On Tuesday, November 12, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey and Reason editor-in-chief Katherine Mangu-Ward debated Jacobin founder Bhaskar Sunkara and economist Richard Wolff on the motion “Capitalism Is a Blessing” in front of a live audience in NYC.
Recent polls show that two out of three Americans support capitalism. But some Americans are starting to consider socialism as a viable economic and political model. Supporters of capitalism claim that no other system has been as effective in creating value, increasing prosperity, and producing the wealth that has lifted billions of people out of poverty. Critics, however, argue that capitalism is inherently exploitative and that a capitalist system is rigged to benefit the wealthy and powerful. Who is right, and is capitalism here to stay? On Tuesday, November 12, Intelligence Squared U.S. concludes their fall season with a live debate on the motion “Capitalism Is a Blessing.”
Arguing in favor of the motion are John Mackey, co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods, and Katherine Mangu-Ward, editor-in-chief of Libertarian magazine Reason. Arguing against the motion are Bhaskar Sunkara, is the founding editor of socialist magazine Jacobin, and Professor Richard D. Wolff, a Marxian economist.
Arguing For the Motion
Mackey: Co-Founder & CEO, Whole Foods Market
John Mackey, co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market, has led the natural and organic grocer to become an $18 billion in revenues company that is now owned by Amazon. With more than 500 stores and 95,000 team members in three countries, the company was named by Fortune magazine as one of “The Hundred Best Companies to Work For” for 20 consecutive years. A strong believer in free market principles, Mackey co-founded the Conscious Capitalism Movement and co-authored a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling book, titled “Conscious Capitalism, Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business.”
Katherine Mangu-Ward: Editor-in-Chief, Reason
Katherine Mangu-Ward is editor-in-chief of Reason, the libertarian magazine of “free minds and free markets,” and co-host of the Reason Podcast. A Future Tense fellow at New America, her writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Slate, and numerous other publications. She is a frequent commentator on radio and television networks, including National Public Radio, CNBC, C-SPAN, Fox Business, and MSNBC.
Arguing Against the Motion
Bhaskar Sunkara: Founding Editor, Jacobin
Bhaskar Sunkara is the founding editor of Jacobin magazine and publisher of Catalyst journal, both of which offer socialist perspectives on politics, economics, and culture, as well as critiques of capitalism from a global perspective. An advocate of democratic socialism, he is the author of “The Socialist Manifesto: The Case for Radical Politics in an Era of Extreme Inequality,” and a columnist at The Guardian.
Richard D. Wolff: Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Massachusetts
Richard D. Wolff is a Marxian economist and professor emeritus of economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is currently a visiting professor at the New School University and previously taught at Yale University. Wolff is the founder of Democracy at Work and has written or contributed to over a dozen books, including his most recent, “Capitalism’s Crisis Deepens: Essays on the Global Economic Meltdown,” and “Understanding Marxism.” Wolff earned his bachelor’s at Harvard and his master’s in economics and history, as well as a doctorate in economics, at Yale.
INTELLIGENCE SQUARED U.S. DEBATES (IQ2US)
A non-partisan, non-profit organization, Intelligence Squared U.S. was founded in 2006 to address a fundamental problem in America: the extreme polarization of our nation and our politics. Their mission is to restore critical thinking, facts, reason, and civility to American public discourse. The award-winning debate series reaches millions of viewers and listeners through through multi-platform distribution, including radio, live streaming, podcasts, interactive digital content, and on-demand apps on Roku and Apple TV. With over 170 debates and counting, Intelligence Squared U.S. has encouraged the public to “think twice” on a wide range of provocative topics. Author and ABC News correspondent John Donvan has moderated IQ2US since 2008.