How the Koch brothers make their money – Seven Products Fueling the Brothers’ Right-Wing Agenda

How the Koch brothers make their money  – Seven Products Fueling the Brothers’ Right-Wing Agenda

The Nation, May 25, 2011

The brothers Charles and David Koch have long operated in the shadows of American business—David has even gone so far as to call their Koch Industries “the largest company that you’ve never heard of.” The libertarian brothers—who have had their hand in everything from the Citizens United Supreme Court decision to funding climate change deniers—have even taken their politics to the workplace, by proselytizing the benefits of unhindered capital to their own employees.

But the Kochs are only able to wield such outsized power in politics and public opinion because of the massive revenues they take in from their empire of products and services. We sent Nation intern Sara Jerving to a local supermarket to see just how many Koch products she could find hiding in plain sight on the store’s shelves.

Georgia-Pacific is a paper manufacturer that Koch Industries acquired in 2005. Beyond printer paper, building supplies and chemicals it offers under its own name, Georgia-Pacific also offers a wide array of consumer products, such as:

  • Quilted Northern toilet paper
  • Angel Soft toilet paper
  • Brawny paper towels
  • Sparkle paper towels
  • Mardi Gras paper napkins
  • Vanity Fair plates
  • Dixie cup

But that’s not all: Koch Industries also profits from Cordura nylon, and Lycra fabric is produced by the Koch-owned textile company Invista. From ranching to fertilizers to chemicals and energy, the Koch brothers have their hands in a very wide range of goods and services. But though these products may seem bland, they’re putting billions of dollars into the coffers of one of this country’s most politically destructive corporations.

For more on the Koch brothers, read Mark Ames and Mike Elk’s recent report for The Nation, “Big Brothers: Thought Control at Koch.”


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