A Free-Market Energy Blog

Charles Koch on Cronyism

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- March 10, 2014

Today, many governments give special treatment to a favored few businesses that eagerly accept those favors. This is the essence of cronyism…. One obvious example of this involves wind farms. Most cannot turn a profit without the costly subsidies the government provides.”

– Charles G. Koch, “The Importance of Economic Freedom.” August 17, 2012.

William Simon, the top energy regulator in the Nixon’s Federal Energy Administration, was surprised. Oil company head after head was visiting his office to demand this or that to alleviate their shortages of oil or get more entitlements credit for their refineries. But Koch Industries had come by to just ask the federal government to leave them alone—to allow price signals to allocate crude oil and petroleum products. It was a meeting that Simon would not forget. [1]

For Charles Koch, it was lonely. Just about every fellow CEO talked about capitalism and freedom but did not practice it when the bottom line was affected. Instead of capitalism in principle, he wrote in 1980, they practiced capitalism a la carte. [2]

Fast forward to today. Business-government and government-business cronyism is rampant.  Yet reducing and eliminating such political capitalism is a cause for both ends of the political spectrum as indicated in the graphic below.