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On the Bookshelf, Recent News, U.S. Politics

The Heroic Businessman?

In the current economic climate, politicians and interest groups have encouraged the public to view businesses, especially corporations, as exploitative entities taking advantage of human suffering and even engineering the Great Recession. Thus, increased government intervention is necessary to “tame” the marketplace. Some consider the recent re-election of President Obama a vindication of this perspective.

John Mackey, Co-CEO of Whole Foods, courageously shares an opposing view in his latest book, Conscious Capitalism, co-authored by Rajendra Sisodia. “We paint business for what it truly is: heroic,” said Mackey at a recent Cato event. “Business is the greatest value creator in the world.” As our economic freedom decreases, so too does our prosperity, he said.

America is fundamentally in decline, he argued, and that’s because our economic freedoms are being taken away. “We’re in decline, and we’re in decline because our economic freedom is being systematically stripped,” said Mackey. He cited America’s ever-dropping rank on the Economic Freedom Index.

“..[T]he way I see it is the critics of business and capitalism dominate the narrative,” argues Mackey. “They put a narrative out there that business is fundamentally greedy and selfish and exploitative.”

Mackey alluded to the sentiments outlined by Timothy P. Carney in his book Obamanomics. Businesspeople aren’t necessarily corrupt, but government growth causes rent-seeking and crony capitalism to occur, argues Carney. “That’s part of the reason the narrative’s been, people don’t support capitalism to the degree they did because they mistake crony capitalism for free enterprise capitalism: they associate businesspeople with corruption,” argued Mackey at Cato.

However, many individuals often don’t care or think about government intrusions on their freedom. “Most people, they’re not paying attention to this stuff, and that’s unfortunate, because they’re the ones that are going to be harmed the most in the long term,” said Mackey. “… [T]hey’re the ones that are going to be unemployed, they’re the ones that get more and more dependent on government. So, it’s a difficult situation but that’s where we find ourselves.”

Mackey also recently appeared on the Glenn Beck show. You can read more at The Blaze.

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