Koch Industries, the privately held petrochemical giant whose corporate personality can best be described as obsessive-compulsively evil, is at it again!
This time around, Koch appears to have been caught selling infrastructure to Iran, in violation of the spirit (if not the letter) of a law banning trade with that country. By selling through foreign subsidiaries, they were able to drive tens of millions of dollars of goods through a legal loophole the size of a truck.
An expose in Bloomberg Markets outlines this and numerous other infractions. For example, Koch has also been convicted of stealing oil from public lands. And in 1999, the company earned the dubious honor of being liable for the largest compensatory damages in a court case against a corporation ever, $296 million, for the deaths of two teenagers in a pipeline explosion.
The entire piece lays out what is essentially a pattern of ethical violations, many of them outlined by former employees, that seems systemic at Koch Industries. (A spokesman for the company insists they're squeaky clean these days, go figure.)
So why would an entire corporation act like a sociopath? Here's a clue, straight from the memoir of company co-owner Charles Koch:
While business was becoming increasingly regulated, we kept thinking and acting as if we lived in a pure market economy.
In other words, pretending that there are no rules besides "whoever can make the most money, by whatever duplicitous means, wins." Koch is proud of living in a fantasy moral universe where the only law is the law of the jungle. Even their Tea Party comrades might do well to be a little wary.
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