- Capitalism and Alternatives -

target practice

Posted by: bill on December 07, 1999 at 10:39:38:

In Reply to: blaming the easy targets alone is not the answer posted by Gee on December 06, 1999 at 19:04:42:

: : How many corporations have committed fraud, violated laws, flagrantly abused the environment, etc. Who is to stop them?

: Given that you consider these laws to be the product of corporations in the first place why then do you imagine they would make a law in order to break it?

Because in the First place the original charter laws were created with community input which included civilian control.

A few paragraphs from this site:

While the breadth of sentiment might surprise some, a growing movement uncovering a forgotten part of American history is finding skepticism about corporate power deeply rooted in this country's origins. It's as American as mom, apple pie and the flag. In fact, it was one of the driving forces of the American Revolution. Just remember, the Boston Tea Party was a protest against the monopoly
power of a global corporation, the East India Company

"The colonists did not make a revolution over a tax on tea," writes Richard Grossman, co-director of the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy, and one of the key thinkers in this new movement uncovering the hidden history of corporate law. "Americans fought the Revolutionary War, chiefly to create a nation where citizens were the government and ruled corporations."

Some of those corporations were called North Carolina, Massachusetts, New York and Virginia.

"One of the functions of the revolution was to transform the private stock companies that were the 13 colonies into constitutionalized states, and to get rid of the global corporations like the East India
Company and Hudson's Bay Company that were raping and pillaging the North American continent," Grossman notes. "So there is a precedent of transforming these giant, private corporations into basically public bodies, like our states."

Grossman has taken up a tradition of the Revolutionary Era, pamphleteering, to detail how Americans limited corporate power during the century following the Revolution. In "Taking Care of Business: Citizenship and the Charter of Incorporation," he writes, "When we look at the history of our states, we learn that citizens intentionally defined corporations through charters -- the certificates of incorporation. In exchange for the charter, a corporation was obligated to obey all laws, to serve the common good, and to cause no harm. Early state legislators wrote charter laws and actual charters to limit corporate authority, and to ensure that when a corporation caused harm, they could revoke its charter."

In 1819 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the New Hampshire could not revoke a corporate charter granted to Dartmouth College before the Revolution, Massachusetts legislator David Henshaw said if the American people accepted the ruling, "the Supreme Court will have effected
what the whole power of the British Empire, after eight years of bloody conflict, failed to achieve against our fathers."
A watershed moment came in 1886 when the Supreme Court ruled that corporations possessed the constitutional rights of persons. The impact resounds today. For example, it was the basis of court decisions two decades ago which struck down laws against direct corporate donations to political candidates. Assuming corporations are the equivalent of flesh and blood persons with free speech rights has led to a massive increase in corporate power over the political process.

: You exaggerate the extent to which corporations can buy or bribe laws. Its not as one sided as many socialists appear to think - any criticism should be about the principle behind a given law being broken, rather than about the relative size or influence of particular corporations.

The principles I would uphold above trade "principles" include "First, do no harm" - to people or the environment.

: If, for instance, you decide that the free movement of people and material is a good principle to stand by then you must rail against all laws restricting this -

I'll rail for the people. You can rail if you want for the material.

:... whether they be laws which purport to protect 'big business' from competition or 3rd world import tariffs and ceilings which purport to pretect fledgling and vulnerable populations.

No...because there is a fundamental difference between 'big business' and "fledgling and vulnerable populations". It is a "matter of principle";)

If you think about laws in this way then you realise that you can't have your cake and eat it too - and more over you realise that many interest groups are behind 'bad laws' not just the easy targets of 'big business'

I'll forgo the cake.

: That is the essence of my argument - that just blaming all 'big business' for everything thats wrong with the world is just another wrong itself.

Right...it's not just 'big business'. It's capitalism and anti-democracy.

: : Doesn't the internal logic of capitalism guarantee the generation of these monsters of profit whose control of governments is just "part of doing business"?

: No it doesnt - no part of 'private property' requires by logic or otherwise that it become as you describe - that it has in many cases is well worth exploring and criticising, but just saying 'its inevitable' is to suggest some universal law of nature is in operation.

I wasn't talking about private property as such so much as the process by which private property is accumulated.

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