(WTVO) — Whole Foods Market co-founder and CEO John Mackey says he plans to retire next month and voiced his concern that “socialists are taking over” the country.
According to an interview with Reason magazine, Mackey said he was “deeply concerned” that socialist philosophy was “marching through the institutions, they’re taking everything over. 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. And it’s just continuing,” he said.
Mackey, who described himself as a “capitalist at heart,” said he was reacting to seeing “a lot of the liberties I’ve taken for granted most of my life” coming “under threat.”
In the interview, he said increased unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic hindered 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. “The younger generation … don’t seem to want to work.”
“They only wanna work if it’s really purposeful, and [something] they feel aligned to. 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.”
He is credited with developing “conscious capitalism,” developing businesses that seek to “create financial, intellectual, social, cultural, emotional, spiritual, physical, and ecological wealth for all of their stakeholders.”
Mackey is set to retire from Whole Foods in August. He co-founded the company in 1980 and is considered one of the most influential advocates for organic food.
In a 2005 Reason debate with economist Milton Friedman and entrepreneur T.J. Rogers, Mackey said he was a free-market libertarian and had been a democratic socialist in college.
Amazon acquired Whole Foods in August 2017 for $13.7 billion.