Not buying Whole Foods chief’s defense of capitalism

John Mackey seems to be living in a different reality than those of us who have not been made excessively rich from the sale of organic produce (“Capitalism gets a bad rap, CEO says,” Business, Feb. 8). Last week, in front of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, the co-chief executive of Whole Foods declared business unfairly under attack.

“Humanity has been lifted up by business and yet it has been completely hijacked by its enemies who create a narrative that business is selfish, and greedy, and exploitative,” Mackey said. There has been more than ample evidence over the last decade that significant sectors of American business have been all of those three things. I would add “criminal” and “unpatriotic” to that list.

The real question is, can American business conduct itself in a manner consistent with the moral principles that most of us try to teach our children?


The only attack here is Mackey’s own propaganda war. In its raw form, capitalism is equally a creative and destructive force. It is only sensible to suggest that society create rules that encourage its more positive effects and restrain its darker side.

Joseph Levendusky