Essay on Core Values of the Whole Foods Market

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Forty-three years ago, Milton Friedman’s famous article, “The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits”, was posted on The New York Times Magazine. The main argument of his writing is well summed in its title. Friedman’s viewpoint, “there is one and only one social responsibility of business-to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits …” (M. Freidman, 1973), has been the orthodox view in modern business world. Nevertheless, John Mackey, the co-founder and CEO of the world’s largest natural and organic supermarket---- Whole Foods Market, publicly disagreed with Friedman. He claims that “the enlightened corporation should try to create value for all of its constituencies” (J. …show more content…
Friedman’s original argument “…business as a whole cannot be said to have responsibilities” (M. Friedman, 1973) can hardly be applied to the case of the Whole Foods Market. Nevertheless, in the later piece, Friedman also considered different interpretations of social responsibilities as the common ground between Mackey’s and his arguments.
Maximizing profits is an end from the private point of view; it is a means from the social point of view. A system based on private property and free markets is a sophisticated means of enabling people to cooperate in their economic activities without compulsion; it enables separated knowledge to assure that each resource is used for its most valued use, and is combined with other resources in the most efficient way. (M. Friedman, 1973)
He paraphrased Mackey’s belief, which promoted social responsibilities, as an alternate way of profit maximization. Thus, Mackey should be delighted that his distinctive stakeholders-centered business worked out so far. But what exactly made his countercultural business paradigm, stakehoderism, become possible and profitable? The answer to this question is the stakeholders themselves.

Birds of a feather flock together
People, sharing the same value as Whole Foods Market, all become major stakeholders of the Whole Foods Market. Without all the help from the stakeholders, the Whole Foods Market could hardly have today’s achievement. Similar to most start-ups, the Whole

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