The CEO of Whole Foods Market says socialism is a fundamentally flawed economic theory that never has worked and never will.
John Mackey, who debated Marxist economist John Roemer at FreedomFest in Las Vegas last week, said state-controlled economies simply don’t comport with human nature.
“I want to make the world a better place. But you have to do that in a sort of pragmatic fashion, not a utopian transformation,” Mr. Mackey told Opportunity Lives after the debate. “There’s not going to be a new human being that’s going to pop up [so] that human nature ceases to exist, and that’s been the myth of the socialistic man, that they can change human nature.”
During the debate, he pointed to data showing economically free nations enjoy greater prosperity than less free ones.
And although Census data indicate the American middle class has shrunk since the late 1960s, Mr. Mackey said that’s because more Americans are earning higher incomes than previously. While just 8.1 percent of Americans earned more than $100,000 in 1967, that number ballooned to 24.7 percent in 2014.
The grocery executive also disagreed with Mr. Roemer’s notion that socialism “just hasn’t been done right.”
“He’s an economics professor at Yale who believes that he knows the best thing for society: 80 percent tax rates, entrepreneurs will work hard and still be creative for the goodness of their heart, and sins don’t matter,” he said of Mr. Roemer, who supported Sen. Bernard Sanders’s presidential campaign.
“Socialism has failed miserably every place it has been tried,” Mr. Mackey said. “It just hasn’t been done right. Because the right people aren’t running it yet. If John Roemer and his gang were running, it would be good.”
He said the idea “sounds good in theory,” but “in reality never works.”
“It never has worked,” he said. “And I believe it never will work.”