One of the first things we must get rid of is the idea that democracy is tantamount to capitalism.
The idea that each corporation can be a feudal monarchy and yet behave in its corporate action like a democratic citizen concerned for the world we live in is one of the great absurdities of our time.
Nothing is illegal if a hundred businessmen decide to do it.
Just the other day, I was in my neighborhood Starbucks, waiting for the post office to open. I was enjoying a chocolaty café mocha when it occurred to me that to drink a mocha is to gulp down the entire history of the New World. From the Spanish exportation of Aztec cacao, and the Dutch invention of the chemical process for making cocoa, on down to the capitalist empire of Hershey, Pennsylvania, and the lifestyle marketing of Seattle’s Starbucks, the modern mocha is a bittersweet concoction of imperialism, genocide, invention, and consumerism served with whipped cream on top. No wonder it costs so much.
When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom that profit loses.
For the rest of the world, contemporary America is an almost symbolic concentration of all the best and the worst of our civilization. On the one hand, there are its profound commitments to enhancing civil liberty and to maintaining the strength of its democratic institutions; . . . on the other, there is the blind worship of perpetual economic growth and consumption, regardless of their destructive impact on the environment, or how subject they are to the dictates of materialism and consumerism.
Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.
Industry will begin to prosper again when it offers people [something] which they want more than they want anything they now have. The fact is that people never buy what they need. They buy what they want.
Learn to recognize the counterfeit coins / that may buy you just a moment of pleasure, / but then drag you for days / like a broken man / behind a farting camel.
Mom-and-pop stores are not about something small; they are about something big. Ninety percent of all U.S. businesses are family owned or controlled. They are important not only for the food, drink, clothing, and tools they sell us, but also for providing us with intellectual stimulation, social interaction, and connection to our communities. We must have mom-and-pop stores because we are social animals. We crave to be part of the marketplace.
There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there — good for you. But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. . . . Now, look. You built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or [you had] a great idea? God bless! Keep a hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a big hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.
The hardest thing is to take less when you can get more.
Last year, every one of our fifteen workers got from six to twenty-two thousand dollars as a profit-sharing bonus. . . . Reporters can’t believe 2 million bottles [of soap] are packed by hand, but . . . four to five people, not working fast, pack them with no machines. Corporate America wants us to believe that you have to have machinery and pollution if you want products; that we can’t make money if we share profits with workers. We are proving them wrong and loving it.
It is difficult but not impossible to conduct strictly honest business.