corporate personhood

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pages: 75 words: 22,220

Occupy by Noam Chomsky


corporate governance, corporate personhood, deindustrialization, Howard Zinn, income inequality, invisible hand, Martin Wolf, Nate Silver, Occupy movement, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, precariat, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, too big to fail, union organizing

Van de Water, “Romney Budget Proposals Would Require Massive Cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, and Other Nondefense Spending,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, revised February 16, 2012. ** Allison Kilkenny, “Report: 26 Arrested at Occupy Foreclosure Auction Blockade January 27, 2012, In These Times. †† Bailey McCann, “Cities, states pass resolutions against corporate personhood,” January 4, 2012, CivSource. ‡‡ Emily Ramshaw and Jay Root, “A New Rick Perry Shows Up to GOP Debate,” The Texas Tribune, October 18, 2011. Occupy Howard Zinn Memorial Lecture Occupy Boston, MA, Dewey Square, October 22, 2011 It’s a little hard to give a Howard Zinn memorial lecture at an Occupy meeting. There are mixed feelings, necessarily, that go along with it.

QUESTIONS FROM OCCUPY BOSTON Regarding fixing political dysfunction in this country, what about enacting a Constitutional amendment to abolish corporate personhood or to get corporate money out of politics? These would be very good things to do, but you can’t do this or anything else unless there is a large, active, popular base. If the Occupy movement was the leading force in the country, you could push many things forward. But remember, most people don’t know that this is happening. Or they may know it is happening, but don’t know what it is. And among those who do know, polls show that there’s a lot of support. That assigns a task. It’s necessary to get out into the country and get people to understand what this is about, and what they can do about it, and what the consequences are of not doing anything about it. Corporate personhood is an important case in point, but pay attention to what it is.

“As preexisting anti-foreclosure organizations and Occupy merge,” wrotes Laura Gottesdeiner in March 2012, “the campaign is spreading to nearly every major city, with front-lawn occupations, eviction defense teams or auction blockades currently underway in Boston, Tampa, Maui, Detroit, Nashville, Birmingham, New York City, Washington D.C., Chicago, Cleveland, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Delaware and cities across California. Chomsky speaks to the many options and opportunities that exist to change the system, and he points to examples in which the movement’s vision has already impacted city council proposals, debates and resolutions, such as the case of New York City Council Resolution 1172, which formally opposes corporate personhood and calls for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to permanently ban it. The resolution creates clear dividing lines between the rights of corporations and the rights of citizens, and it adds to the momentum produced by a growing list of cities—including Los Angeles, Oakland, Albany and Boulder— that have passed similar resolutions.†† Underling Occupy’s success has been its focus on the daily details of organizing.

pages: 537 words: 99,778

Dreaming in Public: Building the Occupy Movement by Amy Lang, Daniel Lang/levitsky


Bay Area Rapid Transit, bonus culture, British Empire, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate personhood, crowdsourcing, David Graeber, deindustrialization, facts on the ground, glass ceiling, housing crisis, Kibera, late capitalism, Naomi Klein, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Port of Oakland, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, Slavoj Žižek, structural adjustment programs, the medium is the message, too big to fail, trade liberalization, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, War on Poverty, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, We are the 99%, white flight, working poor

If, on the other hand, as the movement has grown, GA has become so hyper-bureaucratic that it has effectively stalled effective organization, the Spokes Council model claims to remedy that by giving those who determine where and how we eat or receive mail a separate decision-making structure through which to work, enabling the rest to use GA to consider ‘larger’ ideas, for instance, the constitutional amendment abolishing corporate personhood and overthrowing Citizens United. Regardless, on Friday 28 October a 9/10ths vote (note: not consensus) passed the Spokes Council Model, and there will no longer be nightly GAs at 7pm in Liberty Park. The Bureaucracies of Anarchy Part 2: People Before Process 14 December 2011 Some time in early October I showed up to an OWS organizers’ meeting at 16 Beaver Street. 16 Beaver, like 56 Walker or Charlotte’s Place, is one of these magically anachronistic spaces in lower Manhattan that feel like something out of Patti Smith’s Just Kids – free space for art, activism and organizing, embedded in some of the most expensive real estate in the world.

This was the question, posed by a Unitarian Universalist minister and organizer in Boston, Jason Lydon, while walking from one meeting to another. He, like many, feels being broke, struggling with cashflow and financial uncertainty, as being a different identity than that of being poor. As Occupy Wall Street and then the local Occupy Boston began to gain their legs and solidify their place in the public discourse, so too did an analysis. Corporate personhood, bank bailouts, executive bonuses and general Wall Street excess at the expense of democracy were at the top of the list of grievances. Personal stories have been told: stories of unemployment lasting two or more years, home foreclosures, bankruptcy due to medical expenses, untenable student loan debts and more. These are the stories of people for whom the promise of security was broken.

Economic inequality is better represented in the US by looking at the 10% at the top versus the bottom 20%. Moving beyond individual interests to a collective understanding of shared interests for economic justice. Protecting and improving social safety net and entitlement programs such as unemployment insurance, food stamps, foreclosure protection and other social safety net programs, needs to be the context in which other demands such as financial industry regulation and an end to corporate personhood are placed. Messaging and tactics deployed against direct attacks to the social safety net that hit poor communities the hardest, with that distinctive Occupy analysis that ties economic hardship to big finance, could be powerful. A move in this direction would also create an opening for solutions to immediate needs of people now and in the long term. There is a history worth noting in the US of social movements winning demands that aid those in the middle more so as to relieve the pressure and slow the movement.

Hopes and Prospects by Noam Chomsky


Albert Einstein, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, colonial rule, corporate personhood, Credit Default Swap, cuban missile crisis, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deskilling,, energy security, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Firefox, Howard Zinn, Hyman Minsky, invisible hand, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, moral hazard, new economy, nuremberg principles, open borders, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, structural adjustment programs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus

As noted above, by the early twentieth century legal theorists and courts were coming consistently to adopt and implement the Court’s 1886 (Santa Clara) principle that these “collectivist legal entities” have the same rights as persons of flesh and blood,50 rights since expanded far beyond those of persons, notably by the mislabeled “free trade agreements.” The conception of corporate personhood evolved alongside the shift of power from shareholders to managers, and finally to the doctrine that “the powers of the board of directors…are identical with the powers of the corporation.”51 As corporate personhood and managerial independence were becoming established in law, the control of corporate management of the economy had reached the stage that elicited Woodrow Wilson’s description of the “very different America” that was taking shape, cited above. Corporate control over the political system has now been given even greater scope by the Roberts Court, another triumph for George W.

., 12, 45 Afghanistan and, 263–64 Arabs and, 192–93 Axis of Evil speech, 138 “democracy promotion” and, 42, 44–46, 66, 143, 144 economic policies, 64 Europe and, 170 expansion of military capacity under, 136 Hamas and, 147 Iraq and, 23, 24, 42–44, 140, 141 North Korea and, 138, 139 on “Palestinian state,” 178, 186 preventive war doctrine, 23 (See also Bush doctrine) Syria and, 144 Tony Blair and, 170 torture and, 260 Venezuela and, 66 “vision,” 203 Bush doctrine, 23, 24, 42, 51, 239 Butler, Lee, 165 Calderón, Felipe, 216 Cambodia, 312n15 Camp David 2000 Summit, 179, 225 Canada, 69, 243 Canova, Tim, 221 capital investment and productivity, 76 Carothers, Thomas, 45, 270–71 Carriles, Luis Posada, 51 Carter, Jimmy, 41, 62, 254, 302n23 Castro, Fidel, 51–53 Caterpillar, 217–18 Catholic Church, history of, 272–74 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) “torture paradigm,” 260, 262, 264 Chang, Ha-Joon, 72, 91 Chávez, Hugo, 98, 100, 141, 142 Chellaney, Brahma, 167–68 Cheney, Dick, 259, 260, 266 Chile, 92–93, 116 China, 69, 78, 114 Christianity, history of, 272–74 Cirincione, Joseph, 135 Citigroup/Citicorp, 219–20 civilians, responsibility to protect, 20 climate change, 95, 111, 217, 232 Clinton, Bill, 24, 168, 171, 179, 180, 187, 223 Haiti and, 11 Iraq and, 128, 129 NATO and, 136 Operation Gatekeeper, 29 torture and, 262 Clinton, Hillary Rodham, 186, 189, 225, 226 Clinton doctrine, 24 Clive, Robert, 14 cocaine, 215 Cochabamba, 104 Cohen, Roger, 21 Cold War, 37 Colombia, 58–59, 215 colonialism, 14–15, 17, 22. See also imperialism; specific topics Columbus, Christopher, 3, 18–19 “Convergence program” and “Convergence plus,” 180–81, 203 Cooper, Helene, 137 cooperative security location (CSL), 58–59 corporate law, 30–31 corporate personhood debate, 31–35 corporations, nature of, 30–31 Correa, Rafael, 57 “crisis of democracy,” 98 Crocker, Ryan, 132 Cuba, 14, 22, 49–53 economic warfare against, 51–53, 55 Guantánamo Bay and, 31 Haiti and, 14 Henry Cabot Lodge and, 22 Spain and, 14, 22, 50 U.S. diplomacy with, 136 U.S. intervention in 1898, 14, 22–23, 50, 136 Cuban Five, 51 Cuba-Venezuela relations, 69–70 Cumings, Bruce, 138, 139 Dahlan, Muhammad, 147, 148 Davidson, Basil, 81 Day of Mourning in Panama, 134 Dayan, Moshe, 148–49, 160, 186 Dayton, Keith, 201, 202 Declaration of Principles for U.S. and Iraqi governments, 140 “defense industrial base,” 277.

See “American exceptionalism” Fall, Bernard, 122 Fayyad, Salam, 253–54 Federal Reserve Board, 113 Feldman, Noah, 52 Felix, David, 71, 83, 107, 219 Ferguson, Thomas, 32, 108, 208 financial crises, 93, 107, 108, 207, 228 deregulation and, 219 financial liberalization and, 105, 108 recent and current, 63, 73, 109, 110, 212–13, 217, 221–22, 226 Savings & Loan crisis, 211 See also housing bubble financial institutions, 92, 107–11, 113, 209, 228 Charles Schumer and, 221 China as model for, 114 Glass-Steagall Act and, 219 globalization and, 35, 73 Haiti and, 10 recent bailouts of, 105, 219–21 Timothy Geithner and, 221 financial instruments, 220, 221 financial liberalization, 72, 93, 97–98, 105, 107, 108, 111, 114 financial sector, 93, 107, 110–11 financial liberalization and the power of, 212 Iran and, 174 Joe Biden and, 216 Obama and, 212, 228–29 Patriot Act and, 174 financialization of the economy, 34, 79, 93, 94, 97, 231 Fites, Donald, 218 Florida, 23, 24, 49, 51 Fourteen Points (Woodrow Wilson), 48 Framework Agreement of 1994, 138 France, 80 Franklin, Bruce, 56 Franks, Tommy, 57 Fraser, Doug, 218 free speech, corporate personhood and, 32–34 “free trade,” 6, 37, 78, 93 criticism of the term, 90 drug trade and, 78–79 “free circulation of labor” and, 29 vs. protectionism, 6, 76–78, 80, 81, 89, 211 Reagan and, 12 slavery and, 78, 79 See also neoliberalism “free trade agreements,” 31, 90–91, 93, 103–4 monopoly pricing rights in, 86 national security exemptions in, 86 See also North American Free Trade Agreement freedom of association, 208 Freeman, Chas, 171 French colonies, 7.

pages: 284 words: 92,387

The Democracy Project: A History, a Crisis, a Movement by David Graeber


Bretton Woods, British Empire, corporate personhood, David Graeber, deindustrialization, dumpster diving, East Village, feminist movement, financial innovation, George Gilder, Lao Tzu, late fees, Occupy movement, payday loans, planetary scale, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ralph Nader, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, unpaid internship, We are the 99%, working poor

They wanted tens of thousands of people to descend on Wall Street, pitch tents, and refuse to leave until the government agreed to one key demand. If there was going to be an assembly, it was going to be beforehand, to determine what exactly that demand was: that Obama establish a committee to reinstate Glass-Steagall (the Depression-era law that had once prevented commercial banks from engaging in market speculation) or a constitutional amendment abolishing corporate personhood, or something else. Colleen pointed out that Adbusters was basically founded by marketing people and their strategy made perfect sense from a marketing perspective: get a catchy slogan, make sure it expresses precisely what you want, then keep hammering away at it. But, she added, is that kind of legibility always a virtue for a social movement? Often the power of a work of art is precisely the fact that you’re not quite sure what it’s trying to say.

By the next day the listserv for our little group was up and all the people who had been at the original meeting started trying to figure out who we were, what we should call ourselves, what we were actually trying to do. Once again, it all started with the question of the one single demand. After throwing out a few initial ideas—Debt cancellation? Abolishing permit laws to legalize freedom of assembly? Abolish corporate personhood?—Matt Presto, who had been with Chris among the first to rally to us at Bowling Green, pretty much put the matter to rest when he pointed out there were really two different sorts of demands. Some were actually achievable, like Adbusters’ suggestion—which had appeared in one of their initial publicity calls—of demanding a commission to consider restoring Glass-Steagall. Maybe a good idea, but was anyone really going to risk brutalization and arrest to get someone to appoint a committee?

It’s interesting to think about what a parallel strategy might look like for Occupy Wall Street: that is, a mode of engagement with the existing political structure that rather than compromising its directly democratic process would actually help foster and develop it. One obvious approach might be an attempt to promote one or more constitutional amendments, which has already been proposed in some quarters: for example, for eliminating money from political campaigns, or an abolition of corporate personhood. There are parallels to that, too: in Ecuador, for example, indigenous groups that mobilized to put a moderate left-of-center economist named Rafael Correa in power insisted, as their expected payback, that they play a major role in writing a new constitution. One could anticipate a lot of problems here, particularly since one is working within the confines of a constitutional structure that was, as noted in the last chapter, largely designed to prevent direct democracy, but if nothing else, it would be far easier to create firewalls in this sort of process than if one was dealing directly with elected officials

The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power by Joel Bakan


Berlin Wall, Cass Sunstein, corporate governance, corporate personhood, corporate social responsibility, energy security, Exxon Valdez, IBM and the Holocaust, joint-stock company, laissez-faire capitalism, market fundamentalism, Naomi Klein, new economy, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, South Sea Bubble, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, urban sprawl

Shareholders had, for all practical purposes, disappeared from the corporations they owned. With shareholders, real people, effectively gone from corporations , the law had to find someone else, some other person, to assume the legal rights and duties firms needed to operate in the economy. That "person" turned out to be the corporation itself. As early as 1793, one corporate scholar outlined the logic of corporate personhood when he defined the corporation as a collection of many individuals united into one body, under a special denomination, having perpetual succession under an artificial form, and vested, by the policy of law, with the capacity of acting, in several respects, as an individual, particularly of taking and granting property, of contracting obligations, and of suing and being sued, of enjoying privileges and immunities in common."

.: First Amendment of, 103 Fourteenth Amendment of, 16 consumer democracy, 143-44, 145-47, 151 consumers, 24, 45-46, 60, 72, 102, 119, 144, 150, 162, 163, 166 children as, 112, 122, 127, 129; see also children's marketing environmental issues and, 146 unsafe products and, 61-65, 73-74, 149 corporate laws, 1-2, 6-16, 28 "best interests of the corporation" principle in, 35-36 charter revocation, 156-58, 161 constituency statutes, 159 corporate "personhood" in, 15-16, 17, 28, 79, 154, 158 English, 6-8, 9, 13, 38-39 limited liability in, 11-13, 79, 154 social responsibility vs., 35-39, 41, 46,57 see also regulatory laws corporate mascots, 26 corporations: amorality of, 53-59, 69, 79, 88-89, 110,134 backlash against, 25-27, 140-43 benevolent, 18-19, 151 church replaced by, 134 definition of, 3 democracy corrupted by, 101-2 devastation as opportunity for, 111, 124-25 dominance of, 5, 21-27, 134, 139-40,153,159 elimination of, 159-60 English banning of, 6-8, 9 exploitation by, 74, 112, 118, 122, 123, 138, 139, 140, 148, 149, 163 as "Frankenstein monsters," 19, 149 as government creations, 153-58, 164 grant theory of, 16 historical development of, 5-21, 153,156 as institutions, 1-3, 28, 50, 56-57, 59,64 as instruments of destruction, 71-73,110 natural entity theory of, 16, 154-55 Nazis assisted by, 87-89 no accountability of, 152 nonprofit, 166 philanthropy of, 30, 31, 45, 47-49 political systems as viewed by, 88-89 profits and, 31, 34, 36, 41, 45, 48, 49, 50,51,52,53,55,57,58,62,69, 88-89 profits and, 31, 34, 36, 41, 45, 48, 49, 50,51,52,53,55,57,58,62,69, 73,82,88-89,101,103,105, 113,117,122,126-27,138,154, 165 psychopathy of, 28, 56-59, 60, 69, 79, 85, 110, 122, 134, 158, 161 public good and, 156, 158 public-purpose, 160-61 "rising tide lifts all boats" principle of, 142-43 and self-interest as human nature, 116-17,134-35,138 self-interest of, 1-2, 28, 37-39, 44-50,58-59,60,61,80,101-2, 105,109-10,117-18,134,142, 149, 156, 160, 161, 167 cost-benefit analysis, 62-65, 79-80, 149-50,152 in oil industry, 82-83 costs: externalized, 61, 62-65, 71-73, 149-50 of social responsibility, 45, 47-48, 49 'creative destruction" toys, 126-27 Croix de Feu, 91 Back Matter Page 1 70 2 NOTES 6.

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Two Nations, Indivisible: A History of Inequality in America: A History of Inequality in America by Jamie Bronstein


Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, blue-collar work, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate personhood, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, ending welfare as we know it, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, Gini coefficient, income inequality, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, labor-force participation, land reform, land tenure, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, mortgage debt, New Urbanism, non-tariff barriers, obamacare, occupational segregation, Occupy movement, oil shock, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price discrimination, race to the bottom, rent control, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, Simon Kuznets, single-payer health, strikebreaker, too big to fail, trade route, transcontinental railway, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, trickle-down economics, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, wage slave, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working poor, Works Progress Administration

Jonathan Lurie, “One Hundred and Twenty-Five Years after Slaughterhouse: Where’s the Beef?” Journal of Supreme Court History vol. 24 no. 3 (2011): 269–281. 9. Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company 118 US 394, decided May 10, 1886, available online at, accessed April 7, 2016. 10. Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, “The History of Corporate Personhood,” Brennan Center for Justice, April 7, 2014, available online at, accessed April 7, 2016. 11. Jacqueline Jones, “Southern Diaspora: Roots of the Northern ‘Underclass,’ ” in Michael B. Katz, ed., The Underclass Debate (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993), 29. 12. James L. Huston, “An Alternative to the Tragic Era: Applying the Virtues of Bureaucracy to the Reconstruction Dilemma,” Civil War History vol. 51 no. 4 (2005): 403–415, at 406. 13.

., 117, 124, 134–135 Calhoun, John, 32 California Life Pension movement, 87–88 Caliver, Ambrose, 84 Carnegie, Andrew, 45–46, 50 Carter, Jimmy, 111–112 Caudill, Harry, 103, 107 Child labor, 64–65 Childcare, 65–66, 103, 110, 115, 125–126 Children, 25, 52, 58–59, 64–66, 102, 115 Christianity, 29, 44, 65, 116, 134–135 Citizens United (2010), 134, 143–144, 147 Civil Rights Act of 1964, 104, 114 Civil War, 33–35, 152 Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), 82, 94 Clay, Henry, 15 Clayton Anti-Trust Act, 62 Clinton, Bill, xvii, 117, 124–130, 132, 135 Clinton, Hillary, 117, 127 Cold War, 97–98, 119, 123, 142, 153 Collectivism, 147–148 Colored Farmers’ Alliance and Cooperative, 43 Community Action Agencies, 105 Congress of Industrial Organizations, 90 Constitution, 2, 8, 37, 114–115, 129 Contract with America, 117, 125 Cook, Noah, 22 Cooke, Jay, 40 Coolidge, Calvin, 75 Cooper, Anna Julia, 66 Corporate personhood, 37, 42, 55, 134, 143–144, 147 Coughlin, Father Charles, 89 Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), 98, 105 Coxey, Jacob Sechler, 54–55 Crummell, Alexander, 71 Croly, Herbert, 67–69 De Tocqueville, Alexis, 19 Debs, Eugene V., 63–64, 74 Declaration of Independence, 2, 5, 16 Deindustrialization, 120–121, 142 Dew, Thomas, 32 Dewey, John, 69, 84–85, 88 Disraeli, Benjamin, ix, 154 Distributive justice, 112–114, 123 Donnelly, Ignatius, 44 Drugs, War on, 117–118, 128–130, 132 Drury, Victor, 50 DuBois, W.

pages: 538 words: 121,670

Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress--And a Plan to Stop It by Lawrence Lessig


asset-backed security, banking crisis, carried interest, cognitive dissonance, corporate personhood, correlation does not imply causation, crony capitalism, David Brooks, Edward Glaeser, Filter Bubble, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, invisible hand, jimmy wales, Martin Wolf, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, place-making, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, upwardly mobile, WikiLeaks, Zipcar

Center for Responsive Politics, available at link #206 (last visited June 21, 2011) (For the 2010 election cycle, independent expenditures totaled $210,912,167. Just four years prior, in 2006, independent expenditures totaled $37,394,589). 43. It is for this reason that I am skeptical of the utility of efforts to try to “reverse” Citizens United by denying corporate personhood. The root problem is an influence that drives representatives away from a focus on “th cocutp:e People alone.” Even if a reform were to achieve the reversal of corporate personhood, that wouldn’t by itself change the existing skew of influence. 44. Of course not all courts are this enlightened. In Miles v. City of Augusta, 710 F.2d 1542 (11th Cir. 1983), the Court refused “to hear a claim that” a talking cat’s First Amendment rights had been infringed, finding the cat not a “person” under the Fourteenth Amendment. 45. 494 US 652, 660 (1990). 46.

pages: 207 words: 52,716

Capitalism 3.0: A Guide to Reclaiming the Commons by Peter Barnes


Albert Einstein, car-free, clean water, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate personhood, corporate social responsibility, dark matter, diversified portfolio,, hypertext link, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, jitney, new economy, patent troll, profit maximization, Ronald Coase, telemarketer, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, War on Poverty, Yogi Berra

See also Ralph Kinney Bennett, “The Great Airwaves Giveaway,” Reader’s Digest, June 1996. 119 “If you steal $10 . . .”: Walter Hickel, Crisis in the Commons: The Alaska Solution (Oakland, Calif.: ICS Press, 2002), p. 217. 120 a handful of corporations: Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (London: Penguin Books, 1982 [originally published 1776]). 121 corporations were persons”: The Supreme Court decision that established corporate personhood was Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, 118 U.S. 394 (1886). 122 Fortune 500 sales: I computed the annual sales of Fortune 500 corporations from data available (for a fee) on Fortune magazine’s website. See http:// 123 “So great has been the change . . .”: John Kenneth Galbraith, The Affluent Society (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1958), p. 2. 124 scarce factor is trees: See 125 capitalism’s stages: I’m pleased to note that ecological economist Herman Daly has a two-stage schema similar to mine.

pages: 258 words: 63,367

Making the Future: The Unipolar Imperial Moment by Noam Chomsky


Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate personhood, deindustrialization, energy security, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Frank Gehry, full employment, Howard Zinn, Joseph Schumpeter, kremlinology, Long Term Capital Management, market fundamentalism, Mikhail Gorbachev, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, precariat, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, structural adjustment programs, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, working poor

In the early twentieth century, legal theorists and courts implemented the court’s 1886 decision that corporations—these “collectivist legal entities”—have the same rights as persons of flesh and blood. This attack on classical liberalism was sharply condemned by the vanishing breed of conservatives. Christopher G. Tiedeman described the principle as “a menace to the liberty of the individual, and to the stability of the American states as popular governments.” In his standard legal history, Morton Horwitz writes that the concept of corporate personhood evolved alongside the shift of power from shareholders to managers, and finally to the doctrine that “the powers of the board of directors . . . are identical with the powers of the corporation.” In later years, corporate rights were expanded far beyond those of persons, notably by the mislabeled “free trade agreements.” Under these agreements, for example, if General Motors establishes a plant in Mexico, it can demand to be treated just like a Mexican business (“national treatment”)—quite unlike a Mexican of flesh and blood who might seek “national treatment” in New York, or even minimal human rights.

Power Systems: Conversations on Global Democratic Uprisings and the New Challenges to U.S. Empire by Noam Chomsky, David Barsamian


affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Chelsea Manning, collective bargaining, colonial rule, corporate personhood, David Brooks, discovery of DNA, double helix, failed state, Howard Zinn, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, inflation targeting, Julian Assange, land reform, Martin Wolf, Mohammed Bouazizi, Naomi Klein, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, quantitative easing, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, single-payer health, sovereign wealth fund, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Tobin tax, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks

On the tactical side, I think a campaign to amend the Constitution could be justified as an educational effort, a way to get people to pay attention to the issue. That’s independent of how long it might take to ratify something like that. If enough people get interested in the issue, they may turn to more radical goals and, I think, more principled ones. Which takes us to the principled issue. I think Citizens United is a very bad decision. However, it’s kind of the icing on the cake. The idea of corporate personhood goes back a century. It wasn’t instituted by Citizens United. And we should be thinking about that. Why should corporations be granted personal rights? By now corporations have rights way beyond persons of flesh and blood. They are immortal, they are protected by state power. In fact, the basis of a corporation is limited liability, meaning as a participant in a corporation you’re not personally liable if it, say, murders tens of thousands of people at Bhopal.

pages: 273 words: 93,419

Let them eat junk: how capitalism creates hunger and obesity by Robert Albritton


Bretton Woods, California gold rush, clean water, collective bargaining, computer age, corporate personhood, deindustrialization, Food sovereignty, Haber-Bosch Process, illegal immigration, immigration reform, invisible hand, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, land reform, late capitalism, means of production, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, price stability, profit maximization, profit motive, South Sea Bubble, the built environment, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, upwardly mobile

Economist (1991) “A survey of America”, October 26. Economist (1993) “A survey of the food industry”, December 4. Economist (1994) “A survey of television”, February 12. Economist (1996) “A survey of living with the car”, June 22. Economist (2000) “A survey of agriculture and technology”, March 25. Economist (2003) “A survey of food”, December 13. Edwards, J. and Morgan, M. (2004) “Abolish corporate personhood”, [online] <>. Eisenitz, G. (1997) Slaughterhouse, New York: Prometheus. Ellis, H. (2007) Planet Chicken, London: Sceptre. Ellwood, W. (2001) The No-Nonsense Guide to Globalization, Toronto: New Internationalist Publications. Engdahl, F. W. (2008) “World Bank Secret Report Confirms Biofuel Cause of World Food Crisis”, Global Research, July 10 [online] <

pages: 366 words: 94,209

Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity by Douglas Rushkoff


3D printing, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, business process, buy low sell high, California gold rush, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, centralized clearinghouse, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate personhood, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, Firefox, Flash crash, full employment, future of work, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global village, Google bus, Howard Rheingold, IBM and the Holocaust, impulse control, income inequality, index fund, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, loss aversion, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, medical bankruptcy, minimum viable product, Naomi Klein, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, passive investing, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, reserve currency, RFID, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, social graph, software patent, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, trade route, transportation-network company, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, unpaid internship, Y Combinator, young professional, Zipcar

That’s the basis of the recent Hobby Lobby case before the Supreme Court, which decided that a corporation’s personhood entitles it to deny aspects of a health plan with which it morally disagrees.5 It’s also the driving force behind the Citizens United case, in which corporations were granted the right to free speech formerly reserved for humans—but not the corresponding limitations on campaign donations. And these cases all trace back to the most hard-fought battle of all, won during Lincoln’s era, of corporate “personhood” itself.6 The objective, true to the corporation’s three other core commands, was to give railway corporations the same rights to land as that of its local human inhabitants. This way, people would no longer be able to object to railways’ seeking right of passage through their towns or property. Of course, the corporation becomes a person only so its primary benefactor—the investor—doesn’t have to have any actual human skin in the game.

Who Rules the World? by Noam Chomsky


Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, corporate governance, corporate personhood, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, Edward Snowden,, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, invisible hand, Malacca Straits, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, nuclear winter, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, precariat, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, Stanislav Petrov, structural adjustment programs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, trade route, union organizing, uranium enrichment, wage slave, WikiLeaks, working-age population

Collingwood, Charles Colombia Colombian Permanent Committee for Human Rights colonialism Columbia Journalism Review Columbus, Christopher Command and Control (Schlosser) Committee on Public Information commons communism Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Congo consent, manufacture of Constantine, Emperor Contras Copenhagen Global Climate Change Summit Corcoran, Paul corporations personhood and Costs of War Project counterinsurgency Counterterrorism Security Group Creveld, Martin van Crimea Crisis of Democracy, The (Crozier) Cruickshank, Paul Cruz, Ted Cuba Bay of Pigs and missile crisis and Cyprus Daily Mail (London) Damascus, Syria Danger and Survival (Bundy) Darwish, Mahmoud Davar Dayan, Moshe Debs, Eugene debt Declaration of Independence defense spending deindustrialization democracy Democratic Party Dempsey, Martin Depression deregulation Dewey, John Dhanapala, Jayantha Diem, Ngo Dinh Diskin, Yuval Dobbs, Michael Dole, Bob Domínguez, Jorge Dorman, William Dostum, Abdul Rashid Dower, John Dreazen, Yochi Dreyfus, Alfred drones Duarte, Sergio due process Dulles, John Foster E1 project East Asia Eastern Europe East Timor Ebadi, Shirin Economic Charter of the Americas economic crises crash of 2008 Economic Policy Institute Ecuador education efficient market hypothesis Egypt Israeli treaty with Israeli war of 1967 Einstein, Albert Eisenhower, Dwight D.

pages: 391 words: 22,799

To Serve God and Wal-Mart: The Making of Christian Free Enterprise by Bethany Moreton


affirmative action, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, big-box store, Bretton Woods, Buckminster Fuller, collective bargaining, corporate personhood, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, estate planning, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Gilder, global village, informal economy, invisible hand, market fundamentalism, Mont Pelerin Society, mortgage tax deduction, Naomi Klein, new economy, New Urbanism, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, price anchoring, Ralph Nader, RFID, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Stewart Brand, strikebreaker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, union organizing, walkable city, Washington Consensus, white flight, Whole Earth Catalog, Works Progress Administration

“I Â�don’t want to be bolshevistic,” wrote one Texan in support of Depression-Â�era antichain legislation, but€“it certainly is no permanent relief or progÂ�ress for the government to create temporary jobs and distribute money and in a few days it all winds up in Chicago or New York City in the hands of a few extremely wealthy men, owners of the chains and utilities.”61 Patman, the leading ConÂ�gresÂ�sional champion of the inÂ�deÂ�penÂ�dent stores, pointed out that while 200 companies controlled more than half the country’s corporate wealth, only eleven of these were based in the West and a mere nine in the South: “‘How a true Texan can favor ownership and control of local€business by Wall Streeters,” he concluded, “I cannot understand.’”62 Members of the Ku Klux Klan in Clarke County, Georgia, railed against the chain owners as a “‘Little Group of Kings in Wall Street’” and warned 21 TO SERVE GOD AND WAL - Â�M ART that Jewish and Catholic immigrants were using the chain to pauperize native-Â�born white ProtÂ�esÂ�tants.63 Employing a metaphor familiar to rural ProtÂ�esÂ�tants, a 1937 novel cast chain stores as evidence of the approaching Apocalypse.64 Even the fundamental myth of corporate personhood came up for debate: contrasting “arÂ�tiÂ�fiÂ�cial beings” like the American Retail Federation to tangible, “honest-Â�to-Â�God citizens,” Patman attacked the premÂ�ise that legal incorporation permitted companies to claim the constitutional protections of private citizens.65 The suspicion of “foreigners” was echoed in charges of shady business practices. Chains demonstrably received better prices from their suppliers than the smaller inÂ�deÂ�penÂ�dent merchants, allowing individual chain stores to undersell their competitors.

pages: 497 words: 123,718

A Game as Old as Empire: The Secret World of Economic Hit Men and the Web of Global Corruption by Steven Hiatt; John Perkins


airline deregulation, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, big-box store, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, centre right, clean water, colonial rule, corporate governance, corporate personhood, deglobalization, deindustrialization, Doha Development Round, energy security, European colonialism, financial deregulation, financial independence, full employment, global village, high net worth, land reform, large denomination, Long Term Capital Management, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, new economy, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, oil shock, Ponzi scheme, race to the bottom, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, statistical model, structural adjustment programs, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transatlantic slave trade, transfer pricing, union organizing, Washington Consensus, working-age population, Yom Kippur War

Four years later, another Pennsylvania township, Porter, challenged the constitutional rights of corporations with passage of an ordinance stating, “Corporations shall not be considered to be ‘persons’ protected by the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.” In June 2006, California’s Humboldt County took this legislation one step farther, passing a resolution that not only directly challenged corporate personhood but also banned all out-of-county corporations from making political contributions in local campaigns. In 2005, Charlevoix Township in Michigan was one of dozens of cities to approve ordinances giving local government the authority to limit the size of big-box stores. That same year, Maryland passed legislation requiring organizations with more than 10,000 employees in the state to spend at least 8 percent of their payroll on health benefits.

pages: 481 words: 125,946

What to Think About Machines That Think: Today's Leading Thinkers on the Age of Machine Intelligence by John Brockman


3D printing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, bitcoin, blockchain, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, constrained optimization, corporate personhood, cosmological principle, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, dark matter, discrete time, Elon Musk, Emanuel Derman, endowment effect, epigenetics, Ernest Rutherford, experimental economics, Flash crash, friendly AI, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, information trail, Internet of things, invention of writing, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, loose coupling, microbiome, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, natural language processing, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, planetary scale, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, RFID, Richard Thaler, Rory Sutherland, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Turing machine, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y2K

Consider that the copies begin to diverge immediately, or that the copy could be intentionally different. In addition to passing the maturity/sanity/humanity test, perhaps the copy needs to pass a reverse Turing Test (a Church-Turing Test?). Rather than demonstrating behavior indistinguishable from that of a human, the goal would be to show behavior distinct from human individuals. (Would the current U.S. two-party system pass such a test?) Perhaps the day of corporate personhood (Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 1819) has finally arrived. We already vote with our wallets. Shifts in purchasing trends result in differential wealth, lobbying, R&D priorities, etc. Perhaps more copies of specific memes, minds, and brains will come to represent the will of We the (hybrid) People of the world. Would such future Darwinian selection lead to disaster or to higher emphasis on humane empathy; aesthetics; elimination of poverty, war, and disease; long-term planning—evading existential threats on even millennial time frames?