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Whole Foods CEO worried about the rise of American socialism

"My concern is that I feel like socialists are taking over," Mackey said, "They're marching through the institutions."

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Joshua Young Youngsville North Carolina
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On Wednesday's episode of the Reason Interview podcast, host Nick Gillespie spoke to Whole Foods CEO John Mackey who used the platform to decry the rise of socialism in America, particularly in the younger generations.

"My concern is that I feel like socialists are taking over," Mackey said, "They're marching through the institutions." The Whole Foods CEO, who also is the author of the book Conscious Capitalism, said socialists have taken over America's education system, many corporations, and are making significant advancements in the military.

"You know, I'm a capitalist at heart, and I believe in liberty and capitalism. Those are my twin values," he told the host.

According to the Daily Mail, Mackey said in 2020 that capitalism is the "greatest thing humanity has ever done" and that socialism "impoverishes everything" and cited how "socialism has been tried 42 times in the last 100 years, and 42 failures."

"And I feel like, you know, with the way freedom of speech is today, the movement on gun control, a lot of the liberties that I've taken for granted most of my life, I think, are under threat," Mackey said to Gillespie.

"We've told a bad narrative, and we've let the enemies of business and the enemies of capitalism put out a narrative about us that's wrong," he said while noting that the narrative that's told on progressive circles, especially college campuses is "inaccurate and doing tremendous damage to the minds of young people."

"Yes, of course, business has to make money," Mackey said. "If a business doesn't make money, it will fail, but that doesn't mean that its purpose is to make money."

Mackey is a libertarian who founded Whole Foods 42 years ago and sold the grocery store chain to Amazon in 2017 for $13 billion as the Daily Mail reports.

The CEO, who is set to step down this year, said that his company has survived throughout the years due to a clear purpose and love as well as a dedication to the employee.

"They talk about trickle-down wealth, but socialism is trickle-up poverty," Mackey noted. "It just impoverishes everything. That's my fear, that the Marxists and socialists, the academic community is generally hostile to business. It always has been. This is not new."

Mackey tied it back to the younger generations when he noted how they do not "seem to want to work" unless it's immediately gratifying to them. But the CEO noted how gratification and fulfillment have to be earned over time.

"Some of the younger generation doesn't seem to be willing to pay that price, and I don't know why."

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