A brief political armchair fad a month or so ago was outrage against corporations being declared legally as having “personhood”. I found it odd because an incorporated entity had standing as a person in many ways for hundreds of years. A company — as opposed to a business run as an individual owner — can own property, be a plaintiff or defendant in court, and even be held responsible for the actions of it’s constituents. And though it’s not all roses, that’s generally a useful and good thing.
So why the outcry? Corporations are bigger than you. They are bigger than me, or anyone else. And (unless we’re talking about government), big is supposedly bad. What will they want, to vote next? They already wield the power of many.
So you want to reverse the tradition of corporate personhood? Let’s all stop referring to companies as if they were people. Seriously. You first.
The most anti-corporate sentiments do the opposite of what they would prefer: they reinforce the “corpus” as a single entity rather than the members of its collective. People don’t bash the shareholders and CEO of Monsanto — they bash Monsanto. If you don’t want Monsanto to be taken as a person, then don’t use it as that part of speech.
Even the recent Occupy Movement whose “99%” refers to the demographics of individual (and/or household) taxpayers, they are blocking the commerce of huge entities, namely banks. Corporate taxation is rarely mentioned, but homes aren’t being picketed. It just makes little sense.
The law is treating companies the way we treat them. Bucking the tradition not only shows a misunderstanding of the nature of corporate personhood, but is a great overlooked hypocrisy of our time.