[Editor note: This article first appeared in the October 2010 issue of Discovery, the quarterly newsletter of Koch Companies, Inc. This company’s values include an adherence to free-market capitalism, in opposition to political capitalism or rent-seeking, currently the fashion at a number of major U.S. corporations. (Also see “The Future of Economic Freedom“). ]
We live in an era when many people–including policymakers and media celebrities–view businesses and corporations with disdain or intense suspicion. Their way of thinking begs a simple question: What is the primary role of business?
Is it to create jobs and provide benefits? Help advance a social agenda? Or just to make as much money as possible, by exploiting customers and employees?
As a matter of principle, Koch companies believe there is only one reason for any business to exist: creating value.…