Whole Foods CEO John Mackey Talks about Conscious Capitalism, in New Book

Quite often we hear about the benevolence of Socialism or communism and; the evils of capitalism. The debate is so common in our societies, that no one ever bothers to test the validity of the assertion.

John Mackey, author of a new book (co-author Rajendra Sisodia), Conscious Capitalism, has actually lived the life of being a Socialist and a capitalist; and has first hand experience with the pros & cons of Socialism and Capitalism. The book is quite interesting; and is a must read for anyone, who wants to elevate himself/herself from the irresponsible coffee table discussions.

Who is John Mackey?

John Mackey, as said, has seen both the Socialism and the capitalism. He grew up in “the counterculture movement of the late 1960s and 1970s,” studied “Eastern philosophy and religion,” lived in “an urban co-op/commune,” was “a member of three separate food-co-ops”, as he believed “the co-op movement was the best way to reform capitalism because it was based on cooperation instead of competition,” and initially “embraced the ideology that corporations were essentially evil.” In short, for most of his young life, he was a socialist, believing in the state and community ownership of money and resources.

But later, just like David Mamet, and  much recently Alec Baldwin, John Mackey found himself disillusioned with Socialism. A sentiment he describes as below:

“There seemed little room for entrepreneurial creativity; virtually every decision was politicized.  The most politically active members controlled the co-op with the own personal agendas, and much more energy was focused on deciding which companies to boycott than on how to improve the quality of products and services for customers.  I thought I could create a better store than any of the co-ops I belonged to, and decided to become an entrepreneur to prove it.”

In his disillusioned days, Mackey founded a small natural food store called “Safer-Way,” which ultimately became Whole Foods. A well known company.

What the Whole Foods has taught Mackey about Capitalism, has made him realise that capitalism is not Evil.

Calling Mackey's brand of capitalism, “conscious capitalism”; co-author Rajendra Sisodia says,

"Conscious Capitalism is a way of thinking about business that is more conscious of its higher purpose, its impacts on the world, and the relationships it has with its various constituencies and stakeholders.  It reflects a deeper consciousness about why businesses exist and how they can create more value."

When applied to the Whole Foods, Mackey once defined to Milton Friedman (his Role Model) the purpose of Whole Foods, as one to change the world, and to pursue a higher purpose. His words were:

“Making high profits is the means to the end of fulfilling Whole Foods’ core business mission.  We want to improve the health and well-being of everyone on the planet through higher-quality foods and better nutrition, and we can’t fulfill this mission unless we are highly profitable.”

Although there may be many things in the book, you will disagree with Mackey and Sisodia; but still the book can make you think, more groundedly on the issue. And can be an eye-opener for those who have always seen Socialism as holy cow and Capitalism as Frankenstein.

Reviews:


Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business
by: John Mackey
publisher: Harvard Business Review Press, published: 2013-01-15
sales rank: 54






A Wall Street Journal Bestseller

As seen and heard on: MSNBC's Morning Joe, CNBC's Off the Cuff, CBS This Morning, NPR’s Morning Edition, CNBC with Maria Bartiromo, Fox Business News Cavuto, WNYC, New York Times Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Forbes.com, Inc.com, and Fortune.com.

“We believe that business is good because it creates value, it is ethical because it is based on voluntary exchange, it is noble because it can elevate our existence, and it is heroic because it lifts people out of poverty and creates prosperity. Free-enterprise capitalism is the most powerful system for social cooperation and human progress ever conceived. It is one of the most compelling ideas we humans have ever had. But we can aspire to something even greater.” —From the Conscious Capitalism Credo

In this book, Whole Foods Market cofounder John Mackey and professor and Conscious Capitalism, Inc. cofounder Raj Sisodia argue for the inherent good of both business and capitalism. Featuring some of today’s best-known companies, they illustrate how these two forces can—and do—work most powerfully to create value for all stakeholders: including customers, employees, suppliers, investors, society, and the environment.

These “Conscious Capitalism” companies include Whole Foods Market, Southwest Airlines, Costco, Google, Patagonia, The Container Store, UPS, and dozens of others. We know them; we buy their products or use their services. Now it’s time to better understand how these organizations use four specific tenets—higher purpose, stakeholder integration, conscious leadership, and conscious culture and management—to build strong businesses and help advance capitalism further toward realizing its highest potential.

As leaders of the Conscious Capitalism movement, Mackey and Sisodia argue that aspiring leaders and business builders need to continue on this path of transformation—for the good of both business and society as a whole.

At once a bold defense and reimagining of capitalism and a blueprint for a new system for doing business grounded in a more evolved ethical consciousness, this book provides a new lens for individuals and companies looking to build a more cooperative, humane, and positive future.



As seen and heard on: CBS This Morning, NPR’s Morning Edition, Wall Street Journal, WNYC, and Forbes.com.

“We believe that business is good because it creates value, it is ethical because it is based on voluntary exchange, it is noble because it can elevate our existence, and it is heroic because it lifts people out of poverty and creates prosperity. Free-enterprise capitalism is the most powerful system for social cooperation and human progress ever conceived. It is one of the most compelling ideas we humans have ever had. But we can aspire to something even greater.” —From the Conscious Capitalism Credo

In this book, Whole Foods Market cofounder John Mackey and professor and Conscious Capitalism, Inc. cofounder Raj Sisodia argue for the inherent good of both business and capitalism. Featuring some of today’s best-known companies, they illustrate how these two forces can—and do—work most powerfully to create value for all stakeholders: including customers, employees, suppliers, investors, society, and the environment.

These “Conscious Capitalism” companies include Whole Foods Market, Southwest Airlines, Costco, Google, Patagonia, The Container Store, UPS, and dozens of others. We know them; we buy their products or use their services. Now it’s time to better understand how these organizations use four specific tenets—higher purpose, stakeholder integration, conscious leadership, and conscious culture and management—to build strong businesses and help advance capitalism further toward realizing its highest potential.

As leaders of the Conscious Capitalism movement, Mackey and Sisodia argue that aspiring leaders and business builders need to continue on this path of transformation—for the good of both business and society as a whole.

At once a bold defense and reimagining of capitalism and a blueprint for a new system for doing business grounded in a more evolved ethical consciousness, this book provides a new lens for individuals and companies looking to build a more cooperative, humane, and positive future.

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