From The Washington Post:
Billionaire businessman, philanthropist and political donor Charles Koch grabbed headlines this weekend for focusing a semiannual gathering of wealthy conservatives on a surprising topic: income inequality. It is a topic that has loomed increasingly large in Koch’s mind recently and one that he expounded on in the spring in an interview with The Washington Post’s Jim Tankersley.
Most of that interview focused on Koch’s donations to university economics departments and his $200 million quest to build a “Republic of Science” in the American academy. But the 90-minute discussion also wandered to inequality, politics and monetary policy, among other topics.
He also explained why he dislikes the word “capitalism” as a descriptor for the free-market policies he advocates: “It’s not capital we are talking about; it’s knowledge and creating well-being.”
Here is a lightly abridged transcript of the interview, which is edited for length and which occurred May 3 in Wichita. It begins with an opening statement of sorts from Koch.
KOCH: When I think back on three things, there are three main characteristics and events that have determined my direction in life. The first one was my father announced early on that he didn’t want his sons to be “country club bums.” And for a number of reasons, I bore the brunt of that – I have an older brother and two younger brothers. So he had me work in all my spare time. I started out picking dandelions, shoveling stalls, milking cows, building a fence – whatever dirty job was out there. That’s a big deal, because you learn things working that you don’t learn in school. And I later learned that, read studies that if people don’t learn to work by the time they’re in their 30s, they’re never very productive. So you learn discipline, you’ve got to show up, you’ve got to work …