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Are Corporations More than People?

To the Thinkers:

In some recent popular culture discussions thrown in our face by a gilded presidential candidate and other apologists, we have been forced to consider the difficult and perplexing conundrum that corporations are people too.

But everywhere you look there are so many examples of how corporations are more than people. Every time you here some pundit talk about ‘special interests’ there is a 4 in 5 chance they are referring to corporations. When they talk about our lugubrious tax code, sixty percent of the weight in that awful document can only be touched by corporations … and for their substantial economic benefit. When head counts of evil lobbyists are taken, way over half of them are probably mostly representing corporations. Under any of these and many more measures, corporations are more than people!

In the end we need to think back on an interesting documentary film based on an expansive book, The Corporation, that while approaching the concept of ‘corporations are people’ with extreme prejudice, is it not the most appropriate way deal with them? As some concluding points in the book and film focused on the nature of corporations, Consider this offered checklist …

“Callous disregard for the feelings of others. Check.

Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships. Check.

Reckless disregard for the safety of others. Check.

Deceitfulness: repeated lying and conniving others for profit. Check.

Incapacity to experience guilt. Check.

Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors. Check.

Result? Corporations are Psychopaths.”

And if that is the case, should we allow them to run amongst us in a state where they are more than us? Is there a way not to allow them in since they certainly have their camel-like noses way under our tents?

But most importantly, is there anything we can do about it or should we do anything about it since they do offer us things like jobs?

As usual I will try to pick through the many possible points to focus our discussion, the above maybe being the best place to focus.

Whatever your position in these considerations, please consider coming on June 17 so we can think through this stuff … thinkingly as usual.

Dale Friedley
Head Whatever

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    • Bharat P.

      The Atlantic July Issue has a nice Article " Stop spoiling the Shareholders"- Shareholder Value Dumbest idea in the World Quote by Jack Welch.( Not mine)

      June 18, 2013

  • Evelyn

    Good, wide-ranging discussion!

    June 18, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I look forward to meeting you at another meetup, Eileen. I enjoyed my first meeting very much but will have to prepare for future meetings and try harder at not talking so much!

    June 18, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Ditto on meeting you next time, Summer.

      June 18, 2013

  • Scooter D.

    Great discussion, interesting subject

    June 17, 2013

  • Karen A.

    Dale, Thanks for generating interesting topics and providing the research for a starting point.

    June 17, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I am sorry I'm missing this as well. Online training for work came up. Bummer

    June 17, 2013

  • Eileen

    Sorry I missed it. Okay.....have to admit it. My GPS led me astray. I ended up on Lowry Court instead of Lowell.

    June 17, 2013

    • A. Colin F.

      Sociopathic Corporations Megalomaniacs hide in the shrouds of corporations. The Supreme Court decision of 1866 conferred the same rights of individuals to inherently sociopathic corporations such as railroads. Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, 118 U.S. 394, was instrumental in laying the foundation for modern laws regarding corporate personhood, ruling that the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment granted constitutional protections to corporations as well as to natural persons! The Green Party, the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and former Vice-President Al Gore are among those who have objected to the idea of corporate personhood. Their objections focus on constitutional protections granted to corporations, including claims of a Constitutional right to contribute to political campaigns. Gore argues that the 1886 Southern Pacific decision entrenched the 'monopolies in commerce' that Thomas Jefferson wanted to prohibit.

      1 · June 17, 2013

  • A. Colin F.

    dinner with family, sorry

    June 17, 2013

  • penelope

    have to work till ten at work

    June 17, 2013

  • Katherine S.

    Got comps this week.

    June 12, 2013

  • Trude D.

    Remember Occupy? They're still occupying, emphasizing local economic and civic justice issues. They've started a news and action website,www.PopularResistance.org. If the corporate purchase of federal and state legislators at the expense of the middle class is an important issue for you, put your thoughts into action.

    1 · May 31, 2013

  • Trude D.

    This topic does not merit the quality of this group's thinking.

    April 18, 2013

    • A. Colin F.

      should we tackle string theory and 11 dimensions instead?

      May 23, 2013

  • A. Colin F.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/hbsworkingknowledge/2013/02/22/what-capitalists-should-know-about-state-owned-enterprises/

    • The form of state capitalism prevailing in the twenty-first century is different from that observed in the second half of the twentieth century.
    • Governments, particularly in emerging markets, have justified the rise of such forms of hybrid capitalism as a way to solve market failures. Private companies, in contrast, see the rise of new state-owned enterprises, firms with minority government ownership, and private companies backed by loans of development banks as threats.
    • Whether forms of state capitalism are regarded as benign or pernicious, very little has been known about these new forms of government intervention. Questions remain about the various institutional mechanisms by which states exercise control, why state capitalism reemerged and in which form, and its effects on both firm performance and state governance.

    http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/7020.html

    April 18, 2013

  • A. Colin F.

    Is fascism on the rise? State Owned Corporations are flourishing.
    Government corporations by industry field and country
    The list is incomplete, but so far the US is most like Canada, France, Australia, Brazil, Iceland, Japan and Peru

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government-owned_corporation

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/10/world/asia/state-enterprises-pose-test-for-chinas-new-leaders.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
    http://www.economist.com/node/21564274

    What they found is that while the number of state-owned firms has decreased overall, the number of truly important state-run companies, such as oil and telecom firms, has remained steady. Moreover, while private companies may work well in countries with well-developed capital markets, countries without a robust sector for private investment can actually benefit from state investments, providing certain conditions are met.

    April 18, 2013

  • A. Colin F.

    The Founding generations distrusted corporations with a passion. That’s why corporations were regulated rather harshly compared to the pampering Republicans give them today. Corporations were limited to an existence of 20-30 years and could only deal in one commodity. They could not hold stock in other companies, and their property holdings were limited to what they needed to accomplish their business goals. Perhaps the most important facet of all this is that most states in the early days of the nation had laws on the books that made any political contribution by corporations a criminal offense.

    http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/09/02/founding-fathers/

    April 18, 2013

  • A. Colin F.

    One of the biggest threats facing humanity today is the sociopathic actions of US, Chinese and Arab corporatism. Four of the world’s largest corporations are owned by the Chinese government. That is not communal. It is fascism. State owned and influenced corporations are NOT concerned with solving the world’s problems unless the situation becomes so dire that unusual and unfair profits can be made. The Supreme Court railroad decision of 1866 conferring the same rights of individuals to inherently sociopathic corporations was a grave error of justice and should be reversed.

    April 18, 2013

  • A. Colin F.

    Corporations are NOT people. Corporate personhood is an oxymoronic. Most institutions are sociopathic organisms. They are inherently devoid “of a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.”

    April 18, 2013

  • Brent

    More what?

    April 18, 2013

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