Monday, November 10, 2014
Corporate Personhood - Lock 'Em Up
Barry, My Liege :
Inasmuch as corporations are recognized as persons when making campaign contributions, then it seems appropriate that they should be recognized as persons when a crime is committed.
When a natural person commits a crime, he or she faces penalties like fines and imprisonment.
While we have a system of fines in place to punish corporations guilty of law breaking, we do not have a provision to place the offending corporation in prison.
After all, it is hard to place the collection of legal documents which comprise the 'soul' of the corporation into a jail cell.
However, we do have in place already a system whereby outside, court appointed persons can assume the management of the corporation for a temporary, defined period of time. We can do that already to some banks and financial institutions under existing law; it is time to expand the process to all corporations.
It is called Receivership and you can read about it here : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Receivership
It seems fair and just that an entity which has some of the rights of natural persons should have also some of the duties of natural persons, namely the duty to obey the law or forfeit freedom.
When a corporation is convicted of a serious crime, a judge should have the ability to both fine the corporation and to appoint a receiver to manage the affairs of the business for a pre-determined period of time.
The receiver would act in place of or replace the managers who participated in creating the crime. Those executives would be sent home without compensation for the duration of the receivership.
The primary objective of the receiver would be to protect the existing assets of the shareholders. He would be prohibited from taking any risks with those assets to ensure their prerservation.
The practical effect of such a program would be to seriously damage the corporation since taking risks with corporate assets is what companies are supposed to do in order to prevent any loss of ground or market position to the competition.
That effect likely would become a serious incentive to the Board of Directors to be sure crimes are not committed since the loss of momentum from a receivership would have the result of reducing the market value of the company's shares.
Remember, My Liege, what goes around, comes around.
Your faithful servant,