Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Corporations are NOT people! They are 'Conspiricies of Rich Men'

by Len Hart, the Existentialist Cowboy

Real persons are conceived biologically in a womb! There is a word for that process but this short note is not about sex. Corporations, by contrast, are pieces of paper filed with a Sec of State somewhere (probably Delaware). Ergo: a 'corporation' is not and never will be a person.

A 'corporation' has more in common with and is more accurately described/compared to a piece of paper than to real, living biological persons to whom John Locke and, later, the American founders, ascribed 'rights'. NO rights accrue to mere legal abstractions but the 'privileges' that are defined and described specifically in a corporate charter that is prepared in advance by REAL people. Corporations can be constrained, restrained and/or limited by law and several hundred years of precedent.

NO intelligent person believes a 'corporation' is a 'person'. Sir/St Thomas More --arguably the most brilliant confidant of King Henry VIII --most certainly did not believe 'corporations' were 'persons'. More believed, rather, that they were 'conspiracies' and 'conspiracies of crooked rich men' to boot:
"I can perceive nothing but a certain conspiracy of rich men procuring their own commodities under the name and title of the commonwealth.They invent and devise all means and crafts, first how to keep safely, without fear of losing, that they have unjustly gathered together, and next how to hire and abuse the work and labour of the poor for as little money as may be. These devices, when the rich men have decreed to be kept and observed for the commonwealth’s sake, that is to say for the wealth also of the poor people, then they be made laws. But these most wicked and vicious men, when they have by their insatiable covetousness divided among themselves all those things, which would have sufficed all men, yet how far be they from the wealth and felicity of the Utopian commonwealth? Out of the which, in that all the desire of money with the use of thereof is utterly secluded and banished, how great a heap of cares is cut away! How great an occasion of wickedness and mischief is plucked up by the roots!

--Sir/St Thomas More (1478–1535), Utopia, Of the Religions in Utopia"
I suspect that the idea of 'corporate personhood' may have its origins in a misunderstanding, a mis-read of Hobbes'. But the Hobbes Leviathan refers to the 'state' --not to businesses that may be chartered in any way whatsoever by a state. In any case, not even the 'state' Leviathan is considered by Hobbes to have been a single person but, rather, the abstract sovereignty invested in the state by the people as a collective --NOT as a single entity as is the case with personhood. Nor have I found anything in Hobbes that asserts that the 'state' has the power to make 'people' of abstractions whose only raison d'etre is the making of money.

A herd is not a cow! A covey is not a quail. A stamp collection is not a stamp nor is a flock a single sheep. An ant is not a colony, but more to the point, a colony is NOT an ant.


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