The New Civil Rights, Part III

Supreme CourtIn an earlier post I spoke of restricting Corporations’ rights to on-demand termination of business agreements with sub-Corporations, and I said: “I mean, I can’t choose to murder someone, so why should Corporations be allowed to choose to murder the economy?” This prompted an overly literal pedant to email me, saying:

“You say you can’t choose to murder someone. Of course you can choose to murder someone, and you can even actually murder someone. You just run the risk of the criminal penalties for your action.”

Well, I have to admit that you are technically correct (in a semantic sense), but that does not detract from your greater wrongness (in an actual sense). Of course I realize that it is possible for me to make that choice, and for a Corporation to make a similar wrong choice, but why do you assume that I don’t believe that the Corporation would have to pay for their crime as much as I would? I just hadn’t got to that part of my argument yet, but here it is: we should be able to imprison Corporations.

There are obviously a lot of details to be worked out, but the concept is sound. Obviously you can’t actually put a legal entity in a physical prison, so you have two choices: put the legal entity in a sort of ‘legal prison‘, or physical entity in a physical prison. With the first option, you could just prevent the entity from functioning as a Corporation, which is the analogue to imprisoning a person. Well, that’s just bad for America. We need more, larger, and freer Corporations, not the opposite. No, the second option is clearly superior, regardless of what it is.

The second option (physical entity in a physical prison) could be accomplished only by proxy. You’d need a representative of the Corporation to languish in prison to pay for the crimes of the Corporation. The obvious person would be the officer (or officers) of the Corporation who actually made the illegal decision, but this isn’t the only option. A superior option is to allow for a ‘proxy proxy‘. The guilty party (or parties) could pay the proxy proxy to do the prison time for them. This allows the Corporation to continue to function normally, thus enriching the American economy, and it provides employment for the proxy proxy, thus reducing the unemployment rate. And let’s face it. Anyone willing to be a proxy proxy was probably going to end up being in prison anyway. They might as well get paid for it.

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