Not too long ago, Dave in Texas posted about Whole Foods corporate policy change involving lobster. Apparently they decided there was no humane way to transport and sell the poor lobsters before their customers boiled them alive. He points out that liberals have gone so far from the edge of sanity that it’s hard to even parody them anymore.
So, imagine my surprise to read Nick Gillespie at Hit and Run pointing out that John MacKay, CEO of Whole Foods is no hippie, but a Milton Friedman lovin’, Ayn Rand readin’, Adam Smith quotin’ lib-er-tarian.
There was a discussion at Reason Magazine last October between Friedman and MacKay on this very topic. Turns out they agree on a lot, even though it was supposed to be a debate over corporate social responsibility. It’s a long article, but the gist of it is that MacKay is selling people good feelings about themselves. He just believes corporations ought to do good for their community and that this will increase investment and business because people are concerned about more than just profit. Friedman contends that as long as the corporation is up-front about this to its shareholders, this is fine. But, he makes the point, if corporations were taxed less and the shareholders compensated better, net giving to charity wouldn’t necessarily decrease. It just wouldn’t come from the corporation.
MacKay says this is the business model of the future. And he’s making money, selling those good feelings at quite the premium. I was expecting a more bleeding-ponytail type of guy. You learn something new everyday.
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