an ongoing ramble
Oh, the incorporate me.
The ‘corporation’ as it has been recreated in modern business and law represents a large portion of our current problem and a significant cause thereof.
Oddly, interestingly, and contrarily, under our code of laws, you may not own a person. That is known as slavery. Yet you may own a corporation, or shares in a corporation, just as you may own a car or a house. However, a car is not currently entitled to vote. Nor a house. Nor a corporation, per se. A person is. A corporation is property. It can be sold. But according to the authorities, a corporation is a person . . . Got that. If you don’t it’s because you are not a sophisticated thinker—i.e., its your own fault. Most importantly, and included in this status as a human being, a corporation has limited liability. Now, if you run out of money, or are the cause of a misadventure, you are liable for your debts. If a corporation runs out of money, tough luck. You can read about this case law in many places, and this status has existed in our country for almost two centuries and has been upheld by no less than the Supreme Court of the United States in 1819 (Dartmouth College vs. Woodward), or here http://www.oyez.org/cases/1792-1850/1818/1818_0/.
Some very smart people I know, and others that I have read, believe that a corporation has standing under the law as a person. A corporation is a person, they insist. Take their word for it. It’s true. Settled science. Which fact only begins to explain why we are in the fix we’re in. Much of modern business around the world is built upon this single rotted footing in the tides. And these are high stakes, amounting to untold trillions. There will be no allowance for dispute. Any disagreement with this notion is thus dismissed out of hand, in much the same way that a pure Marxist assumes any notion of personal property to be absurd.
If you want to know why a corporation has more rights than a person, you now have the beginnings of it. It’s a lengthy subject. But note: there is no aspect of the United States Constitution in the decision of those Justices. Just as corporations are not mentioned in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights or the Declaration of Independence for that matter, and have not shed their blood in the wars to preserve this nation. Inherent in the decision of the court, however, is a preservation of rather primitive communal rights and the priority of some members of society over others. A medieval vestige. And most dangerously, the 1819 case is an early instance of the Supreme Court essentially writing new law, which is supposedly a function of Congress. But that is commonplace these days. Congress is, of course, an elected branch of government and responsible to the citizens for its foolishness. The Supreme Court is neither.
The naysayers will protest that without the limited liability of corporations, we would not have the fruits of progress we enjoy . . . Perhaps. Yes. Probably so. Everything has a cost. Like the relegation of the individual human being to a cog in the corporate weal, or the rampant pollution caused by limited liability, or the abuse of the ‘public’ land, as well as eminent domain. Courts may redress a small portion of this damage after the fact, but the beneficiary is seldom the same human being who was poisoned, put out of work, suffered the lost personal property, or had their lives ruined and dreams despoiled. And always note, it is the government itself that always benefits most from these cases and thus enlarged by the bureaucracy installed to oversee the distribution of confiscated treasure.
To the Supreme Court we owe the taking of the American West from its previous owners by a violent form of eminent domain, and the preservation of slavery by Federal law, until half a million of our people died in the course of putting an end it. The Supreme Court is responsible for many such tragedies. And they are still at it. Important to me here is that the Supreme Court is itself a vestige—of oligarchy.