“In many ways, foreign health-care models are not really “foreign” to America, because our crazy-quilt health-care system uses elements of all of them. For Native Americans or veterans, we’re Britain: The government provides health care, funding it through general taxes, and patients get no bills. For people who get insurance through their jobs, we’re Germany: Premiums are split between workers and employers, and private insurance plans pay private doctors and hospitals. For people over 65, we’re Canada: Everyone pays premiums for an insurance plan run by the government, and the public plan pays private doctors and hospitals according to a set fee schedule. And for the tens of millions without insurance coverage, we’re Burundi or Burma: In the world’s poor nations, sick people pay out of pocket for medical care; those who can’t pay stay sick or die.”—By T.R. Reid — Five Myths About Health Care in the Rest of the World - washingtonpost.com
Whole Foods was the first grocery chain to set standards for humane animal treatment. He was helped in this by the influence of an animal rights activist, Lauren Ornelas, who criticized Whole Foods’ animal standards regarding ducks at a shareholder meeting in 2003. Encountering Ornelas after the meeting, Mackey gave her his email address and they corresponded on the issue. He later wanted to see why she and other animal activists were so concerned with the issue of factory farming and read a dozen books on the subject before deciding to switch to what he considers veganism and fight for tougher animal standards.
However, despite Whole Foods’ welfare standards, Mackey has come under harsh criticism from abolitionist vegans who view his company’s policies as a betrayal of the animal rights position.By other accounts, Mackey is the “driving force” behind significant changes in animal welfare; he started a nonprofit foundation, the Animal Compassion Foundation, to address making animal welfare more economically viable.
According to the BBC, John Mackey wrote a letter in 2006 to all of his staff announcing that he would reduce his own salary to $1 a year, donate his stock portfolio to charity and set up a $100,000 emergency fund for staff facing personal problems. He wrote: “I am now 53 years old and I have reached a place in my life where I no longer want to work for money, but simply for the joy of the work itself and to better answer the call to service that I feel so clearly in my own heart.”
While CEO of Whole Foods Market in 2008, he earned a total compensation of just $33,831, which included a base salary of $1, and a cash bonus of $33,830.
But he made $1.8 million exercising stock options, and received another $460,000 because of a company error that allowed stock options to expire unexercised. The grand total: $2.7 million. Another $4.4 million of options have vested, so he can exercise them if he wants.
In a debate in Reason Magazine among Mackey, Milton Friedman, and T.J. Rodgers, Mackey said that he is a free market libertarian. He has said that he used to be a “democratic socialist” in college, but when he began a business and barely made money while being accused by workers of not paying them enough and customers of charging too high prices, he began to take a more capitalistic worldview and discovered the works of Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek and Friedman. According to an article published in the New York Times on Sunday, August 2, 2009, Mr. Mackey is an admirer of author Ayn Rand.
As a CEO, John has been criticized in Leftist and union publications for advocating an anti-union business philosophy. He has elaborated on his Milton Friedman-inspired anti-union views in his pamphlet, “Beyond Unions,” and in such statements as, “The union is like having herpes. It doesn’t kill you, but it’s unpleasant and inconvenient, and it stops a lot of people from becoming your lover.”
Mackey explains his perspective on unions:
"Unions as they evolved in the United States became very adversarial, untrusting, and opposed to the success and prosperity of the business. This is my major objection to unions today — they harm the flourishing of the business for all the stakeholders. Instead of cooperation between stakeholders, they focus on competition between management and labor. Instead of embracing the notion of the ‘expanding pie’ vision of capitalism — more for everyone, or win-win — they frequently embrace the zero-sum philosophy of win-lose."
Whole Foods Market is one of only two Fortune 500 companies listed among the 25 Best Companies to Work For in 2005, a fact which Mackey ascribes to his pro-employee philosophy. He supports non-adversarial unions and advocates their legalization in the U.S. “It’s illegal in the United States for there to be company unions — special unions which are formed and controlled by the employees and managers of the company to represent their interests and collectively bargain on their behalf. These type of unions are legal in many countries such as Japan, but are illegal in the United States. Instead the law requires that all unions be outside unions. I believe this law should be repealed and that company unions should be as legal as any other kind of voluntary association.”
“The chief executive of Whole Foods Market Inc. wrote anonymous online attacks against a smaller rival and questioned why anyone would buy its stock, before Whole Foods announced an offer to buy the other company this year.”—msnbc.com
The logic used to make you, the filmmaker, conform to this belief makes a pretzel look like a ruler: you are told you shouldn’t care whether your 2.40 film is turned into a 1.78 film because there really isn’t that much of a difference, while in the same breath you are told viewers notice the difference enough to complain about it. The end result is we have a better chance of seeing a 2.40 film from 1959 in its proper format than a movie from 2009. That’s weird, and sad.
“You have the signatures of laundry detergent, you crazy bimbo. And unless A.T. Cheer, Tide W. Bleach, and Arm N. Hammer are all part of the conspiracy, I’m pretty sure Taitz is busted.”—All Tempa-Jeer | You Are Dumb
“The indicator I prefer is the Hot Waitress Index: The hotter the waitresses, the weaker the economy. In flush times, there is a robust market for hotness. Selling everything from condos to premium vodka is enhanced by proximity to pretty young people (of both sexes) who get paid for providing this service. That leaves more-punishing work, like waiting tables, to those with less striking genetic gifts. But not anymore.”—What the Hotness of Your Waitress Says About the Economy — New York Magazine (via Kottke)
“Foodies are the first to hit the newest restaurant, or to plan a trip based on restaurant destinations; they’re are the first to order the coolest new ingredient and make sure you know it. Foodies love to talk about food and cooking. Foodies watch food television with their pants around their ankles and buy The French Laundry Cookbook for the pictures. Foodie is a social distinction, not a judgement. Cooks, on the other hand, cook; they like to cook, they enjoy the work and like feeding others and take pride in various successes in the kitchen, whether it’s their first mayonnaise or a Rachael Ray recipe, and they are not daunted by failure. (There is a third species, someone who does not like to cook, but loves to eat. This is called being human.)”—Ruhlman.com on the distinction between cooks and foodies