Quote of the Day, Koch Brothers Edition

“Nobody talks more of free enterprise and competition and of the best man winning than the man who inherited his father’s store or farm.”
— C. Wright Mills

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, Humor, US Politics,
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.


  1. Rebecca Burlingame says:

    I’m glad for this quote and the fact that you graduated from a school of law, because rural/urban beliefs about ownership have been weighing on me heavily as of late. Why is there not more discussion by attornies with the public about the different ways that rural and urban people view ownership in general? It is so important, because rural people tend to believe, unfortunately sometimes with good reason, that capitalism is not going to rescue anyone. Based on this belief, while capitalism is upheld by landowners and rural folk, what is vital and mostly unsaid is making sure one’s own family can survive. This leads further and further into a world where human capital and skills cannot in fact lead to survival and the rural person knows this. Any thoughts?

  2. Drew says:

    Its a cute quip, Alex. But as someone who’s entire career for the last 20 years has been dominated by investing and working with entrepreneurs, its a crap observation.

    I’ve seen the stat, but don’t have it at my fingertips, but the number of people who actually inherit their wealth is surprisingly small. Further, many of those who did have done a remarkable job in successfully growing what they got.

    Chiding the Lucky Sperm Club is great sport while hoisting beers in a bar, but light when it comes to thinking about constructive public policy.

  3. Alex Knapp says:


    Oh, I agree with you with respect to most entrepeneurs. That’s why I tagged the post “humor.”

    I do have a beef with the Koch’s, though, but it isn’t Cato (which puts out a lot of work I find interesting and employs a lot of people I find admirable). Rather it’s their terrible environmental and worker safety record. (Not to mention actually stealing oil from Indian reservations).

    I admire entrepreneurship a great deal. But the Koch’s are, in many ways, just criminals protected by the corporate veil.