In his second Inaugural Address, President Barack Obama issued a clarion call for government intervention to combat climate change. But Whole Foods Market CEO and co-founder John Mackey says dire warnings about global warming are overblown.
In an interview with CNBC, Mackay said global warming is “not that big a deal” and may actually be beneficial to human flourishing.
I haven’t been outspoken about global warming. I’ve been smeared quite a bit in the media about it–all of a sudden, I’m a climate change denier. I mean, climate change is obviously occurring. So–it’s gotten a little bit warmer. I guess my position on it is that I don’t think that’s that big a deal. Actually, humanity’s flourished usually when temperatures gradually warmed. And humans gradually adapt to it.
Mackey said he’s concerned government regulations intended to reduce global warming will thwart free-market solutions to address global poverty. “We can probably eliminate poverty on the planet earth in the next 50 years if we will just continue to follow the tenets of free enterprise capitalism to the greatest extent possible,” said Mackey. “So I just don’t want to see that change.”
With 340 stores nationwide and 70,000 “team members,” Mackey has grown Whole Foods Market into a $11 billion Fortune 300 empire. CNBC describes Mackey as a “vegan with a self-described Libertarian bent” who lives a relatively modest life, flies commercial, donates his stock to charity, and draws a $1 annual salary. Recently, Mackey made headlines when he said Obamacare is “more like fascism,” comments he later softened.
In his new book, Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business, Mackey calls for an end to the bashing of business and lays out a plan for creating jobs in ways that serve society. “Business has a very bad reputation in our society,” lamented Mackey. “Yet business is the greatest value creator in the world. Business needs to come to understand that it has the potential for a higher purpose, besides just maximizing profits and shareholder value.”
Mackey’s advice to dreamers and entrepreneurs: “Follow your heart, follow your passions. Life will be a grand adventure and it will be a lot of fun.”