Revealing article about Whole Foods CEO--and the Libertarian cult
A penetrating article in the New Yorker about Whole Foods CEO, John Mackey is here.
And Digby's take is must reading, right down to her links. I was so very happy that, in the course of her discussion, Digby says such nice things about Chomsky's insights, and how deftly Chomsky knocked down the silly libertarian Ron Paul supporter.
What is striking to me about the Mackey article is what I felt when he penned that silly "article" in the Wall Street Journal, which is just how shallow he is about public policy. His hero, Ayn Rand, never had a clue about how business actually functions. There has never been a revolt of the rich a la John Galt. And his plan for health care (not just insurance) markets has never existed except in primitive form--in the days when doctors thought bloodletting was the way to stop most diseases. He willfully ignores how most civilized nations deliver health care services and pay for them, and doesn't recognize that our medical R&D is largely government funded for decades--and the breakthroughs come from salaried employees in lab coats, not entrepreneurs from Wharton's business school.
Shout out to Mackey: Why don't you talk to Dr. David Himmelstein or Uwe Reinhardt and learn something about the way other civilized nations fund health care expenditures?
The other thing that struck me is how this guy got started. And when I learned his Dad was a billionaire who basically funded the guy, well, now I understood how a mediocre mind could have gotten this far. A Warren Buffett he ain't.
Still, there is an Andrew Carnegie sensibility about Mackey, meaning he is decent and humane, culturally, and has some redeeming values as an individual and business leader (I loved the bio of Carnegie by Andrew Nasaw, by the way, where Carnegie recognized steel tariffs helped his business prosper, fought for steep inheritance taxes, and promoted world peace). Mackey is also not a total asshole like Steve Burd of Safeway* or the ogres who run Wal-Mart. But I can't see why I should spend any money at Whole Foods when it funds a guy as deluded and shallow as Mackey, either.
* Steve Burd is testimony to how much you can screw up and keep your cushy job as CEO of a major corporation. Burd declared war on his grocery workers at the beginning of the decade saying he needed to save $130 million to compete against Wal-Mart. The strike he precipitated cost Safeway $325 million and his company lost 20% marketshare to Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and Wal-Mart, among other places. Heckava bargain you made there, Steve. There's your capitalism rewarding merit, Mackey!