Take away (or reduce) "personhood" from corporations

Idea#1284

Stage: Active

Campaign: Legal & Policy Challenges

Perhaps the number one problem in the world is the unchecked power of mega-corporations, most commonly involved in the energy, finance, drug, armament, and insurance fields. These entities receive the benefits of being gigantic while they also receive the rights of persons. The Supreme Court has established that the money these giants pay in order to influence politicians is "free speech." The tremendous advantages thus gained allows these behemoths to maintain laws which favor their continued dominance over people and humane values.

Corporations are charged by law to seek profit, and this, along with human greed, has led to soulless profiteering, and extensive damage to humans.

Redefining the rights of corporations, taking away (or reducing) their personhood, will restore the balance of power between Big Business (AKA the ultra-rich) and the middle classes.

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Comments

  1. Comment
    xrxs1020 ( Idea Submitter )

    This idea is important because it goes to the core of our difficulties, as opposed to minor changes on the periphery. The Robber Barons of the early 1900s are still with us, and the reducing of "personhood" will help a lot.

  2. Comment
    carrick.baugh

    Please God. The day I see this error corrected, I will believe in my govt.

  3. Comment
    wolph

    This is of crucial importance. Regarding an artificial entity as a person has certain legal conveniences, whic is fine, but expanding that concept to implicitly grant constitutional rights the same as a natural person to corporations is very wrong. It is a contradiction in terms.

    Corporations exist by virtue of government franchise. Corporations are privileged entities, the officers of which enjoy certain legal immunities that ordinary citizens in the everyday affairs do not enjoy.

    Privilege is the opposite of a right. Rights cannot be regulated or taxed, but privilege is rightly the object of regulation and subject to taxation. The only rights a corporation could legally have would be statutory rights, such as the statutory right to due process of law, but not any natrual rights, which are rights that obtain when one is a natural person.

    Look at it this way: How could the government, which was created by the people to serve the people, create an artificial entity equal in rights to a natural person of the sort that created the government? It could not!

    This change in legal status is probably the most crucial legislation that America needs. Ending the charade of corporate rights would spoil the bankers' agenda of economic enslavement of the people.

  4. Comment
    tttahiti

    I want to rant more, but you guys have said all that really needs to be said. WE NEED THIS!!!

  5. Comment
    dougolat

    Yes, this is crucial.

    For the first hundred years of this nation, corporate charters prohibited harming the public good, or influencing elections. In fact, dealing with British corporations was a large part of the impetus behind the American revolution.

    Alas, the Constitutional Amendments after the Civil War meant to free the slaves were tested for 20 years, in hundreds of court cases, before two were won, and one was misrepresented.

    Now here we are, with corporations richer than countries, owning and controlling most of our media, milking the health-care system, getting massive war profits, making dangerous food products using unsustainable methods, and leaving a toxic mess where ever they can get away with it,

    all the while with three or four dozen lobbiests in DC for every one of our elected officials.

  6. Comment
    xrxs1020 ( Idea Submitter )

    These are all terrific and informed posts. I appreciate them. A kicker to this issue may be the fact that "personhood" was never legal in the first place, and was brought into existence by a law clerk in the late eighteen hundreds. Once in place, the corporations, who knew a good deal when they saw it, gathered like hogs at the trough to feed off the common man, and so has it been every since.

    I'm going to research the specifics of how "personhood" was born. It's an interesting tale. But my memory is foggy presently. I imagine some of you posters know it, however.

  7. Comment
    activistmotivator

    I agree. This is an important issue facing our nation today.

    According to the 2009 Global Corruption Barometer released yesterday, "55% of respondents in high-income countries report it is common for bribes to influence the policy-making process!"

    Is the US Lobby system a form of authorized bribery?

    The Lobby System disenfranchises all citizens by allowing corporations to essentially write or re-write favorable legislature.

    Is this corruption? State Capture by powerful oligopolies?

    Antitrust laws have been severely weakened by these oligopolies monopolistic tactics and by the strength of perpetual corporate immortality and its rights as citizen.

    President Obama must follow through on his promise to reform (remove) the Lobby System that legitimizes corruption and undermines democracy world-wide.

    To possibly re-enact Sherman-Antitrust-Act or Clayton-Antitrust-Act and to definitely repeal corporate personhood.

    More at http://activism101.ning.com/forum/topics/is-it-ok-for-your

  8. Comment
    xrxs1020 ( Idea Submitter )

    Someone asked whether or not it was realistic to think this alteration in person-hood could occur. My answer is that I doubt if it's going to happen soon, but that doesn't make the need for the change any less, nor does it make it less vital that this need be voiced as much as humanly possible.

    Also, it is equally important that election campaigns be publicly financed, so that the ability to garner money doesn't keep our best quality people from aspiring to higher office, and winning based on their talents and character.

  9. Comment
    dougolat

    The history and it's complications are nicely laid out at reclaimdemocracy.org/history and in the book by Thom Hartmann titled "Unequal Protection", and is actually the point made by the documentary movie about Eisenhower's farewell speach, "Why We Fight."

    The Senate health-care hearings were a clear demonstration of whose interests are "at the table". Corporate wealth, and over 3 dozen lobbiests per elected official in Washington D.C. makes mere "real" human beings second class citizens, the ones who need air, water, food, etc.

  10. Comment

    Corporations are designed as (and legislated to be) sociopathic entities. For them to have the ear of politicians and lawmakers over that of actual citizens is absurd. To allow them to do this with more money in hand than any normal citizen could ever have, is so obviously counterintuitive to having a well run government that it boggles the mind.

    In fact since so many answers to many issues on this website are so glaringly obvious, it's hard to not hold the opinion that what we have is what is wanted by those wielding power (and those that fund or threaten them).

  11. Comment
    xrxs1020 ( Idea Submitter )

    Well said, verrry. We share the roughly the same view. It was with this view I voted for Obama, knowing that things could very well be as you state, and knowing there was the possibility, perhaps the likelihood, that Obama would either voluntarily or by coercion cater to the Big Boys. But there was, and is, still HOPE floating around, and I'm not going to conclude cynically that things are hopeless. Yet.