Is capitalism good?

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One man's transition (John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods):

He'd been taught, Mackey explains, that "business and capitalism were based on exploitation: exploitation of consumers, workers, society and the environment." After a year in business, he saw a reality that didn't mesh with his decades of anti-business indoctrination. "I believed that 'profit' was a necessary evil at best and certainly not a desirable goal for society as a whole," he writes. "However, becoming an entrepreneur completely changed my life. Everything I believed about business was proven to be wrong." Rather than seeing a milieu of "exploitation" and coercion in his store, Mackey saw a system of freedom and "voluntary cooperation" at work and a new realism: "No one is forced to trade with a business; customers have competitive alternatives in the marketplace; employees have competitive alternatives for their labor; investors have different alternatives and places to invest their capital. Investors, labor, management, suppliers - they all need to cooperate to create value for their customers."

Societies that have adopted capitalism have thrived.

On the opposite end, communism has torn societies. I'm not here to preach, but if there's one thing to understand about how societies thrive, it's this: seeking self-serving interests paradoxically helps society as a whole. A not-so-out-of-the-box idea on fixing America's public school system? Make the schools private, and for-profit. Seriously.

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Posted on June 17

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