Corporations are legal entities that are created under the laws of a state designed to establish the entity as a separate legal entity having its own privileges and liabilities distinct from those of its members. There are many different forms of corporations, most of which are used to conduct business. Early corporations were established by charter (i.e. by an ad hoc act passed by a parliament or legislature). Most jurisdictions now allow the creation of new corporations through registration.
- As a psychopathic creature, the corporation can neither recognize nor act upon moral reasons to refrain from harming others.
- Joel Bakan, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power (2004), p. 60
- A century and a half after its birth, the modern business corporation, an artificial person made in the image of a human psychopath, now is seeking to remake real people in its image.
- Joel Bakan, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power (2004), p. 135
- Corporation, n. An ingenious device for securing individual profit without individual responsibility.
- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary.
- I believe that if you go and ask a chief executive of a Goldman Sachs or a BP, and they answer you honestly ... they want monopolies, they want government subsidies, they want preferences – they're not interested in free markets.
- Ian Bremmer, "The West Should Fear the Growth of State Capitalism," The Daily Telegraph (July 10, 2010)
- No abuse of power has so tarnished the corporate image or shown the need for government legislation as the numerous public revelations of wholesale political and foreign bribery that came to light during the 1970s. These revelations are one of the most sordid chapters in American corporate history. Investigations revealed widespread illegal corporate political contributions and extensive bribery of foreign government officials. When the bribes were large, they significantly distorted the corporation's actual financial picture, thus misleading company stockholders as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Internal Revenue Service. When U.S. corporations bribe officials of developing countries, they may help to undermine that country's political stability and in some cases contribute to the spread of anti-American feeling. A particularly serious situation develops when pharmaceutical corporations bribe health officials in other countries to obtain permission to sell dangerous drug products.
- For all their alleged power, big corporations are often powerless when it comes to the simple task of surviving. As Williamson notes, “Only 67 of the firms in the Fortune 500 in 1955 remained there by 2011.”
“The average age of a company listed on the S&P 500 has fallen from almost 60 years old in the 1950s to less than 20 years currently,” a team of Credit Suisse analysts wrote last month. And the death rate is accelerating.
- The United States ... celebrates rote vocational training and the singular, amoral skill of making money. It churns out stunted human products, lacking the capacity and vocabulary to challenge the assumptions and structures of the corporate state. It funnels them into a caste system of drones and systems managers. It transforms a democratic state into a feudal system of corporate masters and serfs.
- Totalitarianism no longer comes in the form of communism or fascism. It comes now from corporations. And these corporations fear those who think and write, those who speak out and form relationships freely. Individual freedom impedes their power and their profits. Our democracy, as Snowden I think has revealed, has become a fiction. The state, through elaborate forms of political theater, seeks to maintain this fiction to keep us passive. And if we wake up, the state will not shy away from draconian measures. The goal is complete subjugation, the iron rule of our corporations and our power elite.
- Given the extensive involvement of state violence in the process by which the corporate elite not only achieved its wealth in the past but continues to maintain and augment it in the present, it is clear that the massive inequalities of wealth that characterise present-day “capitalist” society are radically inconsistent with any approach to justice in holdings that is even remotely Nozickian.
- Roderick Long, "Left-libertarianism, market anarchism, class conflict and historical theories of distributive justice," Griffith Law Review, Vol. 21 Issue 2 (2012), p. 425
- Corporations are people, my friend … course they are!
- Mitt Romney, speech in Iowa, August 2011, quoted in "‘Corporations Are People,’ Romney Tells Iowa Hecklers Angry Over His Tax Policy". New York Times. 2011-08-12. .
- There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will be neither a short nor an easy task, but it can be done. We must have complete and effective publicity of corporate affairs, so that the people may know beyond peradventure whether the corporations obey the law and whether their management entitles them to the confidence of the public. It is necessary that laws should be passed to prohibit the use of corporate funds directly or indirectly for political purposes; it is still more necessary that such laws should be thoroughly enforced. Corporate expenditures for political purposes, and especially such expenditures by public-service corporations, have supplied one of the principal sources of corruption in our political affairs. It has become entirely clear that we must have government supervision of the capitalization, not only of public-service corporations, including, particularly, railways, but of all corporations doing an interstate business. I do not wish to see the nation forced into the ownership of the railways if it can possibly be avoided, and the only alternative is thoroughgoing and effective legislation, which shall be based on a full knowledge of all the facts, including a physical valuation of property. This physical valuation is not needed, or, at least, is very rarely needed, for fixing rates; but it is needed as the basis of honest capitalization.
- The economic fate of a corporation, like that of other business enterprises, is ultimately controlled by individual consumers. But most consumers may be no more interested in taking on management responsibility than stockholders are. Nor is it enough that those consumers who don’t want to be bothered don’t have to be. The very existence of enhanced powers for non-management individuals to have a say in the running of a corporation would force other consumers and stockholders to either take time to represent their own views and interests in this process or risk having people with other agendas over-ride their interests and interfere with the management of the enterprise, without these outsiders having to pay any price for being wrong.
- Thomas Sowell, Basic Economics, 4th ed. (2010), Ch. 7. Big Business and Government
- Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 17
- 13 million children are hungry in America. Yet most politicians do not even talk about it... The political establishment has simply normalized the despair of millions of American children who are chronically traumatized by poverty, hunger, and all manner of violence. This is what happens when government becomes more an instrument of corporate profits then of conscience... This country shouldn’t be run like a business, it should be run like a family.
The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904)
- Quotes reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 48-50.
- We ought not to encourage vexatious prosecutions, which tend to throw corporations into confusion.
- Lord Mansfield, Rex v. Wardroper (1766), 4 Burr. Part IV. 1965.
- The Court are bound to consider all the circumstances of the case, before they disturb the peace and quiet of any corporation.
- Lord Mansfield, King v. Stacey (1785), 1 T. R. 6.
- That corporations are the creatures of the Crown must be universally admitted.
- Lord Kenyon, C.J., King v. Ginever (1796), 6 T. R. 735.
- The situation the Lord Mayor holds is the first officer of the first city in the world in point of commerce and riches, and everything that can constitute the magnificence of a city. He is a judicial officer, and a municipal officer too, and from these combined characters there are duties incumbent upon him, which by all the ties that can bind a man to the discharge of duty, he is bound to discharge. It stands at the head of his duties, next after protecting the religion which binds us to God, to govern that civil policy which binds government together, and prevents us from being a state of anarchy and confusion.
- Lord Kenyon, Eaton's Case (1793), 22 How. St. Tr. 820.
- We ought, as far as we can by law, to support the government of all societies and corporations, especially this of the city of London; and if the mayor and aldermen should not have power to punish offenders in a summary way, then farewell the government of the city.
- Holt, C.J., Clark's Case (1696), 5 Mod. Rep. 320.
- Corporations cannot commit treason, nor be outlawed, nor excommunicate, for they have no souls.
- Edward Coke, Case of Sutton's Hospital (1612), 5 Rep. 303; 10 Rep. 32 b.
- Cities are immortal.
- Grotius, De Jure Belli et Pacis, lib. 2, cap. 9. See also 1st Inst. fol . 9 b. 3 Coke, 60 a.; 2 Bulstr. 233; 21 Edw. VI. f. 13.
- A corporation can have no legal existence out of the boundaries of the sovereignty by which it is created.
- Taney, C.J., Bank of Augusta v. Earle, 13 Peters' Sup. Court Rep. (U. S.) 588.
- It is a fiction, a shade, a nonentity, but a reality for legal purposes. A corporation aggregate is only in abstracto—it is invisible, immortal, and rests only in intendment and consideration of the law.
- Edward Coke, Case of Sutton's Hospital (1612), 5 Rep. 303; 10 Rep. 32 b.