From the May 2007 Idaho Observer:
The Soul of a Corporation
The Soul of a Corporation
We might say corporations have the soul of a lizard, but that would be an insult to the many reptilian creatures on God’s green Earth. Lizards have a place in creation. They are part of the balance of nature. Corporations, as they exist in our current age, are without any apparent sense of natural balance. The short history of corporate conduct in our world evidences that corporations are a feral creature with psychopathic tendencies.
By Hari Heath
In times past, political structures were formed around a person: a king, emperor, or other living person. The "divine right of kings" only began to be challenged some 300-odd years ago. Similarly, business historically had a proprietor or several partners at the top of whatever structure was necessary to conduct the affairs of commerce. Be it politics or commerce, humans in the flesh were the responsible parties at the top of commercial ventures.
An idea is born
America was not the first time in history that a constitutional republic was the basis for human governance. But America’s version of a republic was a radical departure from a long history of sovereignty vested in a royal lineage. "We the People" formed a system of government that, at least in theory, derived its just and limited powers from the "consent of the governed." America began as a chartered enterprise for the purpose of self-government.
As a political enterprise, empowered to manifest certain ideals, the offices of the nation became vested with limited sovereignty and humans in the flesh only temporarily exercised powers and duties of the respective office. The office of government and the ideals of its charter remained in seeming permanence.
The emergence of the industrial age brought with it advances and developments that were not well served by the conventional business structures of the time. To build a major bridge or electrify a city required capital investment and coordination across a wide spectrum of professional disciplines: The corporate structure began to emerge.
Infant idea assumes legal personhood
Originally, corporations were few and limited. A corporation WAS a public grant of authority to operate under specific terms and conditions for a certain purpose. Today, the monster has been unleashed. The modern purpose of a corporation is profit, dominance, profit, acquisition, profit, immunity from liability and responsibility, and in case I forgot to mention it, profit.
The era of the so-called Civil War was quite profitable for the corporations of that time and pivotal to their advancement. The "Reconstruction Era" following the war reconstructed more than the principles and form of our government. The form and function of the corporation was also reconstructed. Corporate lawyers began to plant the idea that corporations were "legal persons" and subject to the rights, privileges and immunities "granted" by the so-called 14th Amendment.
From the original role of incorporation for certain public purposes came railroad and petroleum empires, land grants and an expansion of the 14th Amendment "person" status. Ostensibly intended for the newly emancipated American Negro, the 14th was soon extended to include corporations. Between 1890 and 1910 there were 314 Fourteenth Amendment cases before the Supreme Court. Of the 314 cases, 288 were brought by corporations and 19 by African Americans.
No soul to save
By crafty lawyers and judicial fiat the Supreme Court has enshrined the notion that corporations are legal persons. But as the quote attributed to Baron Thurlow states, "They have no soul to save and they have no body to incarcerate."
The 2003 movie, The Corporation, is a quality compendium of the history of corporations, their effect on our world and the direction we are headed if the corporate model of existence is not changed. The film brilliantly uses the World Health Organization’s Manual of Mental Disorders, Personality Diagnostic Checklist to explain corporate psychopathy:
ÖIncapacity to maintain enduring relationships. The exploitation of impoverished Third World populations is detailed, including how corporations move on, once the people will no longer work for dirt-poor wages.
ÖReckless disregard for the safety of others. The Corporation presents numerous examples of industrial and environmental devastation and the calloused indifference of the corporate perpetrators.
ÖDeceitfulness: repeated lying and conning others for profit. Example after example shows the amoral focus of corporations: profit above all else.
ÖIncapacity to experience guilt. No matter what happens as a result of corporate misconduct; no matter how dire the consequences for others, the pursuit of profit continues.
ÖFailure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors. The movie provides a mind-boggling array of criminal misconduct and the mega-million dollar fines that have been levied against the corporations that presently provide the fabric around which we wrap our lives.
Corporate psychopathy and the "God" complex
The diagnosis? Corporations are psychopathic in nature.
How far will the corporate agenda go? From their beginnings as a benevolent public construct, they soon became a legal person. Their function then changed from providing a public benefit to protecting their operators from liabilities and responsibilities while amassing serious capital to effectuate their soulless will. But the worst is yet to come.
Through patents, trademarks and other "property" mechanisms, much of our present day existence is owned, controlled and provided to us by corporations—at great profit to them! Again with crafty lawyering and a narrow series of decisions spanning from the realms of regulatory interpretation to the Supreme Court, corporations can now patent life forms; a manifestation of the "God" complex.
Terminator seeds make agriculture dependent on corporations. Genetically modified organisms (GMO) alter the very fabric of nature. Viruses and any slightly modified natural substance can now become corporate property. Presently, corporations are diligently mapping the human genome and the DNA of other species so they can lay a patentable claim to YOUR DNA and the essential elements of nature which surround you.
The soulless corporate psychopaths intend to sell you your world under their prime directive—profit, profit, and profit!
The monster has come of age
This article began comparing the parallel political and commercial structures in history with our present ones. But politics and commerce are no longer parallel. The stock market provides the life-blood of capital to corporate entities. Emerging evidence from researchers analyzing CAFRs (Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports) indicate that 60 to 80 per cent of the stock market funds are government investments.
Combine that sobering figure with the fact that the majority of political offices are held by officials who are heavily influenced by corporate campaign contributions and corporate lobbyists.
Factor in the "swivel chair effect" where key administrative agency posts are filled with former and sometimes current corporate officers so that regulations most often reflect corporately preferred policies.
Our oil driven, chemically-dependent, pharmaceutically-obsessed, war torn world is being run by corrupted political office holders whose ruthless (soulless; psychopathic?) behaviors mirror soullessly psychopathic conduct of the corporations with "whom" they are financially vested.
Benito Mussolini, El Duce himself, defined fascism as the union of corporate and governmental interests. Perhaps we should abandon the false notions that we live under either a republic or a democracy. The union of commerce and state under the soulless corporate model leaves us with a new name for our present form of government: Psychopathocracy.
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