The Wichita Eagle recently interviewed Charles Koch and David Koch and other Koch leaders as part of a two-part profile that was published on October 13 and 14, 2012. The stories include discussion of the experiences and principles that have guided Koch for more than fifty years. Read them in full here. Below are selected quotes from the interviews.
Charles G. Koch, chairman of the board and CEO of Koch Industries Inc.
“It’s a very corrosive atmosphere. As (economist Friedrich) Hayek said, you get there, and you get what he called the Fatal Conceit. You start to believe that a few wise people back there know how people should live their lives better than the people themselves did. So we need to tell them more and more how to live their lives, what kind of toilet they can have, what kind of food they can have. You don’t want to eat fat anymore. You shouldn’t have coffee.”
“A free-market economy starts with property rights that are defined in a way, that those who, to get benefit from your property, to profit from use of your property, you need also to bear the cost. And if you get the benefits, but you’ve socialized the cost, get other people to bear the cost, then you get unproductive behavior, and the system breaks down.”
“I’m neither Republican or Democrat, although we support more Republicans than Democrats, because although many of them are far from our ideal, they would be closer to it than most of the Democrats. But if there’s a Democrat who’s more interested in a free society and economic freedom, and how to increase productivity, and human well being in society, we’d support those people.”
David H. Koch, executive vice president and a board member of Koch. Industries.
The Environmental Protection Agency
“We have some very large refineries, and we have some great projects that we’d like to invest in to meet the demands of our customers, that is, the aviation fuel customers, the heating oil customers, and motor gasoline customers, and these refineries that we have… Well, the EPA has been sitting on several hundred requests from refineries and chemical plants to upgrade and expand their facilities. And the EPA has only, since Obama’s been president, granted one permit. And that permit is being litigated by environmental groups blocking it, so refineries are essentially paralyzed, they can’t expand and improve their operations.
My god, we’re a fossil-fuel-based society. And I think we’re going to have, if this continues, a big shortage of fuel to operate our economy.”
“Most of the income I receive, and my brother, we give it away for various purposes. I in particular am very supportive of medical research, in particular cancer research. I’m a major giver of funds support to cultural institutions. I’m very well known in New York City, where I live, as a major supporter of cultural institutions. And the educational institutions I attended, I’m very generous with them. Actually, of all the things that I engage in and supporting, my political activities are probably the least of the four categories I just mentioned to you.”
“After I pass on to another life, I would like the people to think of David Koch and my brother Charles as people who did everything they could to make the world a better place to live. And that we tried to improve the situation … and do good work in all these different areas. I’m doing my darndest to make that happen, and so people think of me in a positive light. That my life was a good life, that I contributed immensely to improve the well-being of others.”
Richard Fink, executive vice president and board member of Koch Industries; chairman of Koch Companies Public Sector, which provides legal, government and public affairs services.
“Charles and David have been unwilling to back down like most people, most businesses do. Most business people say, ‘Listen this is, uh, crazy to go up against these forces. We will just lay low, you know, try to survive, and feed off government spending like most corporations do.’ Instead, they said, ‘No we are going to devote the time and energy to try to make it right at great personal risk and sacrifice.’”
“It is time for businesses community to get up and fight for the economy and fight for America. So we are using everything we possibly can do to try to convince people that this is the right thing to do. We will not connect, the large corporations will not get behind this, but we think the mid- or small-midsize businesses will.”