Compassionate Capitalism

I just listened to an interview with John Mackey the founder of Whole Foods. When I put his words in the context of my experiences in Whole Foods over 30 years and the fact that I’m friends with over 20 people that have worked many different locations it just doesn’t equate to “Compassionate Capitalism!” Apparently he’s friends with Ken and I’ve heard Ken praise his book.

The vast majority of managers and supervisors that I’ve encountered are fearful, micromanaging people. I’ve talked with many people that spent years working for them and there’s very few good things that anyone has to say. I think John Mackey is dissociated from reality and has drank the “billionaire kool-aid.”

Where’s the Integral mind? Just not seeing it! He’s actually defending cutting health care for their employees that enjoyed having it despite not being full time. It was actually the only good thing that many people expressed about working there. If anyone can shed some light on my lack of awareness, please do. What I’m seeing with WF’s and John Mackey is hypocrisy, hypocrisy, hypocrisy!!! This may be a “mean green” statement but here it is: NOBODY NEEDS TO BE A BILLIONAIRE!!! I think the billionaire class is full of minds that are pathologically driven by greed and totally dissociated from the wholeness of existence!!!

The desire for a degree of wealth is one thing but the desire for more and more is a Developmental Pathology, IMO.

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I personally believe it’s time for Wholefoods replacement to emerge. They’ve gotten too big to care. With that size, no matter how hard you try, you’ll likely go only so far.

On the other hand, I can relate to John Mackey’s problem - on a much smaller scale in my case. The there’s only so much one can do with mid-level people’s action logic and growth. To run a business, you have to hire whoever is available - or say no to growth. Can’t say “no” to growth if you have investors. What choices do you have left? Developmental training? Sure, but most people don’t get it, will feel like they are forced to do stuff that doesn’t make sense, and continue on with their habits.

As for healthcare, I missed that part - need to watch myself.


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Good points! I think having investors can be a problem even though they may be necessary. An investor usually only cares about the return on their investment and that creates a dynamic in which most business people will do whatever it takes to maximize that return for their investors. That is one of the worst aspects of capitalism because it becomes too easy to “pursue profit at any cost” which undervalues the well-being of people, communities, and ultimately the planet. Mackey is clearly biased and I can’t see any shred of Integral that he’s expressed. He is a poster child for capitalism and he also seems to have an anti-green aspect within him.
I’ll have to fully read Compassionate Capitalism in order to better understand where he’s coming from but every interview I’ve heard so far I simple can not see any Integral thinking going on. He appears to be, IMO, defending orange at all costs.


Can capitalism be compassionate? By it’s very nature, the marketplace is about power and scarcity, workers and those who profit off workers (who are not themselves the workers). This is discussed deeply in Marx and Hegells works. There is a group called spiritual progresses who have been putting forth a ‘new bottom line’ and they state: A New Bottom Line is one that judges the success of every sector, system and institution of our society (economy, government, schools, health care, the legal system) based not on the old bottom line of whether they maximize money, profit and power, but instead by the extent to which they maximize love and caring, kindness and generosity, empathy and compassion, social, economic and environmental justice, peace and nonviolence, and protection of the life support system of our planet, as well as encourage us to transcend a narrow utilitarian approach to nature and other human beings and enhance our capacity to respond with awe and wonder to the universe and to see the sacred in others and in all sentient beings.
This seems integral to me, curious for your thoughts?
Thank you all for this thread!


This surely seems to read like a Marxist presentation on the marketplace? May I offer another idea to your point? I would reference or classify your description as Raw Competitive Capitalism.

Is the marketplace not a necessity? Without it America would cease to exist; maybe that’s a good thing? I would suggest that the marketplace is evidence of the evolution of human consciousness toward civilization.

Can capitalism be compassionate? Absolutely! The Integral Community is about integration, let’s combine the best of humanity to achieve the advancement of us collectively. As individuals are we not simply ignorant compared to what we know collectively? Can we really expect human intellect to do a better job than the nature of our collective human consciousness over thousands of years?

Before we go pushing to make changes, chasing our own individual tribal logic and reason, should we not consider the catastrophic fall out of messing with the Nature of our collective consciousness as a species?

As your @BeTheChange name suggests we need to change ourselves as individuals. We need a spiritual evolution for fixing humanity from the inside out. A spiritual work that leads to an integral understanding on the whole of reality. We need a fundamental internal evolution starting on an individual basis before we can fix our collective defects.

This is what the idea of integral means. it’s not a new collective world movement to eliminate the people and ideas that we don’t like. It’s our individual ego’s that need to be defeated a fundamental internal evolution on an individual basis. This is the spiritual quest of the Integral Life as I understand it. I welcome your feed-back. ~ Peace :slight_smile:

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What makes compassionate capitalism is simple: ease of access to money.

The cares act was an example of the system breaking its coffers wide open and giving back to the people, for example. Though unfortunately it was born from crisis, rather than a simple decision.

Yes, I think that is an Integral approach since it incorporates Interiors into the equation and isn’t simply focused on Exteriors like our current Capitalist system. Thanks for sharing!