The Big Debate: Conscious Capitalism vs Pure Greed

Mark Skousen

Named one of the "Top 20 Living Economists," Dr. Skousen is a professional economist, investment expert, university professor, and author of more than 25 books.

“There’s only one purpose of business — to make as much MONEY as possible. If you want a friend, buy a dog.” — Kevin O’Leary, “Shark Tank”

“Business has a higher purpose than just making money. It seeks to achieve the good, the beautiful, the true, and the heroic.” — John Mackey, CEO, Whole Foods Market

Kevin O’Leary, “Mr. Wonderful” on “Shark Tank” and a keynote speaker at next month’s big FreedomFest conference, is on the warpath. O’Leary has just released a controversial two-minute video to his two million followers on social media (filmed in front of the “Shark Tank” studio) about his big upcoming debate with John Mackey at FreedomFest on July 18 in Vegas.

Watch his fiery two-minute video by clicking here.

He rejected Mackey’s feel-good “stakeholder” philosophy of “Conscious Capitalism.”

For O’Leary, it’s all about the shareholders: “The DNA of a business is to give returns to the investors who took the risk in the first place. That’s what makes America great. I plan to school him on what business is all about — MONEY!”

Giving Capitalism a Bad Name

In his bestselling book, “Conscious Capitalism,” John Mackey is highly critical of pundits like Kevin O’Leary who think that business is only about the money and the shareholders.

Mackey contended that the investor perspective is old-fashioned and is giving capitalism a bad name, especially among millennials.

“The enemies of business and the enemies of capitalism have put capitalism and business in a very narrow box, where it’s all about greed, it’s all about selfishness, it’s all about just money, money, money… There’s a deep cynicism out there about business and businessmen. They say, ‘Yeah, it is all about money. Get over it!’”

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Mackey added, “But I’ve known lots of entrepreneurs in my life — hundreds of them — and very few of them started their businesses simply to make money. They had some kind of dream or vision they wanted to realize.”

Mackey said he firmly believes in a “stakeholder” philosophy. “The enlightened corporation should try to create value for all of its constituencies… not just investors, but customers, employees, suppliers and the community,” Mackey said.

In my “Libertarian CEO” class at Chapman University, I find that “Conscious Capitalism” stakeholder model is popular. Students always rank Whole Foods Market as their favorite company to work for.

The Ultimate Libertarian Duel in the Sun

On July 18, at this year’s FreedomFest, you can witness the ultimate throwdown debate, “Libertarian Duel in the Sun” between John Mackey and Kevin O’Leary, “Compassion vs Greed.”

As O’Leary said in the video, “Don’t miss my debate with John Mackey. It’s going to be CRAZY!”

After the big debate, O’Leary will host a luncheon where he will discuss “The Inside Story of Shark Tank.” All attendees will receive an autographed copy of O’Leary’s bestselling book, “The Cold Hard Truth about Men, Women and Money.” (A ticket is required, so sign up before the spaces are filled).

FreedomFest is scheduled for July 17-20, at the Paris Resort in Las Vegas. Alex Green and I will speak several times. We have a full three-day investment conference.

One of the speakers is Vince Foster, the founder and chairman of Main Street Capital (MAIN), the best-performing private equity fund since 2007, beating the S&P 500 and Warren Buffett. It is my favorite investment and is up 25% this year alone. Foster will reveal his secret to investing in private companies — 98% are profitable.

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I urge you to sign up today to attend “the greatest libertarian show on earth” at www.freedomfest.com. Use code Eagle50 to get $50 off the “Full Conference Pass” price — you pay only $545 per person/$845 per couple. To register, click here. Or call toll-free 1-855-850-3733 ext. 202 and mention Eagle50 to get the discounted price. The discount ends July 1!

See you in Vegas next month.

Good investing, AEIOU,

Mark Skousen

You Nailed It!

Marxists Take Over Universities — Should Libertarians Take Them Back?

By Mark Skousen

Editor, Forecasts & Strategies

In the 1930s, Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci argued that the best way to take over a country was not by violent revolutionary means, but by quietly taking over the country’s institutions — academia, the media, non-profits and Hollywood.

It was a brilliant approach, and very effective. The Communists did try to take over Hollywood. And they infiltrated the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations.

Marxists have taken over some departments in major colleges and universities, including political science, sociology and even English. Hotbeds of Marxism include the University of Paris, the University of the Philippines (which actually banned my book, “The Making of Modern Economics” from the library), and in the United States, the University of Massachusetts — Amherst, and even the University of Utah.

Should free-market libertarians take the same tact and try to assert their influence in the economics and business departments of universities?

Charles and David Koch, owners of Koch Industries, and John Allison, former CEO of BB&T Bank and the Cato Institute, have created dozens of chairs, professorships and institutes in free enterprise and the study of capitalism around the country.

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The late Milton Friedman’s attitude was “let the market decide” and not try to take over departments; at least that’s what he said. Friedman expressed opposition to setting up “chairs with the name capitalism or free market in it.” He opined that economics should be an objective science. Yet the University of Chicago was clearly dominated by free-market economists.

Experts will debate this very topic, “Funding Libertarians on Campus: Hostile Takeover or Academic Balance?” at this year’s FreedomFest. Panelists include Don Boudreaux (George Mason University), Jim Gwartney (Florida State University), and Daniele Struppa (Chapman University, where I teach). We will answer the following questions: How influential are the libertarians on campus? Are they winning the battle of ideas? Or is it causing a backlash?

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