ON OUR LAW PAGE: Vi Ransel on the history of the legal fiction of corporate personhood:
There has never been a court – state, federal or supreme – that decided corporations are “persons” rather than “artificial persons.”
And those courts were wise not to have done so, because while such a decision would have secured their place in history, it would also have forced them to explain why a business agreement – with the ability to “live” in perpetuity, that cannot be jailed for breaking the law and does not need to eat, drink or breathe – should be entitled to the same rights as United States citizens. But over the 200 years since our founding, the shareholders of American corporations have succeeded in changing our legal system, turning the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution upside down.
The voice of money, in the form of corporations, allows their shareholders to manipulate the levers of economics and politics from behind the legal fiction that their property, the corporation, is a “person,” entitled to the same rights and protections as living human beings. Groups of large, incorporated businesses own and distribute the means of our existence through their domination of every sector of the marketplace.
Vi’s been busy–she also has a new brief rant on Obama’s Libya policy here.
ON OUR ECONOMICS PAGE: Gary Barkley on corporatism as mirror image of Stalinism:
The many are forced to toil for the benefit of the few. If a corporation is considered too systemically important to the functioning of our society to allow it to fail, citizens would be justified in owning it so that the risks are spread across the entire system and the perversion of private incentives would be eliminated. The mechanism of eminent domain could be called upon, if necessary, but it would be just as easy to mop up a failed company by wiping out the stock- and bondholders who risked failure by investing or lending to irresponsible management that drove their companies into the ground; we could just keep the stock in the Treasury and develop a system to appoint a Board of Directors which would be charged with looking out for the public good.
ON POLITICS & POLICY: Brief comment on the Murder-for-sport courts martial of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.
WHILE YOU’RE AT IT: Take a look at Cory Morningstar’s three-part Methane series on our Science & Technology page.