I suppose that, in the face of Citizens United, demanding that corporations should not be People is now the new fad.
This was never the case with me.
It is simply, Prima Facie (on the face of it), that corporations, which have not an expiration, nor a Corpus Delecti (think, a gravestone), amongst other oddities, do not quite fit the general description of Persons, nor, as a whole, People, who are themselves rather distinct.
It is with this in mind that I do propose a new set of Rules which shall govern corporations. These rules hearken back to the days of the founding of The Dutch East India Company, which was, and still remains, the very first corporation to come into being, way back in the year 1602 Anno Domini. It itself was only chartered originally for 21 years, but quite obviously, things in this regard have gotten very far out of hand.
We, The People, should now exercise our Collective Will to remand these entities and their progeny back into a more manageable state. I have some ideas.
1) Corporations must be chartered. This really sounds obvious, but it is really not so. Today (and only the other day I in fact have done this), corporations can be created by any individual person or entity without limit. They can exist only by the stroke of my (or anyone’s) pen.
This is not the way it used to be.
Corporations used to be created to perform a duty, and would so be regulated by a chartering commission (now the Commerce Division or some such), and could not become chartered unless they were to serve some obvious purpose.
Corporations should be chartered by a body with actual oversight which can rule on whether their charter is valid.
2) Corporations must serve the Public Good. This is another baby which was thrown out with the bathwater.
Corporations, in their original charter, must state for what Public Good they will provide. The Chartering Commission will have due public input to hear the yeas and nays of why and why not the new corporation will or will not serve the Public Good.
It is ultimately up to the People to determine what, if anything, is in the Public Good.
3) Corporations shall exist for a definite amount of time, during which, they shall either perform or not perform, according to their charter, the stated Public Good via which they were originally chartered.
If a corporation fails to perform in the Public Good, according to the dictum set forth in its charter, then the charter and so the corporation’s license to operate, shall be revoked. This extends to that corporations must pay their fair share of taxes and not outsource their labor to foreign countries, but provide work for those in Our Nation.
An annual renewal of all corporate charters should be the litmus test, and that renewal should be held in public, with public approval.
4) Corporations are not a shield for liability, but a “collection of fools” over which that liability is spread.
I could write a number of names of corporations here which would bring up horrific images of disaster to most folk. I will not, but rather I will focus on what can be done to improve corporate liability.
The limited liability which corporations now enjoy should extend only between its members (who are actual People and not other corporations), so as not to exclude any member from liability, so long as that member has any part in the issue from which the liability had originated.
If there was one bad apple in the corporation, and that one apple made the Gulf Oil Spill or Bhupal, then it is solely up to the other members of the corporation to prove their innocence, or, otherwise, the entire “ship of fools” goes down and shares plural personal liability.
This may just be a start. Please tell me what other rules governing corporations which you would like to see. I am very open to popular opinion on this matter.
We are The People — Let Our Love Be The Way!