A Free-Market Energy Blog

“The Future of Economic Freedom” (A corporate call to principled action)

By -- November 2, 2010

[Editor note: In a sea of political capitalism and rent-seeking by corporations, it is refreshing to see a principled defense of capitalism from the business sector. This piece from the current issue of Discovery, the quarterly publication of Koch Industries, Inc., is reprinted here in honor of today’s important elections.]

On Nov. 2, the United States will hold an important mid-term election.

At stake will be control of the U.S. Congress, 39 state governorships and thousands of other state and local offices.

High unemployment, record deficits, a sluggish economy and a swelling federal government have become flash point issues for millions of concerned Americans of every political persuasion.

For the nearly 50,000 Koch company employees in the United States, this election is an opportunity to help decide the future of economic freedom.

A Heavy Hitter

According to the International Monetary Fund, the United States accounts for about one-fourth of the world’s total output of goods and services, and one-fifth of the world’s purchasing power.

Like it or not, what’s bad for the United States – including misguided federal policies that undermine economic freedom – is usually bad for the rest of the world.

What has proven to be best for all societies is economic freedom.

Citizens on every continent enjoy more prosperity, cleaner environments, longer lives and higher literacy rates in economically free societies.

That’s why, for more than 40 years, Koch Industries has openly and consistently supported the principles of economic freedom and market-based policies.

The Challenge

Unfortunately, these values and principled point of view are now being strongly opposed by many politicians (and their media allies) who favor ever-increasing government.

Government – like fire, water, chemicals and most everything – is productive at some level and destructive at others.

In the United States, government has now grown to such a level that it is choking American entrepreneurship and hurting the nation’s international competitiveness.

Even worse, recent government actions are threatening to bankrupt the country.

This can only stifle economic growth and job creation, which in turn will significantly reduce the standard of living of American families.

To preserve the nation’s economic viability and individual freedoms, this explosive growth must be reversed.

There are, of course, plenty of politicians and critics who feel otherwise.

Many of them have been quite vocal in their attacks on Koch Industries and its owners, as well as other Koch companies and their employees.

However, as New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said, one is entitled to one’s own opinions, but not to one’s own facts.

And the facts are that the overwhelming majority of the American people will be much worse off if government overspending is allowed to bankrupt the country.

Fateful Warning

When Thomas Jefferson was inaugurated President of the United States in 1801, he warned about a particularly destructive way of thinking.

It is wrong, he said, to punish someone for working harder or being more successful than someone else.

He warned against “wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them” and taking from some to give to others “who have not exercised equal industry and skill.”

More than 200 years later, the destruction of economic freedom that Jefferson warned against is being vigorously promoted by this administration and many elected officials.

In the United States, the best antidote to this kind of over-reaching government is the power of the ballot box.

That was true in 1801, and is just as true today.



  1. rbradley  

    Koch’s Principled Entrepreneurship™ is just the opposite of Ken Lay and Enron’s political capitalism model.

    If the Left is suspicious of corporativism, and if they do their homework, they might just repect the intellectualism behind privately held Koch.

    For more on Enron versus Koch from a principled perspective, see http://www.politicalcapitalism.org/.


  2. Tom Tanton  

    Nowhere is this essay needed more than in California today. Koch has been demonized by the penalize-the-successful crowd in the Proposition 23 debate. At least California will provide (yet another) “shining” example for the rest of the country–what NOT to do.


  3. rbradley  

    Just Another Mike:

    No instruction given. This piece is a view of political philosophy that is based on the Science of Liberty.

    The candidate could well be (small government) Republican, or it could be Libertarian. Could be a Democrat somewhere who believes in the Science of Liberty as best for the little guy/gal and who does not like corporate welfare (corporativism).


  4. Dan  

    My Lord, is this article misleading…

    Government actions threaten to bankrupt the country? Did unregulated trading of trillions of dollars of bundled mortgages have nothing to do with the meltdown?
    Cleaner environment in economically free societies? It is political and social freedom that is the greatest determinant of healthy environments, both of which are hindered as power is consolidated by “free markets.”
    Entrepreneurship is also stifled by pure economic freedom – monopolies STIFLE competition, and monopolies are what result without regulation.
    Government growth does not stifle international competitiveness – our own success is largely to blame for our diminishing competitiveness, as we have largely priced ourselves out of affording our own labor. It was only a matter of time before a China (by the way, a THRIVING GOVERNMENT-CONTROLLED economy) along.

    I could go on…

    Listen, I’m all for smaller government, but some issues are too important to trust to markets, because they are amoral. Markets care nothing about anything or anyone but profit. A poor person who dies because they can’t afford health care can be a net economic benefit to society, but does that make it just? The market says it is. If a poor village in Indonesia or China is polluted with lead, cadmium, and other heavy metals because we ship our electronic waste to them (a “free-market” process), is that okay? The market says it is. Again, I could go on.

    Finally, it is a complete falsehood that the “people” control a “free” market. Corporations do. Corporate freedom and freedom are often at odds.


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