Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Corporate Personhood is Killing Us

This is not an original thought, obviously. But the recent scuffle on United Airlines, in which a paying passenger was beaten and bloodied when he refused to vacate his seat, is indicative of the extent to which corporate personhood is killing us, as at least two interesting articles (one in Paste and one in the Atlantic) observed in the wake of the incident.

A few days ago, Isaac asked me on the way to school if aliens existed. “Look it up on your phone, Mom,” he said. “Type in: ‘Do Aliens Exist.’”

I explained that I didn’t need to type that into my phone to answer his question, and offered a long explanation regarding the likelihood of extraterrestrial life. And then I began to wonder what aliens would think if they landed on earth and discovered the extent to which the human race has ceded its collective humanity, individuality, and autonomy to corporations and corporate greed.

You don’t have to be a “socialist” or reject capitalism to bemoan the impact of corporate personhood on our society, and recognize the alarming fact that it has gone way too far. 

Corporations are granted all the benefits of individuals, with very few of the commensurate burdens, to the overall detriment of literally almost every individual human being on earth. And of course it’s not just airlines. It’s life, death, and everything in between.

Corporate profit dictates and drives the quality of the air we breathe. It allows toxic, carcinogenic chemicals and dangerous substances to leach into our broken food supply and poison our bodies and the planet.

It permits unfettered access to weapons no one needs to own, and precludes access to valuable drugs people need to survive.

It manufactures pretend scarcity and value in vanity minerals like diamonds, spawning armed conflict, which in turn is itself a lucrative business model.
It allows businesses to legally purchase lawmakers and jurists to serve their own interests, and only their interests. 

It creates haves and have-nots. An oligarchy, really, where the have-nots are always a thousand steps behind and forced to rely on the “generosity” of philanthropists who have more money and consolidated power than any one person should ever, in good conscience, possess. 

There's no such thing as conscience anyway, though. Not really.

This isn’t just some bullshit social justice warrior talk. It’s the factual reality we have made for ourselves. 
Corporations aren’t just treated like people under the law. They are treated better than people. A lot better. And there’s only one word for that.


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