The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America

by Christopher Leonard ⚡

Kochland pierces the corporate veil behind the highly secretive Koch Industries, a company reported as having revenues of $110 billion in 2018, placing it firmly ahead of many of the largest companies you'll be familiar with.

This first and foremost is the story of how Charles Koch built an industrial juggernaut. Responsible for goods and materials society depends upon to function such as oil, plastics, chemicals, timber, glass and much more.

This juggernaut was built through union busting (something directly linked to the erosion of the middle class), environmental damage and exploitation of weak legislation[1] as much as it was through a combination of shrewd investments and long-term strategic planning.

Charles Koch (and his now deceased brother David) is well known for being a libertarian[2] and hasn't shied away from pumping tens of millions of dollars into climate change denial, tax reduction (for the ultra wealthy) and shaping political power using such vehicles as the Cato Institute, the Heartland Institute and Americans for Prosperity[3].

Like all good books this one raises a number of questions for which there is no easy answer. While you might, as I do, find Koch's politics deplorable, it's also possible to see the benefits of such schemes as Koch's 10,000% compliance scheme[4] which has been directly linked to decreases in pollution at Koch owned industrial buildings.

This is a deeply complex story and one well worth reading to understand how unchecked corporate power impacts the world we live in.

  1. They actively campaigned for deregulation of the California energy market, which led to the California energy crisis, causing billions of dollars in losses at energy providers like PG&E. This would then be directly linked to the wildfires suffered in California in recent years. ↩︎

  2. aka a selfish cunt ↩︎

  3. A group that was intrinsically linked with the rise of the Tea Party in direct opposition to President Obama. ↩︎

  4. Not that that has come without its own issues, as the rising number of serious injuries at Georgia-Pacific, a Koch subsidiary, demonstrates. ↩︎