Capitalism – Humanity's Greatest Invention?

In an article published online By Darragh Roche On 11/28/20 at Newsweek.com:

Whole Foods founder and CEO John Mackey said on Friday that capitalism is humanity's greatest invention and doesn't deserve the criticism it receives.

Answer me this Mr. Mackey, if “Capitalism” is so great, why does the US waste up to 40% of the food produced in the US?

From the US Department of Agriculture:

How much food waste is there in the United States?

In the United States, food waste is estimated at between 30-40 percent of the food supply. This estimate, based on estimates from USDA’s Economic Research Service of 31 percent food loss at the retail and consumer levels, corresponded to approximately 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food in 2010. This amount of waste has far-reaching impacts on society:

- Wholesome food that could have helped feed families in need is sent to landfills.
- Land, water, labor, energy and other inputs are used in producing, processing, transporting, preparing, storing, and disposing of discarded food.

Snip

USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) defines food loss as the edible amount of food, postharvest, that is available for human consumption but is not consumed for any reason.

I mean, considering this guy Mackey told his “team members” back in March of this year;

On Wednesday, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey sent out an email to grocery store employees with a list of benefits and options for those who fall sick during the coronavirus pandemic.

Among his six suggestions was an option for employees to “donate” their paid time off (PTO) to coworkers facing medical emergencies.

“Team Members who have a medical emergency or death in their immediate family can receive donated PTO hours,” Mackey wrote in an email reviewed by Motherboard, “not only from Team Members in their own location, but also from Team Members across the country.”

I mean, who wouldn't love Capitalism, if they don't have to absorb the cost of caring of their employees during a healthcare and unemployment crisis?

Gee, Mr. Mackey, how has Capitalism's invention benefited your employees left out in the cold of the “market place”, and certainly left out of your cold, dark heart, the words and deeds of which displays your empty soul as a human being?

Gee, we can put a man on the moon with less computing power than today's cell phones, but we can't fix the 30-40% waste in our food supply, because Capitalism is humanity's greatest invention?

The intellectual disconnect is mind boggling.

Drinks

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Lookout's picture

placing profit before people and planet is a failed system.

It explains why we're a war machine, why our sick care system is the most expensive and least effective, why we've been advised to eat the very things driving most chronic diseases, why the climate is in a chaotic collapse along with our ecosystem...yeah it is great...a great failure!

Such arrogance!

Thanks for the essay and good to see you around today.

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21 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Lookout end stage cannibalism is what it sounds like to me.

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13 users have voted.

NYCVG

thanatokephaloides's picture

Whole Foods founder and CEO John Mackey said on Friday that capitalism is humanity's greatest invention and doesn't deserve the criticism it receives.

And just what is Mr. Mackey smoking? (And no, I don't think I want any.)

Bad

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13 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

@thanatokephaloides
Mackey is just a lackey. Bezos is the CEO. When Bezos says "Jump", Mackey says, "How High, boss!"

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7 users have voted.

I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

ggersh's picture

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15 users have voted.

In the "Age of Trickle Down" why does most money go to billionaires?

We have a government in DC, of the MIC by SV for WS

NO MORE WAR

Cassiodorus's picture

The rest of us, not so much.

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13 users have voted.

"Every election is fake." -- Janna Ordonia, from "Star vs. the Forces of Evil"

as Northwest Airlines' senior management memo to employees with a suggestion and how-to on dumpster diving following their 2006 bankruptcy filing. But, hey, it's all good. The bankruptcy judge gave the CEO $28 million for "leading" the company through the court process without comment on how the weasel ran us into the ground with terrible leadership.

On the other side of the coin is a man we met here about six months after we moved here. He was working the June 2018 open house at Ecuagenera Orquederia in Gualaceo. He helped us as we looked at displays and began choosing what was going home with us. Only just before turning us over to one of the workers did we learn he is the owner and founder. We only got a little bit of an idea of the size of their operation, huge, and what they do. During our time together he had figured out that my wife is an extraordinary gardener with an incredible knowledge of plants. He asked us if we wanted to help on some projects he had begun.

We saw each other a few more times but didn't get to know him until about two weeks ago. We had lunch with his family at the Gualaceo facility, his home is on the grounds. He had found something he thought my wife would like to do and wanted to talk with me about the intricacies of buying and operating an airplane to do eco tourism in a different way than their current operation. He also wanted to use an airplane to ease his travels around Ecuador ans South America. He invited us to be on camera for two short lectures on Facebook after lunch which we did. Then he asked us if we wanted to go to the research and retail facility in El Pangui about 3-4 hours away Amazonia on Monday and Tuesday. Of course we went.

Pepe was a poor son of farmers who changed his life in the late '80s by going to NYC at the age of 17. I doubt he had much education and says he had no English. He has both in spades today to say nothing of class. Six years of working his way from washing dishes to being the owner's choice to run the place when the owner retired was the shot he needed in life. His English is excellent and when he returned he and the lady who is (was or became?) his wife founded the orchid business that became Ecuagenera. Now he travels the world lecturing, has orchid experts from all over the world coming to him, and has incredible facilities in the Amazon, on the coast, Guayaquil, and, maybe I'm not entirely sure, Quito. They they propgate, hybridize, find, and ship orchids and bromeliads all over the world.

He is the exact opposite of this Mackey asshole. His employees seem to love him. He says he was treated as family by the man he worked for in NYC and seems to have taken it to heart as the way to run a business. The retail and shipping business was shutdown for two months during the Covid shutdowns in Ecuador. He was able to begin shipping between provinces and other cities in June. All of his employees kept their jobs. They were paid as he found work to build and expand the business in new ways. I was really impressed with what and how he put together protocols for distancing, sanitation, and personal protections. These are things they continue to practice. As of last week everyone kept their job, was productive and paid, but have not had a single case of Covid among the employees. He ate considerable expense (he called it an investment) through those six months to ensure his people were safe while strengthening the business and positioning it to prosper as the world continues to open up.

This is how capitalism can work. I've worked for and known people who run their business where their employees are acknowledged and treated as the business' most important assets. Unfortunately, this the exception with owners and managers today. People are considered nothing but a cost center, liability, and obstacles to management and owners getting richer. Employees are to be exploited not valued.

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"But I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now..."

@vtcc73 Seems I visited an orchid "plantation" somewhere near Quito. A huge business!
You are so lucky to be where you are.

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11 users have voted.

and it's 10,000 years old. It's a really bad idea and is always coincident with the accumulation of a vast amount of wealth and power and the formation of classes. Why would you ever form an economic/political system in which 99 percent of the people are Serfs and the 1% are the Lords? The capital on which they base their status was built by the blood and sweat of the 99%.

The Capitalists got really lucky. Just at the time that the European class system and empires got going, mankind discovered Science, Technology and the means to plunder the planet (Guns, Germs and Steel) . Development had nothing to do with capitalism as a Socialist system would have developed civilization even faster, and better using the talents of all of the people. Capitalists will always want their wars as war is the ultimate form of plunder, and plunder is what capitalism is all about.

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17 users have voted.

Capitalism has always been the rule of the people by the oligarchs. You only have two choices, eliminate them or restrict their power.

@The Wizard Then Western hemisphere's slavery must be a capitalist invention. Private sellers and buyers set up markets to exchange currency of whatever kind for product. Slavery was affected by market forces such as demand and supply. It was a libertarians dream as the markets were as as I can tell not regulated.

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Bollox Ref's picture

The reason I never frequent Whole Foods. The wretched CEO.

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14 users have voted.

Gëzuar!!
from a reasonably stable genius.

travelerxxx's picture

Among his six suggestions was an option for employees to “donate” their paid time off (PTO) to coworkers facing medical emergencies.

What a generous guy. I'm sure he would love to see this option used most as it costs him absolutely nothing. That money was already spent. Wouldn't surprise me if it was first on the list. Probably manages a tax deduction out of it to boot.

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10 users have voted.
Lily O Lady's picture

individual not to waste food. The fact that corporations dispose of vast qualities of food is overlooked. It’s like our country’s approach to Covid19, exhorting the individual to wear masks, etc. rather than setting up protocols in an organized response.

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"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

lotlizard's picture

@Lily O Lady  
seems fatally flawed at this point.

On the other hand, alternative models like tax-financed German “public” TV or Wikipedia have now also proven totally susceptible to capture by well-organized partisan interests.

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