Monday, August 24, 2009

Boycott Whole Foods? I Think Not.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, Inc., wrote an editorial for the Wall Street Journal that has caused a great kerfuffle. In this editorial, he presented his thoughts about how to improve health care in the United States. I would encourage anyone who's interested to read his editorial.

I agreed with most of what he said in the editorial, I disagreed with some, was neutral on some, and I will not be boycotting Whole Foods.

Why not?
  1. Anyone who pays attention already knew that John Mackey was a libertarian, a proponent of a limited role for government. Heck, I don't even really pay attention, and I still knew this. So the opinions he expressed should not have shocked anyone.

  2. You want to boycott Whole Foods. Where else do you shop? Do you know the political views of the CEOs of all the corporations you give your money to? Are they more to your taste than Mackey's? Mackey is not the only shareholder of Whole Foods; do you know the political views of all the other shareholders? Have you done a thorough survey? If you're in a boycotting mood, it's possible that there are other companies or products more deserving of boycotts, for one reason or another. (I personally boycott Coors, Wal-Mart, Starbucks, fast food, and diamonds. Probably some other things, too.)

  3. I believe that Whole Foods, on the whole, has had a net positive effect on our food system. Sure, it's not all good. But it's also not all bad. I think they have raised more people's awareness of food in general, and "organic" food in particular, than any other single organization in the US. Whole Foods is a first step towards "real food" for many people.

  4. I already buy all the produce I can from farmers' markets; all the meat I can from traceable sources (viz. Meat Of Known Origin); and as much dairy as I can from small farmers, as much of it raw as possible. Righteous, yes? But what if some of my farmers have political views that I disagree with? Oh my goodness! Have I asked all my farmers about their political views? Of course not. Shall I ask them about their religious beliefs, too?

  5. During the summer, I hardly shop at supermarkets. There are better places to buy food. I plan to continue avoiding supermarkets into the winter. I am on the board of The Boston Public Market Association. Our goal is to create an indoor, year-round food market serving greater Boston. If you want real food, spend your time and energy (and money) helping us, rather than boycotting supermarkets! Give us money—your gift is tax deductible. Find us on Facebook and on twitter.
That's all.


Jay said...

I must say that I'm in complete agreement with every point you make, and while I'm entirely in favor of national health insurance, I am opposed to any solution absent a public option.

btw, I linked to your post via reddit. Congrats on the exposure.

Alex Lewin said...

Thanks Jay. Cheers.

xacerb8 said...

The "boycott Whole Foods" thing really rubbed me the wrong way, but I was unable to articulate exactly why. Until now! Thanks for this post.

The boycott seems so hateful to me. And the last thing this world needs is more of that.

Alex Lewin said...

Thanks for the comment xacerb8. I'm happy that my post rang true to you!