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View Diary: Vermont state legislature votes to End Corporate Personhood (70 comments)

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  •  it's all about the immortality. (23+ / 0-)

    Corporations can only die through the equivalent of traumatic accidents (something external clobbers them or eats them) or suicide (voluntary dissolution).   Absent either of those, they continue indefinitely.  

    Immortality is not a characteristic of persons.

    "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 06:51:26 PM PDT

    •  Corporations (21+ / 0-)


      can't go to jail either.


      or get sick for lack of health care.


      or fight and die in endless foreign wars.


      What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
      -- Maslow ...... my list.

      by jamess on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 06:54:50 PM PDT

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    •  Corporations in practice have shorter lives (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SoCalSal, erush1345, G2geek, Loge, Matt Z

      Few corporations live to be 70 years old. John Chambers, the CEO of Cisco Systems was on Charlie Rose this evening. He stated that of the companies on the Fortune 500 when he became CEO in 1995 fewer than 100 are still in business. My only experience in big business was with a Fortune 500 company who made to it's 100 birthday, but is now gone. The oldest corporation in California was started in 1849 and is now in the aerospace business and healthy. The second oldest is Wells Fargo. In our current global economy I think the lifespan of corporations will continue to shrink.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 09:35:50 PM PDT

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      •  That leads to a VERY interesting hypothesis: (7+ / 0-)

        What you just said is:

        Few corporations live as long as humans.

        Fortune 500 shows a 4/5 mortality rate over a 17-year span.

        There are a couple of > 100-year-old corporations still in California.

        To which I would also add:

        The startup failure rate during the 1st year of operation (90% last time I checked) can be considered as roughly equivalent to "infant mortality."

        Know what that is?  It's a description of Third World vital statistics!

        So here's the wild hypothesis:

        What we presently have in our economy is the equivalent of Third World conditions:  high birth rate and high death rate, high infant mortality, low average lifespan, and a huge disparity in lifespan from bottom to top.  

        Assume that Third World demographics are inherently undesirable for a range of reasons, and that we want to move the economy toward more of a First World demographic mix:  chiefly, lower "infant mortality," longer average life spans, and less disparity of lifespans between bottom and top.  

        What would it take to get there?  Probably something roughly equivalent to what it takes to do similarly for human longevity.

        Specific hypothesis:

        A shift of the corporate & economic equivalents of reproductive and childrearing strategies, from R-selection (high birth rate, low nurturance of offspring, high death rate) to K-selection (low birth rate, high nurturance of offspring, low death rate) will have similar salutary effects on the lifespans and accomplishments of corporations in an economy, as it does on the lifespans and accomplishments of natural persons in a social ecosystem.

        Thus we should have a legal framework that:

        = makes it more difficult to start an incorporated entity (lower birth rate), and

        = insists upon elements needed to ensure a greater degree of "nurturance" of a corporation once it's started (e.g. capital, expertise, business planning, inventory if relevant, workforce), and

        = offers greater support for corporations to improve their chances of success (zero to low tax rates in the early years, incentives for participation in enterprise development activities, support in gaining access to markets, etc.),

        = while at the same time insisting on adherence to higher standards of corporate citizenship both for the benefit of the longevity of the entity itself and for the benefit of its various constituencies (investors, owners, employees, customers, communities in which it operates, etc.).  

        What that looks like is ...Europe and Japan!

        Isn't that interesting, eh?  

        If my hypothesis is correct, then we would expect that European and Japanese corporations in general are healthier and live longer than American ones.  

        A few cases that come to mind:  Japanese corporations such as Matsushita/ Panasonic, Toshiba, Mitsubishi.  Siemens of Germany.  Ericsson.  I'm thinking largely of technology-related companies but there are plenty of others, in other sectors.  

        About small business and misc. incorporated entities:

        Clearly a different set of conditions is needed to foster development of small business, and also to make it possible for individuals to gain limited liability protection for certain types of assets.  In these areas we need to allow easier access to incorporation, and in particular lower red-tape.  Somehow we still need to find a way to encourage these entities to be developed with longer-term thinking in mind. This is a whole 'nother topic for another round of the discussion.

        I'll stop here for now.  What do you think?

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 11:48:06 PM PDT

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        •  Interesting thought... but: (0+ / 0-)

          You would need a way to prevent 'phoenixing'--- to prevent a corporation from 'dying and rebirthing' every few years to qualify for the baby-business tax breaks.

          Also, Europe at least has tons of failed and eaten tech startups.  Which reminds me that in business there is a lot of predation, rather than simple infant mortality.  In some cases, esp. in tech, the 'babies' goal is to get eaten.

          Also, a lot of mom-and-pop businesses survive because of regulations that restrict larger corporations, rather than those that encourage the small guy.  For instance, Americans like to bemoan Europe's strict laws on when stores can be open (no Sundays, closed at 7, wtf), but they're designed to help small businesses that can't hire staff for all those extra hours.  Also, laws in some countries govern when sales can take place, and in some cases (like the French book industry), there are strict price controls, both deisgned to prevent big stores from using economies of scale to undercut the little guy.  

          Conservatives need to realize that their Silent Moral Majority is neither silent, nor moral, nor a majority.

          by nominalize on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 05:09:47 AM PDT

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    •  Their charters are issued by state government (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, jamess, jayden

      State government has the power to revoke the charters, no?

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 10:25:34 PM PDT

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