His philosophy at the time, he explains, wasn't exactly pro-profit or pro-capitalist: “Politically, I drifted to the Left and embraced the ideology that business and corporations were essentially ‘evil” because they sought profits. I believed that government was ‘good” (if the ‘right” people had control of it) because it altruistically worked for the public interest.”
He'd been taught, Mackey explains, that “business and capitalism were based on exploitation: exploitation of consumers, workers, society and the environment.” After a year in business, he saw a reality that didn't mesh with his decades of anti-business indoctrination.
“I believed that ‘profit” was a necessary evil at best and certainly not a desirable goal for society as a whole,” he writes. “However, becoming an entrepreneur completely changed my life. Everything I believed about business was proven to be wrong.”
While the whole Enron thing makes me feel that Ken Lay, Jeffry Skilling and Andy Fastow should be tarred, feathered, stripped of everthing they own (including the tar and the feathers after they've been applied) and then placed naked in stockades in the middle of Wall Street because of corporate excesses, not all companies are like that.
This bit is telling:
That's not the way Mackey's customers and employees saw it. Despite losing half his initial investment in the first year of business, Mackey was nevertheless accused of greed and exploitation. “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.”
That tells me that a lot of people don't understand basic business or basic economics (and if they did, something like Enron might not have happened). Running a business isn't easy, nor cheap.