Corporations, Personhood, Personal Responsibility

There is no reason they should have it both ways.

Photo by Chris LeBoutillier on Unsplash

Corporations have been granted the status of personhood in the U.S. in at least two important ways. They can sue and they can participate, via monetary contributions, in the political process.

Growing up, I did not have the best of parents or the worst of parents. One lesson that was driven in to great effect is that being a decent human being includes ‘cleaning up your own mess’. I had four siblings and our house was very modest in size, so if that had not been a particular point of emphasis we would have found ourselves living in a sty.

Corporations create messes. Some of their messes are toxic. For some reason, corporations decided that they would not clean up their messes. They and their political sycophants actually get offended when it is suggested that they should.

I don’t understand. Cleaning up our messes is simply part of being a decent person. The owners of businesses want them to have rights and privileges related to personhood, but they insist that they cannot be expected to have a responsibility to act as a decent person would act.

The excuse they have gotten away with using is that it would cost too much for them to clean up their messes. They claim that jobs are on the line.

Passing along costs through prices is an explicit virtue of having a market-based economy. That way, the people who use the product or service pay for it — including all of its costs. Yet, the owners of businesses refuse to acknowledge that virtue when it comes to cleaning up their messes. Then they act like they are being punished if the community as a whole, through our government, forces them to do what they should have done in the first place. As persons, corporations are big, strong, selfish, spoiled children.

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Stephen Yearwood

unaffiliated, non-ideological, unpaid: M.A. in political economy (where philosophy and economics intersect) with a focus in money/distributive justice