Costco and Trader Joe’s Prove that Capitalism Works

There is growing coverage in the media of Costco and Trader Joe’s demonstrating that it is possible to remain in the retail business in America while taking care of your people.

We applaud the sentiment, but we wonder if everyone hailing the labor practices of these companies recognizes a simple fact: both of these models prove that capitalism, properly managed, works well.

These companies are growing – and drawing business away from their less enlightened competitors – in no small part because their people are happier, and because of the difference that makes across the organization. And they did it all without being required to do so by law.

The road to a better form of capitalism is not through creating an entirely new, expensive, and self-interested regulatory infrastructure to guide it. Rather, it is through us directing our custom to companies that can set an example for the future, investing our funds accordingly, and by laying out codes of conduct to which we insist companies adhere.

3 thoughts on “Costco and Trader Joe’s Prove that Capitalism Works

Add yours

  1. Yes, Costco and TJ’s are decent companies that take their social contract seriously, but I have to disagree with your contention that we don’t need regulation. Walmart is only one of the numerous corporations on the dark side, and it’s a place I will never set foot in. But millions do, and obviously they don’t give a damn about Walmart’s many sins. You say we should, in effect, make such companies behave by shopping at the better companies and investing in them. Obviously that hasn’t worked. Most people buy where it’s cheap, and don’t give a thought to how the corporation and its officers behave. Corporate capitalism as a whole only honors the social contract when required to do so by government control. We cannot rely on the good will of corporate billionaires to do the right thing.

  2. John, to be specific, I did not say we do not need regulation. On the contrary, I frequently upset many of my fellow Republicans by arguing that properly designed regulation ensures that business serves society without unnecessarily encumbering business or overly favoring large enterprise at the expense of the small. What I said was that we do not need “an entirely new, expensive, and self-interested regulatory infrastructure to guide it.”

    Further, while we recognize that there are some companies – many we never hear about – that flaunt the social contract, there are also many that embrace it. I keep a list of a hundred or so of the latter, but there are many more. The bad must be set to right, but the those companies making an earnest effort to do the right thing should not be punished in the process.

    At the very least you must acknowledge that heavy-handed regulation – particularly the kind of government micromanagement of enterprise that plagues countries like France – cannot by itself serve to keep business at the service of society. We as consumers, as shareholders, and as citizens have multiple roles to play in the process, and when we create laws to guide enterprise we always walk a fine line between wise regulation and gratuitous encumbrance.

Leave a Reply to David Wolf Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

The Golden West Review

A Californian Perspective on History, Arts, Land, Literature, and Politics

A Bucket and a Pen

Capturing Life after the Career

coffeesteffi ♡

coffee, art & my brewed thoughts

Sea Scout Ship 9201

Channel Islands Harbor • Ventura County Council, BSA

Troop 234, Boy Scouts of America

Port Hueneme/Channel Islands Harbor, CA

Dirty Sci-Fi Buddha

Musings and books from a grunty overthinker

The Chinafornia Wolf

Gratefully Chronicling a Remarkable Journey

The Thousand Books Project

Reading a Meaningful Life

Cafe Book Bean

Talk Books. Drink Coffee.

Silicon Hutong

Addressing China as it is, not as we want it to be

Maura Elizabeth Cunningham

Historian and Writer

Runningwinegirl's Blog

Colorado Girl Sharing Insights on Wine, Public Relations and Life's Adventures

ARLIN REPORT...................walking this path together


Blue-eyed Ronin

A contrarian who enjoys challenging existing illusions, one truth at a time.


News, data and insight about the powerful forces that shape the world.

Promoting fair and accurate coverage of Israel

Who Said What

Barton's Blog

To the clouds and beyond...

Coffee Shop Rabbi

Basic Judaism spoken here.

Cami Ryan

Science, society, and life

Pacific Paratrooper

This site is Pacific War era information

______Assessing China / The TEA Collaborative______

Tech, Energy & Ambitions: Assessments at the Intersection of Technology, Investment and Policy

An Ordinary Website

of interest to few.

Der Bananenplanet

Alternatives Informationsmedium

Corey Robin

Author of "The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin" and "The Enigma of Clarence Thomas"

Ragan Communications

The Center Must Hold

The China Story

The Center Must Hold

Yale E360

The Center Must Hold

Xindanwei | 新单位

The Center Must Hold

The Center Must Hold


Freelancing in the Digital Age

FriendFeed Blog

The Center Must Hold


The Center Must Hold

Blog Daily Listings RSS

The Center Must Hold


The Center Must Hold

The Center Must Hold


The Center Must Hold


The Center Must Hold

WebMD Health

The Center Must Hold


The Center Must Hold

Village Voice

The Center Must Hold

Uploads from The U.S. Army

The Center Must Hold


Latest news and trends about tech in China

The Center Must Hold


The Center Must Hold

The Center Must Hold

Latest Items from TreeHugger

The Center Must Hold

%d bloggers like this: