A reader sent the following passage from a just-published book authored by John Mackey, who is co-CEO of Whole Foods Market. The book is Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business, and it looks like something we should read.
CAPITALISM: MARVELOUS, MISUNDERSTOOD, MALIGNED
But as the size of government grew, a mutant variation of capitalism has also grown, spurred on by those unable to compete in the marketplace by creating genuine value and earning the affection and loyalty of stakeholders. Instead, they have thrived by using the power of government for their own enrichment. Crony capitalists and governments have become locked in an unholy embrace, elevating the narrow, self-serving interests of the few over the well-being of the many. They use the coercive power of government to secure advantages not enjoyed by others: regulations that favor them but hinder competitors, laws that prevent market entry, and government-sanctioned cartels.
While free-enterprise capitalism is inherently virtuous and vitally necessary for democracy and prosperity, crony capitalism is intrinsically unethical and poses a grave threat to our freedom and well-being. Unfortunately, our current system has the effect of corrupting many honorable businesspeople, pushing them into becoming reluctant crony capitalists as a matter of survival.
It’s the last sentence of this passage that is very important to recognize: Everyone and everything is influenced — overwhelmed, even — by the spiral of ever-growing government interventionism. Even those of us who hate it.
A recent interview of Mackey by Greta Van Susteren may be viewed here.