Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The Shorter Peter Wood

Corporations Never Die:

Corporations are a legal fiction -- a legal "person" that is accorded all the rights of a flesh and blood person. This is good; this is just. Unlike flesh and blood people, however, corporations can have lifespans of well over a hundred years. This, too, is good and just. But to hell with that segment of public opinion that wants a particular corporation to be responsible for actions it took so many years ago -- it's just not fair.

In the words of a wise man, a corporation cannot be a person as it has "no soul to condemn nor posterior to kick". But person it is, thanks to a corrupt Supreme Court decision in the Gilded Age -- the age that the rightwing thinks was heaven on earth, and so wishes us to return to. Corporate personhood is the single most egregious accepted truth in our society. Wood complains that the Wachovia Company is being unfairly maligned because of its slavery connection. Yet if a real person had managed to live as long as Wachovia has, and had a connection to slavery too... well, Wood would probably defend that, as well. But the public wouldn't tolerate it.

The basic point is corporations want all the protections real people enjoy under the law, but none of the responsibilities.