by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster
Hotze 'Harry' Koch came from a wealthy family in Holland, arriving the US in 1888. He is, without doubt, the least well known of the short dynasty which, today, owns Koch Industries, the largest private corporation in the world. Charles and David learned what they needed to know from Grandpa Harry.
Harry, a newspaper man,came to the States to make money from the Rail Roads being built across America. Promoting the sale of distant land to settlers, the land having been given to the Rail Roads by the Federal government, had made multimillionaires of many. Promoting these opportunities in a newspaper was a natural extension for PR, adopted widely by those who owned Rail Roads from the Southern Pacific, with their publication of SunSet, on.
Harry moved to Quanah, Texas and started a paper in the tiny town just south of the Oklahoma border.
The paper ran stories about growth, expansion and unrealistic stories about the potentials for prosperity on what was then still a frontier. Harry Koch, how now owned his own RailRoad, encouraged the building of several railroad spurs to Quanah, encouraging the misplaced belief the small town could become a major transportation hub.
Temporarily, the population of the county quadrupled to more than 11,000.
Think of this as an early Housing Bubble, followed by the Foreclosure Bubble. Money was made, but not by the settlers or most investors.
Accountability for fraud and damage done was effectively revoked. Investors and employees learned these lessons as their money, and land dried up.
There was unpleasantness when RR workers called for strikes, but the National Guard was hastily called out when this occurred in the early 1920s.
Anticipating the work of Edward Bernays, author of Propaganda, and the guru of today's PR, Harry also showed the elite how to manufacture opinions which better suited their business plan from Quanah, without violence.
Repositioning the issue, he managed to quiet local dissent. Instead of attacking or insulting the strikers he published a brief announcement in the Quanah Tribune-Chief announcing QA&P’s decision to award bonuses to some of the company's employees. The paper named these employees, “the most loyal railroad men in the Southwest.”
His example was praised, and followed by the elite. Brute force was no longer necessary to hold Americans in check.
What happened with RailRoads is happening today with oil When you think 'fracking' or Keystone XL Pipeline, think Koch.