Charles Koch and Libertarianism

How to "Buy" a University

George Mason University is the home base of both Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok, both libertarian economists.

Alex Tabarrok got his Ph.D. in 1994 from GMU
Tyler Cowen got his B.S. in 1983 from GMU

George Mason is the recipient of some generous funding from the Charles G. Koch Foundation.The three Koch foundations contributed $23,030,497 between 1985 and 2002 to the university, its foundation and its Institute for Human Studies. (Media Transparency)

From the GMU web site:

Through major gifts and commitments, the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation has significantly bolstered programs focused on market-based solutions to social and economic problems. Its support has provided the university with vital resources for fostering dialog and innovation among scholars, policy experts, and government leaders.

The Koch Foundation’s generosity includes assistance in the recruitment in 2001 of Vernon Smith and his team of six distinguished economics professors to Mason. Smith, now a Nobel laureate, is a leader in the growing field of experimental economics. At George Mason, undergraduate and graduate students across related disciplines evaluate the performance and function of real-world markets and institutions.

Through the Koch Foundation, George Mason University is helping to bridge academic learning and real world practice. [my emphasis]

Charles G. Koch gets a bio in Wikipedia. Here is an excerpt:

Koch is a libertarian and supports many free-market organizations such as the Cato Institute, which he founded together with Edward H. Crane and Murray Rothbard in 1977.

Koch also funds the highly selective Charles G. Koch Summer Fellow Program through the Institute for Humane Studies.

Brother David H. Koch ran for vice president for the Libertarian Party in 1980.

Koch Industries is the largest privately held company in the country. The Koch family is part of the 18 super wealthy families who have worked for the elimination of the state tax.

From the report (PDF) on this, each Koch brother is worth about $12 billion and stands to have to pay about $4.7 billion in estate taxes, if not repealed. Koch Industries has spent $3.7 million on estate tax lobbying since 1998.

The Koch family is also a principle contributor to the Citizens for a Sound Economy (now Freedom Works) which supports think-tanks like Cato and Heritage foundation.

Alex Tabarrok is the research director of the Independent Institute:
The John M. Olin Foundation gave in 1996 to The Independent Institute $40,000 for "The promotion of two books: The Diversity Myth, by David O. Sacks and Peter a Thiel; and The Melting Pot, by Richard K. Vedder and Lowell E. Gallaway" and in 1998 another $25,000 for "The Institute's book program".
The David H. Koch Charitable Foundation gave in 1995 - 2001 in total $160,000 for "General Operating Support".
The Earhart Foundation gave in 1998 - 2001 in total $46,095 to support editor Dr. Robert Higgs.
The Castle Rock Foundation gave in 2002 for "General operating support" $25,000.

Other GMU faculty affiliated with the Institute:
James M. Buchanan - Nobel Laureate in Economic Science University Professor, Center for the Study of Public Choice, George Mason University
Vernon L. Smith - Nobel Laureate in Economic Science; Professor of Economics and Law, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science, George Mason University
Gordon Tullock - University Professor of Law and Economics and Distinguished Research Fellow, George Mason University
Richard E. Wagner - Hobart R. Hobart Professor of Economics, George Mason University
Walter E. Williams - Distinguished Professor of Economics, George Mason University
Donald J. Boudreaux - Chairman and Professor, Department of Economics, George Mason University
Lloyd R. Cohen - Professor of Law, George Mason University
Tyler Cowen - Professor of Economics, George Mason University
Bruce H. Kobayashi - Professor of Law, George Mason University
William E. Kovacic - Professor of Law, George Mason University
Gordon Tullock - University Professor of Law and Economics and Distinguished Research Fellow, George Mason University
Richard E. Wagner - Hobart R. Hobart Professor of Economics, George Mason University

The Mercatus Center at GMU's executive board includes Charles Koch and Tyler Cowen.

Koch is also involved with the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation.

A nice summary of the Koch family's activities can be found at this page from Media Transparency

Moral: Follow the Money


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Copyright © 2007 Robert D Feinman
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