by Joshua Clark Davis
Publisher: Columbia University Press (August 8, 2017)
Paperback: 336 pages

Whole Foods Head Shop

In From Head Shops to Whole Foods, Joshua Clark Davis explores the untold history of 1960s-era Social Capitalism.

It was an era of activist entrepreneurs and humanistic practices like shared ownership, limited growth, and democratic workplaces. It was an alternative to traditional profit-focused corporate business models.

By the late 70s there were hundreds, if not thousands, of like-minded social enterprises but only a few remain today. Many of them – think Whole Foods – gave up on their mission along the way.

In this beautifully written, elegantly conceived, and deeply researched book, Davis traces the histories of 1960s-era small enterprises aimed at alternative forms of capitalism. His clear prose and sharp analysis illuminates the U.S. economy’s appetite for reform under capitalism. An essential work.


(Charles McGovern, William and Mary)

This is a compelling read: it’s a history of the intersection of social movements and capitalism and argues they are not mutually exclusive.

If you are interested in ethical consumption, social enterprise, buying local or mission-driven businesses then it’s important to understand the origins and history of these movements and causes.

Clark explores modern day companies that celebrate ethical practices and social change – and how they sometimes come up short and are paying lip service for marketing purposes.

From Head Shops to Whole Foods is a must-read.

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