foods would not exist. If he is ousted it will almost certainly be because the Board of Directors thinks he is bad for sales and a corporate suit will probably take his place. In time that will happen anyway, it always seems to, but this hurries it up.
In other words, ousting him depends on the kind of corporate thinking by the Board of Directors that in the long run undermines the goals that Mackey and I share for our different reasons.
If he is replaced by corporate logic, that corporate vision will diminish to attention only to the bottom line. That is how corporations work. Ironically, this can be seen is an argument for keeping Mackey in charge as long as possible, because he has standards above and beyond quarterly returns. So I have reasoned myself into a far more neutral position on the boycott – while putting shopping locally as a first priority.
I have no answer to this dilemma. Having no answer, I retreat from my strong boycott position. Here you have the better case, Hathor.
Patronize your local co-op if possible. CO-Ops and Farmers’ Markets are far the best way to shop for food.
But after that, I guess the issues get too complex in my view for anyone to argue there is one right strategy.



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Clay Barham

posted January 6, 2010 at 10:30 am


From her works, it is apparent Ayn Rand admired the courageous pebble-droppers, the nails standing above the boardwalk that ruling elite might trip over, who challenged the established and accepted way things were done. It was the creative, imaginative individuals who followed a dream, a vision of some better way of living that she wrote about, not the socialist taker who envied the creative few even when enjoying the benefits of the pebble-dropper’s efforts. This was her focus. All other ingredients haters add to the interpretation of Ayn Rand’s ideas are simply mud to cloud the water. Whether she was atheist or Jewish, anti-Christian or self-centered means nothing. She believed she was OK and others, as individuals, were potentially OK as well, but herds were led by the few who would limit individuals and take from those who have to share with those who have not, and they and their leaders were not OK. Those who violently oppose Rand are the ones who want to retain the Old World ideals of a few elite ruling the many, as is being reintroduced to America by the Obama forces. Claysamerica.com



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Gus diZerega

posted January 6, 2010 at 11:21 am


Clay-
Have you noticed how you created a simple dichotomy of good vs bad, or maybe good vs bad vs the human herd-as-backdrp? A very Randian dichotomy, sharply drawn, with nary a shade of grey. Atlas Shrugged and not We the Living.
MY point said nothing about violent dislike, hatred, envy of the creative, etc. MY point was that she offered a completely yang interpretation of human beings, and the absence of children in her novels, for one, is evidence of this blind spot. She herself, like John Mackey, was childless. That is not a criticism (I am childless myself) but children, especially small ones, offer daily reminders that we are not just hard little personality balls somehow dropped into an alien environment – we co-evolve with that environment.
I could go into much more depth, having long known people who were personally very well acquainted with her, but I’ll leave it at this.



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Burke

posted January 6, 2010 at 6:07 pm


“There are no children in Rand’s novels.”
Simply untrue.
There are quite a few episodes in Atlas Shrugged in which the main characters were chilren.



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David

posted January 6, 2010 at 6:38 pm


This is an incredibly well thought out article and it touches on a lot of great points about life. However, it doesn’t seem to address anything about John Mackey,or his business. It seems to suggest that because his beliefs do not parallel your own, or those who believe in global warming and a “for the benefit of the masses” mentality that it somehow makes John and his business something less than it is, or possibly even ‘evil’. All of my friends who are liberal are also ‘whole foods’ nuts, yet in the age of Obama even someone who is so much like them, but slightly divergent is now on their hit list.
I applaud John Mackey and the business model he embraces. I would absolutely support one of his stores should one come to my area.
Sorry, I’m getting off the point. Discussing the differences that define eastern philosophies, or even the wisdom of the druids doesn’t have an impact on Mackey at all. He is not confined to, nor is he indentured to these beliefs and has every right to express himself as he sees fit. Also Ayn Rand who is, in her own words NOT a Libertarian, and frankly despised the “hippies on the right” as she so eloquently called them. Her musings on the world are dark, and provocative but don’t fit with the mindset of today no matter how much some off the wall Republican or mentally deficient Libertarian might believe they do.
John Mackey seems like a very balanced person to me. He services his customers without compromising his own beliefs. He is doing what he thinks best serves the people of the communities his store inhabit, and he also takes great care in seeing that his employees are well cared for. The latter serves a very important purpose. Employees who are truly happy at their job tend to stay longer, are more knowledgeable, and give the customers a better experience over all. There are less disruptive factors in the stores environment caused by new, or disinterested employees. To me this a harmonious environment and frankly we need more of those.



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Gus diZerega

posted January 6, 2010 at 7:24 pm


Burke and David -
Burke-
If there are children in Rand’s novels, I sure don’t remember them. Must have been pretty minor characters. But if there are, it is all the more interesting that she treats every adult as a self-contained entity independent of their context – which can reward or penalize them, but not help shape them. Especially in the ‘Fountainhead’ and ‘Atlas Shrugged.’ Kids are obviously otherwise. In her novels, after ‘We the Living,’ she remains blind to that reality in her presentation of her protagonists, good guys and bad alike.
David-
I’m not sure of your point here. I rather explicitly say that Mackey is one-sided, not evil, that I like him based on what I’ve read about him, and that his idealism and building a business to attain it is admirable. Hathor persuaded me to rethink my position on the boycott, and I modified it significantly. Even before I modified my view, I’ve always said I’d shop there as well, if that was the only place organic stuff could be reasonably obtained. That’s more important than the views of a guy in charge.
Setting me aside, a great many of the commentors on this and an earlier post on Whole Foods and Mackey, opposed any boycott. So your generalization about “liberals” seems not to hold any water.
I used spiritual grounded images because this is a spiritual blog most of whose readers are informed on these matters and taken them seriously. To put the matter in secular terms, Mackey has a very one-dimensional view of what it is to be human, a view I have repeatedly found in individualist libertarians. They then combine this view with the demonstrably false assertion that ‘uncoerced’ market exchanges simply reflect rather than help constitute or channel individual choices. If you don’t like something in a market economy, just be your own entrepreneur and see whether consumers beat a path to your door.
That is not how people or the world work. It is part of the story, but by itself it is misleading.
This analysis explains to my satisfaction his simple minded approach to health reform and his to me irrational approach to global warming. His failings are a very public version of a failing of orthodox libertarians in general.



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krissy

posted January 6, 2010 at 8:22 pm


I havent had health insurance for 2 years. I take goldenseal, echinacea and elderberry. The problem is if I break my arm, or get poison sumac or something bad happens, the hospital visit will cost me atleast $800. John Mackey is anti union and doesnt pay his employees a dime. Hes too cheap. He wants to pretend that his herbs are better than doctors, but even he has health insurance.



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David

posted January 7, 2010 at 9:12 pm


Actually krissy, your assertion is far from correct.
Whole Foods pays its workers a solid living wage—its lowest earners average $13.15 an hour—with excellent benefits and health care. No executive makes more than 14 times the employee average. (Mackey’s salary last year was $342,000.) The only real criticism that anyone has made that holds water is the fact that Buying organic isn’t always the most earth friendly, or small farm friendly option. Most Organics now come from large corporations in California or out of the country. So it doesn’t support local growers as much as it could and would technically have a bigger ‘carbon footprint’ than buying locally.



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T

posted January 10, 2010 at 12:40 pm


I, for one, would like to see Mackey create a Libertarian leaning environmental group that would address real environmental issues like gentically modified food, over-fishing, the cutting of old growth forests, the dumping of chemical weapons into the oceans by our governments, etc. Most of the global warming crowd ignores these real issues, in favor of this politically driven climate change issue. And when I say politically driven, I mean money and power driven. Just ask Maurice Strong.



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gus diZerega

posted January 10, 2010 at 1:19 pm


I’m with you, but I honestly do not think it will happen. Libertarians like Mackey have too much invested emotionally in their simple markets “freedom” vs government “the state” dichotomy of good vs evil.
The one possible exception is in the area of land trusts. For many years I have argued in my academic work that democratic land trusts are institutionally far better suited for managing complex interactions between nature and society than are either traditional governmental institutions (i.e. US Forest Service) or dominant market institutions (any public corporation).
This year some of the more ideologically open classical liberals at the Atlas Foundation have shown genuine interest in the idea. Sometime this summer they will make it possible for me to visit England and investigate the most spectacular close approximation of this idea, the National Trust of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The National Trust is over 100 years old, so it has much to teach and demonstrate in this vein.
The future here, in my opinion, rests in developing institutions that are not dominated by either political or economic feedback in their decision making.



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Ayn Rand's BO

posted January 10, 2010 at 8:45 pm


Mackey believes he can attain wisdom and enlightenment through self-interest. Such a man is neither enlightened or wise and has as much chance of becoming such as I have of flying by flapping my arms.
I don’t mind a philistine. It takes all kinds to make the world go round. But a self-deluded dolt like Mackey is DANGEROUS because he becomes a pied piper to the retarded teenage psyches posing as adults. You know the type: the ones that mistake Rand’s rantings for philosophy and literature. That woman was without any talent whatever.



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Kedey

posted January 29, 2010 at 6:07 pm


This comment above best expresses my feelings on the CEO: “John Mackey seems like a very balanced person to me. He services his customers without compromising his own beliefs. He is doing what he thinks best serves the people of the communities his store inhabit, and he also takes great care in seeing that his employees are well cared for. The latter serves a very important purpose. Employees who are truly happy at their job tend to stay longer, are more knowledgeable, and give the customers a better experience over all. There are less disruptive factors in the stores environment caused by new, or disinterested employees. To me this a harmonious environment and frankly we need more of those.”
I’ve been trying off-and-on over the last year to land a position at WFM, and the last position I applied for had 30 applicants! There’s clearly a reason Whole Foods jobs are in such demand. Obviously the exact culture differs from store to store, but in general Mackey’s personal pursuit of balance seems to be reflected in the way his stores are staffed.



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gus diZerega

posted February 1, 2010 at 3:30 pm


High unemployment might have a little something to do with job applications as well. And the former employees I’ve talked with are not so positive. But places vary and these are not crucial issues for me. I hope you get a job there and that it works out well for you. I hope it’s a good place to work.
However, none of that has anything much to do with what I wrote.
Here is an example of the kind of person for whom John Mackey’s ideas abut health insurance are a bad, a very bad, joke.
http://www.mrc.org/biasalert/2010/20100201035527.aspx
Her web site is
http://www.willmarryforhealthinsurance.com
Terri Carlson is trying to marry simply to get health insurance because her pre-existing condition does not enable her to get insurance from Mackey’s sainted “free market.” I was a libertarian for years, but apparently unlike Mackey I did not lose track of my capacity to appreciate others’ circumstances simply because I had an ideology that made me feel virtuous.



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Gino Benelli

posted February 10, 2010 at 11:50 pm


A person is trying to stay alive. An “insurance” company is trying to make a profit. Can you see a conflict of interest?



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Eric Olsen - Still Libertarian

posted July 24, 2010 at 3:50 pm


hmm, very thought provoking. Because so much about me WANTS to like Mackey. Thanks for making me think!



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Gus diZerega

posted July 24, 2010 at 9:43 pm


Thank you Eric. Making one another think is the best part of good discussions. This blog often does the same to me.



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Bennette Sebastian

posted March 6, 2011 at 8:23 pm


I opine that our relationships, just as in basic libertarian philosophy, ought be entirely voluntary and mutual in nature. I agree with you that relationships are the foundation for human progress; however, I firmly believe those relationships you find enforced by a governing body end up, with no exceptions, adversely affecting those on both the giving and receiving end of such transactions. In this way, my view is that only in a society that protects individual rights do you have a society that is truly balanced; and that yin and yang need no Big Brother (even to go so far as to say this is the principle of free association).
While global warming may be a concern to us homo sapiens, I hope you’ll consider that we do not hold the reins you may believe we do. The last century of combined human contributions to greenhouse gases and airborne pollutants pails in comparison to those released in the last eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. That’s just one eruption; many volcanoes have erupted since then.



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HotfireXG

posted July 13, 2013 at 2:58 pm


I have written a response to this article in my own blog. I hope you will comment on it.

http://www.economicallyexuberant.com/6/post/2013/04/in-defense-of-john-mackey-of-whole-foods-and-his-individualism.html



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posted 9:39:40am Jul. 06, 2012 | read full post »

Earth Day and the Sacredness of the Earth
I think Earth Day is a particularly important moment for contemplation and commitment by us Pagans.  Often American Christian critics accuse us of “pantheism,” and in a important respect they are right.  We do find the sacred, most of us, in the earth without reference to any transcendental sp

posted 11:57:03am Apr. 20, 2012 | read full post »

Instructive examples on why interfaith work is a good idea
I deeply believe the problems in our country are more of the heart than of the head. Here are some youtubes courtesy of John Morehead of the Evangelical Chapter of the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy on Facebook. They speak more eloquently than anything I can write that interfaith work is a good

posted 1:08:25pm Apr. 12, 2012 | read full post »

The controversy over Pink Slime - and what it means.
The controversy over pink slime is helping educate Americans to the fact that corporations are as beneficial to agriculture as they are to politics. Tom Laskawy put it pithily: “What pink slime represents is an open admission by the food industry that it is hard-pressed to produce meat that won’

posted 4:03:07pm Apr. 11, 2012 | read full post »

How the "war on religion' backfired into a war on women
Here  is a really good article by Tina DuPuy on how the Republicans got themselves into such a mess with America's more intelligent women.  Left undiscussed is how the extreme pathological masculinity of both their deity and their leaders made that slip so very easy.

posted 12:12:35pm Apr. 11, 2012 | read full post »




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