Vasakult paremale ehk kuidas hippist sai edukas ärimees
Whole Foods on USA ja tõenäoliselt ka maailma üks suuremaid orgaanilise toidu poe kette, mis korduvalt leidnud tunnustust nii keskkonna aktivistide kui konkurentide seas. Whole Foods’i peamiseks intellektuaalseks jõuks on aga firma juht John Mackey, kes pidas mõni aeg tagasi kõne vabadusest, mis nüüd on lõpuks ka kirja pandud ning avaldatud.
Erakordselt huvitavaks teeb aga kirjutise Mackey kirjeldus enda noorusaastatest:
Let me tell you a few brief things about myself as background. Before I started Whole Foods Market I attended two different universities, where I accumulated 130 hours of electives, primarily in philosophy and religion, and ended up with no degree. I never took a single business class. I actually think that has worked to my advantage in business. I spent my late teens and early twenties trying to discover the meaning and purpose of my own life.
My search for meaning and purpose led me into the counter-culture movement of the late 1960s and 1970s. I studied eastern philosophy and religion at the time, and still practice both yoga and meditation. I studied ecology. I became a vegetarian (I am currently a vegan), I lived in a commune, and I grew my hair and beard long. I’m one of those crunchy-granola types. Politically, I drifted to the Left and embraced the ideology that business and corporations were essentially evil because they selfishly sought profits. I believed that government was “good” (if the “right” people had control of it) because it altruistically worked for the public interest.
Õnneks ei pimestanud ideoloogia Mackey’t ja mees alustas oma äriga, mille käigus toimusid mehe arusaamades radikaalsed muutused:
At the time I started my business, the Left had taught me that business and capitalism were based on exploitation: exploitation of consumers, workers, society, and the environment. I believed that “profit” was a necessary evil at best, and certainly not a desirable goal for society as a whole. However, becoming an entrepreneur completely changed my life. Everything I believed about business was proven to be wrong.
The most important thing I learned about business in my first year was that business wasn’t based on exploitation or coercion at all. Instead I realized that business is based on voluntary cooperation. No one is forced to trade with a business; customers have competitive alternatives in the market place; 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. If they do, then any realized profit can be divided amongst the creators of the value through competitive market dynamics.
In other words, business is not a zero-sum game with a winner and loser. It is a win, win, win, win game — and I really like that. However, I discovered despite my idealism that our customers thought our prices were too high, our employees thought they were underpaid, the vendors would not give us large discounts, the community was forever clamoring for donations, and the government was slapping us with endless fees, licenses, fines, and taxes.
Mackey kirjutis on pikema poolne, kuid üpris huvitavat lahkamist leiavad poliitilise skaala nii parema kui vasaku poole imagoloogilised ja praktilised probleemid. Kriitika osaliseks saavad aga tsentraliseeritud haridussüsteem ja tervishoid. Mõlemale probleemile pakub mees välja ka lahenduse, mida võiks ka Eestis proovida.
Huvitavaks teeb Mackey kirjutise ka tõsiasi, et pärast ise reaalset äri alustamist selgus, et ärimaailm pole kaugeltki selline nagu vasakideoloogid olid kuulutanud.
Mackey essee võiks aga iga ennast poliitilisel skaalal vasakule liigitav inimene läbi lugeda.
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