1996 “Structure of Social Change” by Koch Industries Executive VP Richard Fink

The “Structure of Social Change” is key to understanding how Charles Koch has integrated a three-step process for financing policy ideas, starting with university programs, then think tanks, then advocacy groups.

Richard Fink’s “Structure of Social Change” was first published in Philanthropy Magazine in 1996, borrowing from on a manufacturing theory first published by Friedrich Hayek. Richard Fink, who was Charles Koch’s top advisor for many years, retooled Hayek’s manufacturing theory in order to produce policy outcomes, rather than solid goods.

Not mentioned in the document is Koch’s complimentary financing of politicians who are pressured by Koch advocacy organizations to champion the policies developed using Fink’s model.

Many reporters have come to realize the significance of this document. The Structure of Social Change was described in detail and context by Will Lennon for OpenSecrets and Ben Jervey for DeSmog. Several articles by Alex Kotch have included the plan (examples here, here, and here). The plan was briefly mentioned in Jane Mayer’s seminal 2010 investigation into the Koch political network for The New Yorker.

The document is cited in several books, including The Machine by Lee Fang (2013), Sons of Wichita by Daniel Schulman (2014), Dark Money by Jane Mayer (2016), and Poison Tea by Jeff Nesbit (2016).

The Structure of Social Change is included in training materials compiled by the Institute for Humane Studies, of which Fink was a longtime director, and Charles Koch remains chairman (as of 2019). The IHS has received almost $35 million from Koch foundations since 2005, and it is hosted by George Mason University, which has received over $85 million from Koch foundations since 2005.