posted on Mar, 14 2012 @ 01:05 AM
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.