Charles Koch is a billionaire businessman, philanthropist, and political activist. He was born on November 1, 1935, in Wichita, Kansas, to Fred and Mary Koch. His father founded Koch Industries, a multinational corporation that is now one of the largest privately held companies in the world. Koch earned a bachelor's degree in engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1957 and a master's degree in mechanical engineering from MIT in 1958. He then returned to Wichita to work for Koch Industries, eventually rising to become CEO and chairman of the board. With Charles Koch at the helm, Koch Industries expanded its business interests into a wide range of industries, including oil and gas, chemicals, paper, and ranching. Today, the company has annual revenues of over $100 billion and employs more than 130,000 people. ## Koch's shadow government In addition to his business career, Koch has been active in politics and philanthropy. He is a longtime supporter of [libertarian]( and [conservative]( causes, and has donated millions of dollars to political campaigns and advocacy groups over the years. He is also a vocal critic of government regulation and taxation, and has advocated for an extreme free market ideology and limited government intervention in the economy. Koch has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to a range of causes, including education, scientific research, and the arts -- but mostly with a political focus in directing tax-free dollars towards Koch's own political ideology informed by the [[Austrian School of Economics]]. In 2011, he founded the Charles Koch Foundation, which supports research and education programs focused on promoting "free societies and individual freedom" (as interpreted by the multi-billionaire). He has also either founded or contributed significant funding dollars to a range of conservative think tanks and political action groups, as well as organizing and fundraising on behalf of this consortium -- a sprawling collection of right-wing organizations dubbed the [Koch Network]( (aka the Kochtopus, for its many tentacles). The Koch Network is perhaps best known for its role in antagonizing the [[Barack Obama]] administration and its key financial support for the formation of the [[Tea Party]] in the early 2010s. In particular, the signature [[astroturfing]] playbook of Koch-funded groups continues to dominate right-wing political activism to this day. ### Koch funded foundations and think tanks - [[Cato Institute]] - [[Heritage Foundation]] - The [[Club for Growth]] - [[Americans for Prosperity (AFP)]] - [[American Enterprise Institute (AEI)]] - Citizens for a Sound Economy - FreedomWorks - State Policy Network - Competitive Enterprise Institute - The Tax Foundation - The Reason Foundation - The Leadership Institute - The Charles Koch Foundation - [The Heartland Institute]( ### Koch's secretive funding of right-wing ideology [[James M. Buchanan]]'s public choice theory emerged in the 1950s and 1960s as an alternative to the then-prevailing view that government actors and institutions were generally driven by the public interest. Instead, Buchanan argued that politicians, bureaucrats, and voters often act in their own self-interest, leading to outcomes that may not be beneficial to the broader public. This perspective resonated with Charles Koch and others who shared similar free-market and limited government ideologies. Koch, in his quest to promote libertarian and free-market principles, recognized the potential value of Buchanan's academic work for shaping public policy. This connection between the two led to Koch providing financial support to the tune of millions of dollars for Buchanan's research and institutions associated with him. One prominent example is the funding Koch provided to George Mason University in Virginia and its Center for Study of Public Choice, where Buchanan was a faculty member. Through this support, the university became a hub for libertarian and conservative scholarship, with Buchanan's ideas and public choice theory at the forefront. ## Charles Koch's wealth Here's a breakdown of Charles Koch's wealth by type, based on the most recent available information: ![[Koch_s_Wealth_Breakdown_.jpg]] Please note that the values listed above are approximate and subject to change. Additionally, it's worth noting that Charles Koch's net worth and the breakdown of his wealth by type are based on publicly available information and may not be complete or entirely accurate. ## Influenced by: - [[Friedrich Hayek]] - [[James M. Buchanan]] - [[Murray Rothbard]]