If you believe corporations are people you probably aren’t human any more. Here’s five reasons why they are clearly not a person.
1. A corporation has never been ashamed of itself after farting close to others.
I starting drinking Guinness in the first week of my undergrad degree, many drug addled years ago. After a particularly heavy night of partying I found myself at an early lecture surrounded by attractive female students. I was young and hadn’t made any friends in class as of yet and was feeling frightened and inappropriately horny. This is when my body turned against me.
My gastro-intestinal system had not quite gotten used to the black loveliness of Guinness yet and everyone was about to find out. First there were rumblings, then squeaks, then a sound like an African elephant gasping. I was purple-faced with embarrassment but hoped I’d gotten away with it. Then the wall of stench hit me like a poorly funded sewage plant in Bangalore.
Over the next twenty minutes my body produced enough methane to power a Las Vegas casino during an Elvis come back special. I was mortified and it took me many months to make any friends in class. This has never happened to a corporation. I bothered about twenty people for about twenty minutes, has a corporation ever done anything as bad as that?
In late 2015 the Aliso Canyon Gas Company forced thousands of people from their homes (due to headaches, nose bleeds and risk of explosion) in the U. S. state of California for 3-4 months, due to a methane leak. 72, 000 metric tonnes of methane were released into the atmosphere and will take around 12 years to degrade, that’s half of the state’s greenhouse emission allowance for the year. My ass simply cannot compete with those numbers.
2. Corporations don’t have a family member they’d rather you didn’t know about.
Whenever you vomit on your grandmother’s ninetieth birthday cake because you bought some bad drugs from your cousin, it kind of takes the gloss off the evening. I sort of think it wasn’t really my fault though. Had I known that the ecstasy was laced with as much acid as that, I definitely would have considered not doing quite so much.
That being said, I can kind of understand why a lot of my aunts and uncles would rather they weren’t related to me. And to be honest I’m not crazy about being related to people who scrape vomit off cake and eat it anyway (or people who sell you bad drugs and don’t tell you they’re bad). But do corporations have family members that you would rather not know about?
Of course they don’t because they’re not actually people, but owners of Koch Industries (and famous alleged racists) Charles and David Koch might not want you to know that their father, Fred Koch, made his money working for the genocidal mass murderer Joseph Stalin. The brothers have since used that money to undermine democracy in America and are the biggest funders of the Tea Party.
3. Corporations have never accidentally urinated on themselves.
After the debacle at my grandmother’s birthday party I was very upset. To try and relax, and calm the hallucinations down, I decided to go on an overnight drunk. This was tremendously successful as I passed out inside a neighbour’s hedge after daybreak, you can’t get much more calmed down than that. I awoke to an old man prodding me with a walking stick.
He asked me if I was okay and I told him I wasn’t sure if I was okay, as I couldn’t quite remember who I was. The amnesia soon wore off and I was feeling a lot better until I looked at my stone-wash jeans (I swear they were fashionable at the time). I had urinated all over myself during the night (or a dog or a passing vagrant had urinated on me but those two are worse so I’m picking the first option). Shame was my close companion, yet again. But would a corporation ever do something so embarrassing?
No, because corporations don’t have human emotions or bodies so corporations don’t piss themselves. But following an accident on the night of the 2nd of December 1984 at the Union Carbide India Ltd. pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, over 500,000 people were exposed to methyl isocyanate gas and other toxic chemicals. Estimates vary on the total death toll but the official immediate death toll was 2,259. People to this day continue to die from the disaster that has never been cleaned up. Hundreds of infants born with birth defects are attributed to the release.
4. A corporation has never had their drink spiked.
I’ve told people I’ve had my drink spiked many, many times. It’s a great way to excuse yourself for the crazy shit you did the night before. But crying wolf has it’s down sides. This one time (definitely not at band camp) I did have my drink spiked by a ‘friend’ who thought it would be ‘funny’. Well, he wasn’t laughing when I was swinging my underwear around my head, singing the French national anthem (I’m Irish by the way), outside a police station, at a quarter past late in the morning.
The police on the other hand found it hard to conceal their laughter as they ‘interviewed’ me the next day. I didn’t feel too badly about it until I saw the CCTV footage and realised I’m no where near the fantastic dancer I once believed I was. Oh, the shame. But a corporation has never had their drink spiked, have they?
No, because corporations aren’t human beings and they don’t drink anything. In 2006, the Indian state of Kerala banned the sale of both Coke and Pepsi because of high levels of harmful chemicals in the soft drinks. An independent report said there were dangerously high levels of pesticides across twelve states in India.
5. A corporation has never wondered if it’s ever going to stop tripping balls.
How much drugs can one person take? A question that has been asked throughout the ages by some of the greatest minds humankind has ever seen. And you can technically only see a mind if you’ve recently taken a boat load of drugs. Minds like Keith Richards, Iggy Pop and the Mayor of Toronto have stretched the bounds of sanity in an attempt to answer this question. I too have tried and failed to find a solution to this quandary.
This one time (actually at band camp, for realzies) I ingested a heroic amount of magic mushrooms and about forty minutes later I wasn’t having such a fabulous time. After I watched Krishna, Buddha and Satan play battleships for about six hours (Krishna was winning but he was cheating like hell, Satan was crying and Buddha wasn’t really that into it) I started to wonder if I was ever going to stop tripping. That is a truly terrifying thought, but has a corporation ever had a thought like that?
No, because corporations aren’t actual people and they don’t have thoughts. In 2012, HSBC admitted it had laundered money from Mexican drug cartels to the tune of nine billion dollars. They then had to pay almost two billion in fines to U.S. authorities. Despite the horror that has been ravaged on Northern Mexico due to the drug cartels and the human suffering in the U.S. due to drug addiction, no-one went to prison. In fact the Bank made money on the deal. A deterrent isn’t a deterrent if you are still up money after the punishment.
My point is this: an individual deserves the legal protection of personhood because they have a limited ability to defend themselves against large organisations, including the state and multinational corporations. An individual has a very limited ability to damage others and usually gets imprisoned when they do. Corporations on the other hand can kill, poison and injure thousands and thousands of people and never go to jail. Multinational corporations have huge resources and unprecedented political power. The have only one goal, to increase profits. They have no morality and they have no conscience. They do not suffer embarrassment and they do not suffer guilt. They’re only concerned with the appearance of integrity, not integrity itself. If a corporation was an actual person, he would be a dangerous psychopath in need of constant supervision (cough, cough, Trump). People are people, corporations are not people. Support the removal of legal personhood from corporations.