A world without corporations
The founders prohibited corporations by common consent. They didn’t realize their understanding would be eroded by time.
America was built with a tight reign on corporations. The abuses and crimes of the British East India Company were in the forefront of our founding fathers’ minds. (This corporation’s tea was at the heart of the Boston Tea Party.)
See the free book Gangs of America, by Ted Nace. For most of America’s first century, corporations were on a tight leash. Corporations were chartered by states only for specific purposes and only for finite amount of times. They were not independent entities. They had no rights except the ones granted by their charters. None was allowed to change its name or purpose. None could own stock in another corporation much less merge with or purchase one.
This wisdom was carried out for decades in the culture of America and in practice. Corporations were chartered by states only for specific purposes by states. In the 1700’s, everyone was well aware of the dangers of corporations. They never anticipated that they would forget. They never codified this wisdom into law.
Corporations were Unleashed after the Civil War
The civil war was a tragic distraction. At the end of it, Americans had dim memories of the dangers of corporations. A few men asked for a bit more freedom for corporations and a few states complied. With their new powers, they were soon able to dominate markets, starting with the railroads. For more details, see this post about their history.
Since then, all sorts of corporations, and the people who became wealthy from them, have worked hard to influence politics. They’ve bribed. Some have threatened representatives and officials. Many buy media and ads at a rate that subverts elections.
Corporations are powerful actors with no ethics
Americas founders built a country in which American corporations were tightly controlled. Since then, they’ve become forces that dominate much of the world, including American politics.
Corporations have no ethics. Some CEOs are very ethical. Many companies have ethical missions. But these can be discarded easily, and are broken without punishment. While there’s a new kind of corporation, a “benefit corporation” that has ethics built into its charter, traditional corporations are legally liable only for the creation of wealth for their owners. There is nothing in the law that says they should benefit employees or customers, nor society.
Right now, you have no say about whether this is right or not. Corporate money works hard to control your politicians and the parties. It succeeds in many ways.
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