So just what are these corporate beings tightening their grip on world power? And how do they operate?
A corporation is defined as a legal entity which has a separate legal personality from its members; it is legally awarded the rights of an individual: to sue, to own property, to sign contracts. However, unlike an individual, these entities also possess three important legal characteristics:
- transferable shares – ownership may change without affecting legal status
- limited liability – shareholders’ potential losses for the corporation’s debts and obligations may not exceed their personal contribution paid for shares
- perpetual lifetime – the assets and structure of the corporation exist beyond the lifetime of any of its shareholders.
Please read those once more and consider their meaning.
These corporations are legally considered to be people, with all the rights of citizens but few of the moral restrictions; plus, with a perpetual lifetime, they can go on forever. Their only concern is to increase profits for the owners, which often has adverse effects on the environment and the community.
The history books are full of incidents of corporate greed and exploitation. Corporations hurt workers of the community with layoffs, outsourcing, union-busting, and sweatshops abroad. They harm consumers with dangerous products, toxic waste, pollution, and synthetic chemicals. They wrong animals with habitat destruction, factory farming, and animal testing. And they damage the earth with carbon dioxide emissions, oil spills, water pollution, and nuclear waste.
In a globalized world of interconnected foreign markets, governments are rendered powerless in setting restrictions on these behemoths. In the meantime, these profit-hungry corporations spend enormous amounts of money on lobbying Congress and financing political campaigns to ensure their financial interests are met. As a result, they are continually bailed out by the US taxpayer with government subsidies that limit their risk and ensure profitability. The mechanism is essentially to socialize risk and cost to the taxpayer, while power and profit is privatized to the corporation.