In a nutshell

A parable for our times: David Koch, a schoolteacher, and a Tea Party activist.

David Koch is sitting at a table with a schoolteacher and a Tea Party activist. On the table is a plate with a dozen cookies. The billionaire promptly scoops up 11 of the cookies. He then turns to the tea partier and says, “Watch out for that schoolteacher. He’s in a union, and he wants a piece of your cookie.”

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

39 thoughts on “In a nutshell”

  1. More like:

    David Koch flies in from Manhattan, New York and is meeting with two people from Wisconsin – a schoolteacher and a Tea Party activist. On the table is a plate with a dozen wedges of Wisconsin cheddar cheese…

  2. Mark’s kitchen table parable omits a couple of obvious points:
    1. Participants in an exchange economy (such as the Koch brothers) do not “take” cookies (or anything else) from anyone; they trade goods and services for other people’s goods and services.
    (Forbes): “Father, Fred C. Koch (d. 1967), invented method of turning heavy oil into gasoline.
    (Answers.com): “The various Koch companies operate independently under a homegrown free-market philosophy called market-based management, which essentially encourages employees to think as entrepreneurs and to constantly question themselves and their colleagues. Another hallmark of Koch’s success has been the willingness of the owners to plow 90 percent of earnings each year back into the business, a strategy that yielded an exponential growth rate of 1,600 percent during the period from 1961 to 2005.
    Public-sector unions, on the other hand, pay politicians to extort resources from taxpayers.
    2. Forbes puts the combined net worth of Charles and David Koch at around $50 billion. NCES put the annual expenditures of the NEA/AFT/AFSCME cartel’s K-PhD schools (the “public” schools) at $727 billion (which understates the resources which the NEA/AFT/AFSCME cartel commands). You’d need a net worth of more than $7 trillion to generate a revenue stream of $727 billion per year. The US State-monopoly school system dwarfs Koch Industries.

  3. I’m confused. Koch bros, and other right-leaning groups oppose Wisconsin labor strike, because of an economic theory largely based on the writings of Ayn Rand, who wrote “Atlas Shrugged,” which is about a strike. Did I get that right?

  4. I like the fun analogy. I also like how Monbiot frames the larger context, inside a different (but related) topic:

    [T]he authoritarian right has confused us with its choice of language. Many of those who claim to oppose big government relish centralised power. The less accountable it is, the better they like it.

    What they hate is state spending, for the obvious reason that this is the means by which money is distributed from the rich to the poor. They want governments which both control the lower orders and ensure that they receive as little money as possible from richer taxpayers. There is no inconsistency in these positions – but there are few votes to be gained from spelling them out. The two referenda have forced these phoney radicals to show their hands. That’s a result for democracy, even before the votes have been cast. http://www.monbiot.com/2011/02/28/in-love-with-the-state/#more-1529

    Mark’s and George’s together work pretty well.

  5. Another hallmark of Koch’s success has been the willingness of the owners to plow 90 percent of earnings each year back into the business, a strategy that yielded an exponential growth rate of 1,600 percent during the period from 1961 to 2005.”

    Wow!! 1600%. That means the value in 2005 was seventeen times that in 1961. What geniuses.

    Oh. Wait. On 12/29/05 the S&P500 was 1248.29. On 12/31/61 it was 71.55. (1248.29/71.55) = 17.4.

  6. Re: “Play nice.” I’ve zapped a couple of comments that suggested, without any basis, that a commenter had a bad motive. Really, this isn’t very hard: go after the argument, not the person making it.

  7. This metaphor really does reveal things, doesn’t it? Nobody baked the cookies, nobody provided a kitchen, provisioned it, fueled the stove, or anything like that. The cookies just magically appear, and then the reasoning about how they get distributed begins… Thereby eliding what everybody else considers relevant.

  8. Another hallmark of Koch’s success has been the willingness of the owners to plow 90 percent of earnings each year back into the business, a strategy that yielded an exponential growth rate of 1,600 percent during the period from 1961 to 2005.”

    Wow!! 1600%. That means the value in 2005 was seventeen times that in 1961. What geniuses.

    By some humorous coincidence, that’s an annual growth rate of 6.66% – in the words of Dana Carvey’s Church Lady, isn’t that interesting?

    Bernard’s point, which he’s too kind to explicitly state, is that Koch Industries has, under the titanically impressive leadership of the Koch brothers, managed to match a measure of the whole economy for 44 years – i.e. in theory they could have saved themselves the work and put the whole bundle in an index fund. There’s no shame in that, of course – plenty of big companies haven’t managed to do so well – but it’s hardly an extraordinary feat worthy of worship. Their father sounds like a more interesting and impressive man in many ways, but then he’s been dead for more than 40 years.
    Also, why 1961 and 2005? Is there some significance to those years? Was 1960 a catastrophically bad year, or 2004 an unusually good one?

    P.S. I note that Mark offers no-one any credit for writing the parable, leading Malcolm to credit to him. Seems this has been floating around today if not before (a poster at Balloon Juice put up a version earlier, also with no specific attribution but saying they didn’t know who’d come up with it); some clarification seems to be in order, to avoid misapprehensions like Malcolm’s (or to take the credit properly, if appropriate).

  9. *1. Participants in an exchange economy (such as the Koch brothers) do not “take” cookies (or anything else) from anyone; they trade goods and services for other people’s goods and services.*

    Overly simplistic Econ 101 dribble. It should be pointed out that, for instance, rational participants in an exchange economy will (often) seek advantage over others by gaming the system. For instance, the Koch Brothers traded campaign support Walker for the potential no-bid contract/Union-busting state budget that puts them at an unfair future advantage.

  10. But if David Koch’s net worth is 25 billion and a typical teacher’s $200,000…
    Shouldn’t it be 124,999 cookies for Koch and one for the teacher?

  11. Someone pointed out that the actual cookie ratio is more like 300:1 for the grand feat of having matched the S&P for 45 years. But I’d also like to call bullsh** on the “reinvested 90% of profits” line. A) it’s meaningless without knowing which of the dozen or so definitions of “profit” your spinners are using today and B) when you a company is successful and growing, plowing your money back into it isn’t some kind of farsighted altruism, it’s the most obviously profitable allocation of capital. It’s like praising a real-estate mogul for the visionary act of using the profits from selling old properties to buy new ones.

  12. Warren,

    Yes.

    Alternatively, we might say,

    “The Koch brothers made their money the old-fashioned way. They inherited it.”

    All that fluff about theor management methods is plain silly.

  13. @ koreyel

    But if David Koch’s net worth is 25 billion and a typical teacher’s $200,000…
    Shouldn’t it be 124,999 cookies for Koch and one for the teacher?

    Um, no. That is not typical. Starting salaries for teachers are in the mid-to-high 20’s – that’s for a college degree plus professional training and certification, and while more senior teachers are paid significantly more, they aren’t paid 8-fold more, not even if they’ve been in the job for 44 years.

  14. … adding, I would be surprised if any public school teacher, at any level, including highly esteemed full professors with named chairs at public universities, is earning $200,000 in salary from the state for teaching. Some of those professors are making that much, but not for teaching and not from the state; they make more money through consulting work, corporate advisory boards, clinical income, TV gigs, book deals, etcetera. Some ex-teachers-turned administrators may well make that much. But it’s not at all a typical teacher’s wage.

  15. “The Koch brothers made their money the old-fashioned way. They inherited it.”

    Yes. And then cheated, sued, and swore doom at each other over the inheritance like old-time aristocrats. I am surprised this 1994 NYT’s article is freely available. Out of respect to the public weal the NY Times should make their entire Koch archive open source. Here’s a paste from the above:

    In the annals of family business battles, the Koch brothers are legendary and their actions show that fabulous wealth and fierce emotions can be a volatile mix. This combination tore apart the Bingham newspaper dynasty of Louisville and pitted Herbert H. Haft, founder of the Dart Group, against a son, daughter and ex-wife. While Charles Koch isn’t thrilled about losing $1 billion — although company executives say a check that size would only slow them a bit — it’s really emotions that matter. The lawsuit, Charles says, reflects a “vindictive fantasy” and “dangerous obsession” by William, who, he adds, “has dedicated his life and made it his No. 1 objective to destroy his family and Koch Industries.

    Anybody know any good aristocrat jokes?

  16. So Malcolm and Brett think that David Koch has “baked the cookies” by inheriting a fortune.

    There’s a term for a social-economic-political system where great wealth and political power are inherited. But that term is not “democracy,” and we fought a revolution to get rid of it. Unlike a commenter on an earlier post, I’m not in favor of “Second Amendment remedies against oligarchy.” But as our oligarchs, via their tame politicians, move to deprive citizens of such universally recognized human rights as the right to organize at work, I’m less and less inclined to treat them with the respect due those who actually try to play by the rules of free government.

  17. What some have missed here is the cookies are of the inedible sort from a fundraising bake sale to buy pencils.

  18. (Kleiman): “So Malcolm and Brett think that David Koch has “baked the cookies” by inheriting a fortune.
    I did not say anything about inheritance. Now that you mention it, they inherited considerably less than their current net worth.
    (Kleiman): “There’s a term for a social-economic-political system where great wealth and political power are inherited. But that term is not “democracy,” and we fought a revolution to get rid of it.
    False, on three counts. 1) (Trivially) “we” did not fight in the American Revolution. 2) The American Revolution did not end the system of property inheritance in the US. Seems to me the system of title (private property) implies the power to give one’s wealth to anyone. “Freedom of association” and “freedom of contract” would include the right to pay your children whatever you wish, just for breathing. 3) The US is (or was) a federation of representative democracies, not a democracy. To the extent that the terms “representative government” and “democratic government” overlap, they would include whatever system of inheritance legislators or referenda establish. So they would not by definition exclude tax-free inheritance. Seems to me, anyway.

  19. Now that you mention it, they inherited considerably less than their current net worth.

    This is quite possible, but it really would serve you to read some of the other comments. After all, by your own reckoning they inherited a Koch Industries-sized portion of the economy and – as Bernard demonstrated – managed to grow it at the same rate as the S&P500, a measure of the whole economy. In other words, adjusted for economic growth, Koch Industries held steady in valuation over the period you chose to highlight.
    Now, I don’t know what other wealth the brothers may have, and how much it may have grown, or whether their share of Koch Industries may have grown, etcetera. But you haven’t stated any such, either; you’re assuming facts not in evidence.

    1) (Trivially) “we” did not fight in the American Revolution.

    Well, Mark comes from a tradition in which you gather with family and friends every year and are instructed to remember that you, too, were slaves in Egypt. Identifying with significant events in the national struggle, claiming ownership of it for yourself, even for events that happened thousands of years ago, let alone a mere couple of centuries, is hardly unusual – indeed, is hardly worth mentioning. What were you trying to prove with this point? Was it something about Mark, or about yourself?

    2) The American Revolution did not end the system of property inheritance in the US. Seems to me the system of title (private property) implies the power to give one’s wealth to anyone. “Freedom of association” and “freedom of contract” would include the right to pay your children whatever you wish, just for breathing.

    Well, the first part of this is reasonably true (I don’t know whether some lands might have reverted to the crown under British law), although I’m not sure whom you’re arguing with. It is interesting if not especially surprising that it seems to you that there is some inalienable right to bequeath every last jot and tittle of your holdings to whomever you so please, presumably untaxed, but you hardly demonstrate anything about anyone else sharing your belief. On the other hand, you appear to suggest that inheritances should be subject to income tax, which hardly seems to be desirable. Given that under current law the estate is taxed at 0% for the first $2,000,000 and maxes out at 35% starting with $2,500,000, it seems to me that you’re inadvertantly proposing a truly monumental increase in estate tax – you’re effectively getting rid of the exemption on the first $2,000,000 and taxing the nest $500,000 at a higher rate than is currently the case.

    3) The US is (or was) a federation of representative democracies, not a democracy. To the extent that the terms “representative government” and “democratic government” overlap, they would include whatever system of inheritance legislators or referenda establish. So they would not by definition exclude tax-free inheritance. Seems to me, anyway.

    I have no idea what any of this is meant to signify. No-one here has proposed confiscatory estate taxes; indeed, no-one has mentioned the subject except for you and in response to you. Certainly, no-one has said that legislation reducing barriers to inheritance is unconstitutional, or illegal, or morally questionable.

  20. Will:

    “I’m confused. Koch bros, and other right-leaning groups oppose Wisconsin labor strike, because of an economic theory largely based on the writings of Ayn Rand, who wrote “Atlas Shrugged,” which is about a strike. Did I get that right?”

    Yes, precisely. You’re probably forgetting that “if high status people do it, that means it is not unethical”. So “unions” of people who are paid relatively little for their work are wicked, malevolent, nefarious conspiracies to steal from virtuous citizens, while trade associations among highly paid people (think doctors, lawyers, actors, athletes, etc.) are absolutely A-Ok.

    Not to mention the way big business increasingly consolidates the supply chain behind a Potemkin shopping mall full of many “different(tm)” brands all supplied by the same corporate owners (read Barry C. Lynn’s recent book “Cornered” for that story). You get the pleasant illusion of choice while being forced to pay rent to monopolists. John Galt would be so proud!

  21. You’re probably forgetting the difference between having the right to go out on strike, (Everybody’s got that, if you don’t you’re something like a slave.) and the right that your employer not ignore your union and respond by hiring somebody else. A reoccurring theme in Atlas Shrugged was that the bad guys, even as they hated and despised Rand’s innovators, needed them, nobody could replace them. In Atlas Shrugged, the people Galt got to go on strike didn’t make society collapse by slashing the tires of anybody who’d take their place, by heaving bricks through the windows of anybody who tried to buy competitors’ products. (Routine union tactics, so basic to the operation of labor unions they’ve got a RICO exemption to commit them!) They brought society to it’s knees by being needed.

    The frequency with which labor unions must resort to violence underscores that they are neither voluntary associations, nor gain their bargaining power by virtue of having the only supply of something needed. Rather, they won’t permit anybody else to supply it…

    Let’s say Walker gets his law. Will public employees lose the right to form unions? No. Will they lose the right to make demands on any subject they feel like? No. Their own right to act will be fully intact. All that will change is how the state responds to said unions and demands. But workers have no right to win negotiations. They have no right that the other side in the negotiation treat everything the workers might want as on the table. And they have no right, if they walk away from their jobs, that the other side not hire somebody else who wants the work. those are privileges, legal privileges which it violates no right to abolish.

  22. And let’s further examine the post.

    As I said, the first problem with it, is that the cookies appear magically, without any existing entanglements, a device calculated to abolish any factor which might conceivably suggest other than an equal share. Heck, for all we know, some third party baked the cookies, set them down for a moment to cool, and will return finding that Koch AND the teacher have stolen them.

    A second issue: Koch has only one employee? I don’t think so!

    So, here’s our revised scenario: Koch pays to have the kitchen built, equips it, buys the flour and sugar, hires the cooks for 1 cookie a batch, but it takes a lot of cooks to make a batch. Kooh gets two cookies for his trouble, the cooks each get one. They eat their cookies, aside from a few crumbs, while Koch eats one, and pockets the other. Repeat every day for twenty years. Suddenly the curtain is lifted, and we find Koch has a LOT of cookies, each individual cook not nearly so many. (Though in aggregate the cooks don’t actually look so bad compared to Koch.) Oh, except for a couple of the cooks who endured the privation of only eating half of their cookie for a couple of years, then bought their own kitchen, and are now doing pretty good.

    Funny how, when you add the details, the result isn’t so straightforwardly obnoxious…

  23. @brett– what makes the next-to-last post particularly funny is that, as most southerners can tell you, public employees in many of the southern states have no right to strike and have no right to collectively bargain. so the hilarious logical extension of what you’re saying–the punchline to the joke-is that everyone has at minimum a right to become unemployed in pursuit of dignity. love it. when are you taking your act on the road?

  24. So “unions” of people who are paid relatively little for their work are wicked, malevolent, nefarious conspiracies to steal from virtuous citizens, while trade associations among highly paid people (think doctors, lawyers, actors, athletes, etc.) are absolutely A-Ok.

    In fairness, I know a lot of libertarians who aren’t fond of the American Medical Association, the American Bar Association and other such organizations, considering them an unfair restriction on the supply of professional services which mostly serves the purpose of rent-seeking. Not saying I agree, but I have seen the opinion expressed often enough. (Not least by the Fonzie of Freedom.) Don’t know if I’ve ever seen them express an opinion on the actors’, athletes’ or TV writers’ unions. Or the other such professional guilds, e.g. the Director’s Guild.

  25. Also, clearly never take Brett to a comedy club. He’d just sit there all sputtering and angry.

  26. Seth says:
    “Yes, precisely. You’re probably forgetting that “if high status people do it, that means it is not unethical”. So “unions” of people who are paid relatively little for their work are wicked, malevolent, nefarious conspiracies to steal from virtuous citizens, while trade associations among highly paid people (think doctors, lawyers, actors, athletes, etc.) are absolutely A-Ok. ”

    There’s an old joke that the difference between the working class and the (upper) middle class is that the working class forms unions and beats scabs. The upper middle class forms associations, gets laws passed, and has the government beat scabs.

  27. The Fonzie of Freedom forgot to mention the sugar and flour were grown by monopolies, controlling the food chain down to the type of seed that can legally be planted (or harassed into planting, a la Chapela and Andura Smetacek), and colluding with the US government for vast price subsidies to keep producer prices down such that small farmers cannot compete. The eggs were likely ‘grown’ in industrial farms fed by feed corn sold to a monopoly, the property likely controlled by a monopoly. The consumer goods were likely purchased at a monopoly chain, as the wages of the schoolteachers don’t allow anything else but consumption lowest-cost goods. The additional sweetener in the low-cost food product was corn sweetener, grown by a monopoly. The…well, you get the idea.

    Someone contact Comedy Central for a booking.

  28. (Malcolm): “Now that you mention it, they inherited considerably less than their current net worth.
    (Warren) : “…they inherited a Koch Industries-sized portion of the economy…
    Which, as I demonstrated, pales when compared to the portion of the economy which the NEA/AFT/AFSCME cartel (the current US State-monopoly school system) controls.

    (Warren) : “…Koch Industries held steady in valuation over the period you chose to highlight.
    While the share under the control of the NEA/AFT/AFSCME cartel has grown.

    (Warren) : “…you’re assuming facts not in evidence.
    I’m reporting facts. What do you assert I’ve assumed?

    (Malcolm) : “(Trivially) ‘we’ did not fight in the American Revolution.
    (Warren): “Identifying with significant events in the national struggle, claiming ownership of it for yourself, even for events that happened thousands of years ago, let alone a mere couple of centuries, is hardly unusual – indeed, is hardly worth mentioning. What were you trying to prove with this point?
    Mark uses this identification and ownership claim to enlist others in support of his policy preferences. I consider his policy preference wrt inheeritance unsound and contrary to Constitutional principle. His claim (in effect) that the founders opposed legal protection of property inheritance is absurd. I do not subscribe to the group identity he offers. “What do you mean ‘we’, paleface?” (the socialist bigots who moderate Internet Infidels (claim to) consider that racist).

    (Malcolm): “ The American Revolution did not end the system of property inheritance in the US. Seems to me the system of title (private property) implies the power to give one’s wealth to anyone. “Freedom of association” and “freedom of contract” would include the right to pay your children whatever you wish, just for breathing.
    (Warren): “…It is interesting if not especially surprising that it seems to you that there is some inalienable right to bequeath every last jot and tittle of your holdings to whomever you so please, presumably untaxed, but you hardly demonstrate anything about anyone else sharing your belief…
    Hayek, __The Constitution of Liberty__, chapter 12, footnote 9.

    …Massachusetts circular letter of February 11, 1768: ‘…that in all free states the constitution is fixed, and that as the supreme legislative derives its power and authority from the constitution , it cannot overleap the bounds of it, without destroying its own foundation; that the constitution acsertains amd limits both soveeignty and allegiance, and, therefore, his Majesty’s American subjects, who acknowledge themselves bound by the ties of allegiance, have an equatable claim to the full enjoyment of the fundamental rules of the British constitution; that is an essential, unalterable right, in nature, engrafted into the British constitution, as a fundamental law, and ever held sacred and irrevocable by the subjects of the realm, that what a man has honestly acquired is absolutely his own, which he may freely give, but cannot be taken from him without his consent’…

    (Warren): “…On the other hand you appear to suggest that inheritances should…
    Better: “could”.
    (Warren): “…be subject to income tax, which hardly seems to be desirable. Given that under current law the estate is taxed at 0% for the first $2,000,000 and maxes out at 35% starting with $2,500,000, it seems to me that you’re inadvertantly proposing a truly monumental increase in estate tax – you’re effectively getting rid of the exemption on the first $2,000,000 and taxing the nest $500,000 at a higher rate than is currently the case.
    Different policy regimes have different consequences, or else why argue? Empirical considerations (“What will happen if…?”) and our values (“Do I want that to happen?”) determine policy preferences, including the tax regime. I don’t have particularly strong feelings on this, but I prefer a simple system, a tax on transactions, which exempts gifts (including inheritance and estate).

    (Malcolm): “The US is (or was) a federation of representative democracies, not a democracy. To the extent that the terms ‘representative government’ and ‘democratic government’ overlap, they would include whatever system of inheritance legislators or referenda establish. So they would not by definition exclude tax-free inheritance. Seems to me, anyway.
    (Warren): “I have no idea what any of this is meant to signify. No-one here has proposed confiscatory estate taxes; indeed, no-one has mentioned the subject except for you and in response to you.
    Mark was the first to raise the issue.

    (Warren): “…Certainly, no-one has said that legislation reducing barriers to inheritance is unconstitutional, or illegal, or morally questionable.
    My point was that, contrary to Mark, neither the definitions of “democracy” nor “republic” imply any details of the tax treatment of property inheritance. A democratic polity could tax inheritance at 0% or 100%.

  29. Brett, preaching from the sacred texts of your religion isn’t likely to convince anyone who isn’t already a member of that religion.

  30. Josh, especially when the sacred text tells us that the two cooks get one cookie and the owner gets two. Here in reality, we know the corporate billionaire gets, oh, 237 cookies while the cooks get one each. That is: preaching from the sacred text confuses reg’lur folk shuffling around for the crumbs.

    @Eli: that was what I was thinking when I wrote that. My sister & her daughter are teachers and they aren’t sitting in McMansions with new Volvos in the driveway, let me tell you. This class warfare bullpucky is grating on BOTH smart and normal people’s nerves.

  31. “The Koch brothers made their money the old-fashioned way. They inherited it.”

    And Daddy made it the old fashion way by working for Joe Stalin

    The Winkler–Koch Corporation of Wichita, Kansas, became the Soviets’ new supplier. An agreement was reached whereby the company would provide equipment and technical support in building new cracking units.

    The first Winkler–Koch plants were set up in Tuapse in 1930. The cracking unit operated commendably, and would in the future be the type preferred by the heads of the Soviet Union’s petroleum industry when purchasing new cracking equipment.

    In 1931, two Winkler–Koch cracking units were launched in Baku, another two in Batumi, and six at once in Grozny; the last had a combined refining capacity of 900,000 tons per year. In 1932, a Winkler–Koch unit commenced operations in Yaroslavl.

    Between 1930 and 1932, some 15 Winkler–Koch cracking units were delivered to the USSR, but no more new orders were sent to the United States. It was much more advantageous for the Soviets to build such installations themselves, especially since the need for them was constantly growing: domestic production of automobiles and airplanes had risen sharply.

  32. Brett appears to live on a planet where violence by pro-union thugs was rampant, but acts of business owners who called in state forces to fire on strikers and their families with machine guns never happened. Interesting.

  33. (Don): “Daddy made it the old fashion way by working for Joe Stalin…
    Powerline’s rebuttal: “Fred Koch, the founder of Koch Enterprises, built refineries in the Soviet Union in the 1930s…for what it is worth, there is an interesting story behind it, which is easily accessible on Koch’s web site. Fred Koch invented a catalytic cracking process, but the major oil producers shut him out of the United States market. Accordingly, he and his company looked overseas. The result, as described on the Koch Industries web site:

    [Fred Koch’s] anti-communist sentiment stemmed from the trips he made to the Soviet Union from 1929 through 1932 when his engineering company designed and built oil cracking units to be erected in refineries in the U.S.S.R. Mr. Koch found the Soviet Union to be “a land of hunger, misery and terror.” Virtually all of the Soviet engineers with whom he worked were purged by Stalin, who exterminated tens of millions of people. This experience, combined with what his Communist associates told him of their methods and plans for world revolution, caused Fred Koch to become a staunch anti-communist.

    Don’s point only makes sense if there’s something wrong with working for socialists (there is). Either someone deduces this from first principles, receives divine inspiration, or reaches an empirical conclusion. You’all would call “ideologue” if Koch arrived at his anti-communism by either of the first two paths, right?

  34. The market is created when a governing body decides there should be fairness in any particular capitalist system. Without the market created by a governing body, you only have a jungle ruled by thugs. The concept of free market ideas is based on the highly misconstrued and bastardized theory of evolution. Where folks like Brian and Warren openly deceive regular folk and the reason our country is falling apart is their faulty but at-first-glance-makes-alot-of-sense-until-applied-in-the-real-world theory.
    The theory of evolution first and foremost is the theory of DIVERSITY; the more diverse an ecosystem, the more successful it is. NOT SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST which is one small portion of the big picture and a sub sect of natural selection.
    But if nature worked like Rand’s mystical planet, dinosaurs would rule the planet, which itself would be a world of sand.
    A healthy ecosystem can be compared to a healthy economy. A rainforest for example. So there are huge trees that create a canopy that shelters the forest (rule of law), trees with roots that give them strength (power to protect the people) but give off life in the form of oxygen (cashflow). In the rainforest there exists no animal that eats everyone and everything, instead all the animals live together never growing to big for what the forest can offer.
    A healthy system would have a robust economy with a large middle section of small and medium sized business. Which we clearly do not have.
    To blame a union for wanting rights is like blaming a school of fish for wanting to swim together because they should trust the long history of good behavior by sharks.

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