Corporations as vampires

Promoted from a comment by Woody

The problem is that personhood grants corporations all the rights of being a person while giving them none of the responsibilities or penalties. People can be incarcerated or sentenced to death for crimes, corporations can’t. People eventually pass away, and are forced (by death) to pass on their power and/or belongings to others (and pay a tax on the transfer in some cases), while corporations live forever.

At best corporations should have a smaller, lesser sets of rights, tailored to meet the state of being they represent. That set of rights should take into account the fact that they’re effectively immortal, and can’t be punished via incarceration. If vampires were real, I’m sure we’d have a separate set of rights and penalties for the immortal undead than we do for living mortals. And when you think of it, how is a corporation any different than a vampire?


  1. A corporation by definition lacks the capacity for moral judgement. It is generally formed for one purpose only: to maximize profits. And while the officers of the corporation DO have the capacity for moral judgement, they are responsible primarily to the corporation’s shareholders, and only on the basis of whether or not they maximized profits.

    Even political nonprofit corporations lack the capacity for morality– the officers are held to one standard only: to advance the agenda. Whether it’s pro-gun or anti-gun, pro-abortion or anti-abortion, too many lie and cheat in the name of an agenda they deem righteous. (Remember the stats on guns in Mexico? Gun proponents and opponents were both shouting made-up numbers.)

    Whether a vampire has the capacity for moral judgement or not I can’t say– it seems to depend on the author.

    A corporation by definition cannot practice morality, and the punishments available are limited to fines, affecting only profitability. How then can it be expected to handle its rights responsibly? How can there be any separation between what is legal and what is right?

    On that basis, the rights of corporations should be severely limited– they ought, for example, to have no freedom of political speech (as distinguished from commercial speech). Remember Anderson’s shredding parties? Even the protection from search and seizure without due process ought to be more limited (noting of course that every employee’s home and person IS protected).

    The implications of repealing corporate personhood and limiting political speech would be huge and far-reaching. Not only bankers and manufacturers and lobbyists and the NRA would lose their voice: so would unions and charities and universities and the Brady Foundation. But while this would silence a few important pro-people voices, the corporations have much more leverage than they do anyway.

    Let’s bring it back to people, who experience the problem of having to sleep at night– something a corporation never will.

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