Whole Foods CEO John Mackey ‘concerned’ that ‘socialists are taking over’

By Lee Brown  August 11, 2022

Whole Foods co-founder and exiting CEO John Mackey has said he is “deeply concerned” that “socialists are taking over” the country.

“They’re marching through the institutions — they’re taking everything over,” the 68-year-old executive told Reason magazine in an interview just weeks before he finally steps down from the supermarket giant.

“They’ve taken over education. It looks like they’ve taken over a lot of the corporations. It looks like they’ve taken over the military,” he said of his main “concern.”

“And it’s just continuing,” he warned.

He described himself as a “capitalist at heart” and said he believes in liberty.

“And I feel like with the way freedom of speech is today — the movement on gun control — a lot of the liberties that I’ve taken for granted most of my life, I think, are under threat,” he said.

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey
The Whole Foods CEO also complained that “the younger generation … don’t seem to want to work” unless it’s “really purposeful.”
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Protests outside a whole Foods.
Whole Foods CEO John Mackey says he is “deeply concerned” that “socialists are taking over.”
AFP via Getty Images

Mackey complained that increased unemployment benefits offered during the pandemic put a real strain on Whole Foods’ ability to hire staff.

“A lot of people were making as much money, if not more money, not working at all. And so guess what? They chose not to come back to work. They got used to it,” he said.

However, the biggest hiring crisis has been because “the younger generation … don’t seem to want to work,” he said.

Socialist protesters in front of an NYC Whole Foods in 2021.
The Whole Foods co-founder complained that socialists are “marching through the institutions — they’re taking everything over.”
Pacific Press/LightRocket via Ge 

“They only wanna work if it’s really purposeful, and [something] they feel aligned to,” he said of a shift to woke principles, noting it was particularly in major Democratic cities including the Big Apple.

“You can’t hope to start with meaningful work. You’re gonna have to earn it over time,” he said. “Some of the younger generation doesn’t seem to be willing to pay that price, and I don’t know why.”

Mackey promised that the interview was only a teaser of what was to come, saying that his role leading such a giant corporation left him “intimidated enough to shut up.”

“Pretty soon, you’re gonna hear about ‘Crazy John’ who’s no longer muzzled,” he said, laughing when asked if his main future plan was to embarrass the company he spent 44 years growing.

“I’ve got six weeks. I can talk more about politics in six weeks than I can today,” he told Reason’s editor at large, Nick Gillespie.

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