Several calls for boycotts over Whole Foods have emerged in the last couple weeks. Why?
Whole Foods CEO John Mackey is an Ayn Rand admirer, anti-union business leader, FA Hayek-influenced libertarian against the Employee Free Choice Act who wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal criticizing Obama’s plans for healthcare reform:
The last thing our country needs is a massive new health-care entitlement that will create hundreds of billions of dollars of new unfunded deficits and move us much closer to a government takeover of our health-care system. Instead, we should be trying to achieve reforms by moving in the opposite direction—toward less government control and more individual empowerment.
He proceeded to give eight suggestions on how to lower costs and make healthcare more affordable. Essentially, he is aiming for similar ends to supporters of the public option. But because he wants to use market forces to do it, he’s tarred and feathered. Facebook groups have sprung up and exploded with members. Whole Foods’ website has thousands of angry comments. The progressive blogosphere blew up. This is the same guy who took a $1 annual salary because he “reached a place in [his] life where [he] no longer want[s] to work for money.” Sounds like a progressive’s dream.
I don’t shop at Whole Foods because their food is very expensive and I am generally skeptical of the supposed benefits of organic foods. But the customers of Whole Foods – I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here – are in general agreement with most of what the corporation does. As Radley Balko writes:
Let me see if I have the logic correct here: Whole Foods is consistently ranked among the most employee-friendly places to work in the service industry. In fact, Whole Foods treats employees a hell of a lot better than most liberal activist groups do.
The company has strict environmental and humane animal treatment standards about how its food is grown and raised. The company buys local. The store near me is hosting a local tasting event for its regional vendors. Last I saw, the company’s lowest wage earners make $13.15 per hour. They also get to vote on what type of health insurance they want. And they all get health insurance.
The company is also constantly raising money for various philanthropic causes. When I was there today, they were taking donations for a school lunch program. In short, Whole Foods is everything leftists talk about when they talk about “corporate responsibility.”
Supposed “tolerant” and “open minded” progressives seem to care about diversity of thought and corporate responsibility – just as long as there are no opinions that deviate from theirs.
Read Mackey’s entire Op-ed here.