Eyes Wide What? Libertarianism, Capitalism, and Social Responsibility, Oh My!

by | Jun 15, 2006

Here are some of the things I’ve been looking at when I’m supposed to be doing something else, at least in theory.
Whole Foods – a second tier vision?
The Flow Project.
Ken Wilber’s blog.
Working for Good.
Spiral Dynamics.
And, would you believe, via John Mackey, founder and CEO of Whole Foods, Libertarianism?
Let’s start there. What you have to understand is that since Ross Perot ran for president, I have been telling my husband, aka TCP, that he should not be allowed to vote on that grounds that his fondness for Libertarian candidates is ill-founded, un-grounded, and silly. (Other than that, I have no problem with his politics.)
Not that I’ve had a better idea, mind you. But given the paucity of second tier political discourse, I’ve tended to vote for the person, not the party, which means I usually vote Democractic while holding my nose. An unanticipated consequence of this is that I generally feel best about the votes I cast across party lines.
John Mackey has thrown a wrench into the works with his speech hoeguy175w.jpgto FreedomFest in 2004 entitled “Winning the Battle for Freedom and Prosperity.” Mackey’s company, Whole Foods, is the most profitable supermarket chain in the US of A. Whole Foods aspires to operate as a second tier company, which roughly translates as a company that sees its success as intimately and intricately interlaced with the success or well being of the planet, which is reflectedin one of their logos.
Come to find out, Mackey is a Libertarian, but just as Whole Foods is not your 1960s vegie-coop-cum-commune, his brand of Libertarianism is a far cry from the rabidly self-absorbed puer politics that I associated with the term. Read his speech. Notice what pisses you off, turns you on, fires you up, and makes you want to run screaming into the night. Notice where, without magical thinking and/or stylish cynicism, your heart wants to break open and embrace a vision of radical capitalism; capitalis, taken to the “next level,” that level being the level of profound and infinite interdependence.
Does he mean it, or is this just another Hollywood Buddhist CEO jockeying for the hearts and minds of the self-styled enlightened consumer? Here’s a link to his keynote at the company’s annual Tribal Gathering in March, 2006, a speech called The Upward Flow of Human Development.
Do let me know what you think.