Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Only Human

If you’ve never heard of the term “corporate personhood” before, don’t feel bad. It’s not something that is splashed all over the news or taught as part of your average school curriculum. I had never heard the term myself until just a few years ago, and I worked for a corporation for years.

When I did hear it – and learned what it was – I was amazed.

Corporate personhood is the concept that corporations were intended to fully enjoy the legal status and protections created for human beings. In other words, in the eyes of the law, there is no difference between you and General Electric. Or Microsoft. Or Monsanto.

Below is a great article that explains corporate personhood in much more depth if you have the time & desire to read it.

Abolish Corporate Personhood

If not, below is an excerpt from the article that pretty much puts it into its proper perspective:

It is important to remember what a corporation is to understand the implications of corporate personhood for democracy. A corporation is not a real thing; it's a legal fiction, an abstraction.

You can't see or hear or touch or smell a corporation - it's just an idea that people agree to and put into writing. Because legal personhood has been conferred upon an abstraction that can be redefined at will under the law, corporations have become superhumans in our world.

A corporation can live forever. It can change its identity in a day. It can cut off parts of itself - even its head - and actually function better than before. It can also cut off parts of itself and from those parts grow new selves. It can own others of its own kind and it can merge with others of its own kind.

It doesn't need fresh air to breathe or clean water to drink or safe food to eat. It doesn't fear illness or death. It can have simultaneous residence in many different nations. It's not male, female, or even transgendered. Without giving birth it can create children and even parents.

If it's found guilty of a crime, it cannot go to prison.

I would add that it also cannot feel pain, remorse, or compassion. It is incapable of love, has no conscience, and is entirely devoid of any inherent sense of morality or ethics. It does not have the ability to discern good from evil.

And, of course, it really doesn’t care that it can’t do any of that.

There is, in fact, only one thing that a corporation does care about: its own well-being. And despite all of the things that it doesn’t need, there is one thing that is absolutely essential for it’s survival: money.

It must have a continuous – and ever increasing – supply of money in order to “live”.

And since it gets that ever increasing supply of money from us, it is absolutely essential to it’s survival that we consume what it creates – in ever increasing amounts – in order to feed it. That’s why we are called “consumers”, after all, and we’ve done our job well; to the point of going into massive personal (and governmental) debt in order to let nothing interfere with our rate of consumption.

But now imagine what would happen if one of these lifeless, soulless, unfeeling entities saw its very existence threatened; its “food supply” dwindling. To what lengths might it go to ensure its own survival, especially knowing that it can’t go to jail?

Would anything really be out of the question?


henrypduvall said...

right on brother

GAlford said...

A corporation cares only about its well being and often the government removes the fear that should be felt - going broke.