Do People Even Understand Why Corporations are Treated as Persons?

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posted on Mar, 13 2012 @ 11:35 PM
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I just cannot take it anymore. Too many people do not understand why corporations should be treated as a "person". The creation of the corporation as it's own entity is one of the most important laws in history and it led to the creation of the modern world. If it was not for the creation of the legal entity known as a corporation we would not have computers or the internet or cars or hospitals. The creation of a corporation allows people to gather together, invest together and create something bigger than anyone could do on their own. The problem is not corporate person-hood, the problem is with the rules under which they are now allowed to run themselves. Investors do not have sufficient input on the decisions of the corporation and are not concerned with anything other than the stock value while the CEOs are rewarded for bad performance so long as the stock increases. There are ways around both of these problems and it would also stabilize the market.

Firstly, we need to base CEO salaries on profits and not on stock values. Secondly, we should only allow people to make stock trades once a year, this will have many benefits and decrease the effect of day trading on stock values. Stock values should be based on the profitability of a company, that is an incentive to do well. Finally, corporations should not be allowed to contribute to politicians or their campaigns and neither should unions, the individuals working in either have the right to contribute as citizens. My thoughts, anyways, we need corporations to be allowed to be corporations in the ways that work for society.




posted on Mar, 13 2012 @ 11:45 PM
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Originally posted by AQuestion
I just cannot take it anymore. Too many people do not understand why corporations should be treated as a "person".


You seem to have forgotten to show why treating a corporation as a person is important.



posted on Mar, 13 2012 @ 11:53 PM
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reply to post by satron
 


Dear satron,

When an entity that we refer to as a corporation is created, it allows the organization to limit it's losses to the corporate investment and assets rather than making everyone who invests (owns) the company at risk for all that they personally own. I might have ten thousand dollars to invest in a new venture; but, if it puts everything at risk that I own then I am very unlikely to invest in anything.



posted on Mar, 13 2012 @ 11:54 PM
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The problem is not corporate person-hood, the problem is with the rules under which they are now allowed to run themselves


Yes the problem is corporate personhood. It is corrupt, immoral, inhuman, unconstitutional and unbelievably stupid and dangerous.

We will all be slaves within 50 years if personhood isn't stopped soon.



posted on Mar, 14 2012 @ 12:00 AM
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I always thought that Ambrose Bierce summed it up nicely...
"Corporation, n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility."
Of course this was long before Intelligence Agencies, Biowarfare, and outsourced sweat shops, but that's progress for you.



posted on Mar, 14 2012 @ 12:01 AM
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Originally posted by AQuestion
reply to post by satron
 


Dear satron,

When an entity that we refer to as a corporation is created, it allows the organization to limit it's losses to the corporate investment and assets rather than making everyone who invests (owns) the company at risk for all that they personally own. I might have ten thousand dollars to invest in a new venture; but, if it puts everything at risk that I own then I am very unlikely to invest in anything.


List some more reasons, I'd like to hear it. You've got me hooked.
edit on 14-3-2012 by satron because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 14 2012 @ 12:05 AM
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reply to post by AQuestion
 


Its not necessarily the 'personhood' part people disagree with. Its why the Court decided that personhood status leads to the conclusion they should be able to make unlimited contributions to elected representatives of human individuals, not legal, abstract entities.

But i see you have a problem witht that too, sooooooo....



posted on Mar, 14 2012 @ 12:10 AM
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Originally posted by CB328



The problem is not corporate person-hood, the problem is with the rules under which they are now allowed to run themselves


Yes the problem is corporate personhood. It is corrupt, immoral, inhuman, unconstitutional and unbelievably stupid and dangerous.

We will all be slaves within 50 years if personhood isn't stopped soon.


Dear CB238,

Please be specific, rather than make a generalization discuss which aspects should or should not apply to corporations? In what ways is corporate person-hood "corrupt, immoral, inhuman" or any of the rest apply to what I wrote?



posted on Mar, 14 2012 @ 12:13 AM
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reply to post by satron
 


He is just making a point about why corporations have legal personhood. They are even taxed directly, unlike partnerships and small business-corporations in which the shareholders/partners are directly responsible to pay taxes on their share of the net income. If you dont believein corporate personhood, then you dont believe in corporations.

He also explained in the OP that he doesnt think they should be able to contribute to polititians....if that is what you're trying to get at.



posted on Mar, 14 2012 @ 12:14 AM
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Originally posted by nunya13
reply to post by AQuestion
 


Its not necessarily the 'personhood' part people disagree with. Its why the Court decided that personhood status leads to the conclusion they should be able to make unlimited contributions to elected representatives of human individuals, not legal, abstract entities.

But i see you have a problem witht that too, sooooooo....


Dear nunya13,

And that is my point, why throw the baby out with the bath water? We need to return to rationality rather than slide further and further into making over-generalizations and poorly thought out answers to complex issues. I personally would not allow corporations or unions make ANY contributions to political campaigns, they have enough employees that have the same interests.



posted on Mar, 14 2012 @ 12:21 AM
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reply to post by satron
 


Dear satron,

I do hope you are being sincere and I will answer as if you are. I deal with many corporations and some are individually owned. One company that I deal with was worth approximately $1 billion and was owned by one person completely, no stock. The company has about 1,000 employees and the owner died, he was a friend of mine (and no, I have no money). When the owner died all the companies and organizations that dealt with it were not sure if it would continue which caused much confusion. Fortunately, it did continue; but, it could have been vastly different and negatively impacted many. The creation of the corporation allows business entities to make long term plans rather than base all plans on the life expectancy of the owner. Peace.



posted on Mar, 14 2012 @ 12:22 AM
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Originally posted by nunya13
reply to post by satron
 


He is just making a point about why corporations have legal personhood. They are even taxed directly, unlike partnerships and small business-corporations in which the shareholders/partners are directly responsible to pay taxes on their share of the net income. If you dont believein corporate personhood, then you dont believe in corporations.

He also explained in the OP that he doesnt think they should be able to contribute to polititians....if that is what you're trying to get at.


I was just pointing out that I felt there was a lack of substantiation to the claim that personhood for corporations was a good thing. It's kind of silly to say something is true without something to back it up, especially for an OP. And I want to hear it, as I'm interested.



posted on Mar, 14 2012 @ 12:30 AM
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i have no respect for the supreme court that made this ruling. corporations are not human...period...why is that so hard to figure out? where has reason gone? why should this even be explained? it's nonsense.
the republicans that now control the supreme court should be impeached for making this ruling. they must have been bought off, threatened with their life, or are just plain stupid.

edit on 14-3-2012 by jimmyx because: spelling



posted on Mar, 14 2012 @ 12:38 AM
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My biggest issue with corporate personhood is that it allows bad behavior to go unchecked. The corporation is a "person" that has rights but few responsibilities in that individuals are not held accountable. Felonious crimes are committed by corporations but rarely does anyone go to jail and individual fiscal responsibility is minimized because of the corporate veil. Look at what the bank(er)s have gotten away with.

I don't even necessarily have problems with corporate political donations, as long as direct lobbying is banned.



posted on Mar, 14 2012 @ 12:39 AM
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Originally posted by jimmyx
i have no respect for the supreme court that made this ruling. corporations are not human...period...why is that so hard to figure out? where has reason gone? why should this even be explained? it's nonsense.
the republicans that now control the supreme court should be impeached for making this ruling. they must have been bought off, threatened with their life, or are just plain stupid.

edit on 14-3-2012 by jimmyx because: spelling


Dear jimmyx,

The issue is more fundamental, the question is what rights should we have to organize and when we do organize how much should we be held individually liable for the actions of others. If I lend you $1,000 to buy a hot dog cart, should I be liable for my house if you sell a hot dog that makes someone sick? I know I can lose the $1,000 because the business may fail and I may not get paid back; but, should my house be at risk? That is where corporations being treated as individuals allowed us to advance, I can help you try something new; but, my risk is limited.



posted on Mar, 14 2012 @ 12:39 AM
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I think the bigger problem people have is with the absolution of liability for what would be criminal acts in many ways. While corporations do have certain civil protections, their legal defense teams protect them from acts that extend beyond that, and when people dispute corporate personhood, I think that layer of protection is the target for what is a much larger issue.

I would make the argument that the large corporation actually is harmful to society. I agree with your thesis that without personhood, you wouldn't have such large corporations, but do you think they are really drivers of innovation, or rather just holders of market share? Also, would you think a system with many smaller businesses that would fill the same gaps would work less well?

If there weren't corporations, businesses would be much more likely to be national or local in scope, would be much more circumspect in their community relations and driven more by other concerns besides profit compared to the current status.



posted on Mar, 14 2012 @ 12:52 AM
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reply to post by cassandranova
 


Dear cassandranoval,



I think the bigger problem people have is with the absolution of liability for what would be criminal acts in many ways. While corporations do have certain civil protections, their legal defense teams protect them from acts that extend beyond that, and when people dispute corporate personhood, I think that layer of protection is the target for what is a much larger issue. I would make the argument that the large corporation actually is harmful to society. I agree with your thesis that without personhood, you wouldn't have such large corporations, but do you think they are really drivers of innovation, or rather just holders of market share? Also, would you think a system with many smaller businesses that would fill the same gaps would work less well?


In regards to criminal acts, the corporation doesn't do the act, individuals do. If I work at GM or have stock in them, should I be held accountable for the fact that someone in sales paid for a prostitute to get someone in Germany to buy a GM car? The person committing the act should be held responsible and the company is civilly responsible. Should everyone that owns stock or works for the company go to jail for the acts of one or two?

As to whether or not I believe corporations were the drivers of innovation, name a product that didn't come from a corporation that you have seen in the last three hundred years. Now, just for fun, name me any corporation that has never had a crook work for it? Would you rather have monopolies or corporations with multiple stock holders? We are dealing with many issues and many effects, some good and some bad, the idea is to figure out which is which and which rights to give organizations. My post is about being reasonable rather than over reacting as we tend to do anymore.



posted on Mar, 14 2012 @ 01:05 AM
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You're right that individuals commit the criminal acts, and should be prosecuted as such, and they are.

But, I think you ask the more interesting question about the second part. Should a corporation receive the death penalty for criminal acts committed by individuals? In the event that those acts became corporate policy where the entire entity followed them, even if those participating were unwitting, and these were done knowingly, I think there are times that could be warranted. From the legal perspective, what it would mean is if the liability of a corporation in civil damages exceeded its value, the company would be dissolved, its assets liquidated to pay the claimants, and yes, the jobs would be lost.

It would take a heinous act for me to support that, but I could imagine scenarios.

There have been many situations like Enron where there is a culture of corporate secrecy that justifies irresponsible personal and professsional behaviors for just the reason you say, the good of the company, and it is no better than the logic of countries who pick wars and do nasty things pre-emptively for the good of the people. It's not moral, but it is predictable, and almost a function of being a large size.

There have been plenty of individual inventors. I don't believe Edison would have been incapable of research and discovery without a corporation just to name one.

But, to your point about being reasonable, you're presenting a false choice: there are many more options for organization available besides the joint-stock company and a monopolistic system, and within those options, there are ways of defining corporations that could be more compelling than the current model.

Since you'll probably want an example, I would personally prefer a model where the employees had more of an ownership stake, where accountability was focused more on betterment of the community than profit margins. I do believe while corporations have some good attributes, and I believe some form of legal limitations on liability need to exist to encourage investment, that corporations in general encourage indifference toward people and tend to be dehumanizing toward their employees and customers in search of the purpose for which they exist: to maximize their profits.

With small businesses, at least, I feel I'm less likely to be screwed by someone who has to see me face to face. But when I'm customer 4,562,532, it's hard to imagine I matter unless I cause trouble.



posted on Mar, 14 2012 @ 01:19 AM
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reply to post by cassandranova
 


Dear cassanranoval,



Since you'll probably want an example, I would personally prefer a model where the employees had more of an ownership stake, where accountability was focused more on betterment of the community than profit margins. I do believe while corporations have some good attributes, and I believe some form of legal limitations on liability need to exist to encourage investment, that corporations in general encourage indifference toward people and tend to be dehumanizing toward their employees and customers in search of the purpose for which they exist: to maximize their profits. With small businesses, at least, I feel I'm less likely to be screwed by someone who has to see me face to face. But when I'm customer 4,562,532, it's hard to imagine I matter unless I cause trouble


Lets start with employees having an ownership, they can, they can buy stock in the company and use their pension to do so, that creates a big incentive to make sure that the company is run properly and that your fellow employees are doing their job. I have been accused of being a "collectivist" on previous threads because I believe we have to work together and some might say a industrialist for these posts. I am neither, I am for rationalism. As for small businesses, they pay and promote family and friends rather than innovation.The best family businesses never change and the best businesses are those that adapt to change the best.



posted on Mar, 14 2012 @ 01:31 AM
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I'd argue slightly differently. The best family businesses, those which stay open longest, are those which are most responsive to consumer needs. While certainly nepotisms about hiring, a family business (or any small business) that is ineffectual usually has a small margin for error, and will fail quickly if it mistreats or misreads its client base.

And maybe that's where the question of size comes in. I feel that as a company grows it's emphasis shifts from pleasing the consumer to pleasing the shareholder. The reality of satisfying the consumer is substituted in some cases by marketing. A large company has the latitude to take a hit. And while that allows more opportunity for exploration by the larger firm, the question of whether that is good or not is an open one.

Truthfully, corporations are amoral. They are created to fulfill a function, to make money. I like my companies to have a larger human element than that to ensure that nonmonetary concerns (such as rating risk versus profit) are kept in a better perspective, but I freely admit the corporate system, in theory, allows for the greatest possible exploration of alternatives.

How that manifests itself in reality is why some people are less enthusiastic than you seem to be about corporations. That said, compared to the authoritarian collectivism of the government, at least there are some positive incentives and market forces behind corporations.





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