Whole Foods founder says socialists are 'taking over' the US, threatening liberties

Mackey has long warned Americans that socialism is a danger to the country

Whole Foods founder and CEO John Mackey complained that "socialists are taking over" the U.S. in a Thursday podcast appearance.

Mackey made the statement during a podcast with Reason Magazine. Mackey has a history of criticizing socialist policies and has adopted the term "conscious capitalism" to describe his preferred approach to economics.

"My concern is that I feel like socialists are taking over," Mackey told host Nick Gillespie. "They're marching through the institutions. They're… taking 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.

"You know, I'm a capitalist at heart, and I believe in liberty and capitalism. Those are my twin values. And I feel like, you know, 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 added.


Whole Foods John Mackey socialism conscious capitalism

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey

John Mackey Whole Foods store California

A Whole Foods location in California.

Mackey has been warning Americans about the rise of socialist sentiment in the U.S. for years. He is set to retire from his role at Whole Foods at the end of August, and he says he will be much more vocal about his beliefs once he leaves.

Mackey has described "conscious capitalism" in the past as a way of maintaining American business culture while focusing on more than just profit.

"From an investor's perspective, the purpose of the business is to maximize profits. But that's not the purpose for other stakeholders—for customers, employees, suppliers, and the community," he said in a 2005 debate with Nobel laureate Milton Friedman and former Cypress Semiconductor CEO T.J. Rodgers, "Each of those groups will define the purpose of the business in terms of its own needs and desires, and each perspective is valid and legitimate."


Mackey has argued repeatedly that capitalism is the "greatest thing humanity has ever done." He has also targeted the academic community for spreading socialist ideas, saying it is "generally hostile to business."