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Corporations

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A corporation is a voluntary association of individuals to accomplish explicitly stated goals. Corporations are created specifically to avoid or mitigate the limitations faced by every natural human being. Corporations do not die, unless by deliberate human action. Corporations employ leverage unavailable to a natural human being, without his acting in association with other natural human beings. People acting in association in a corporation limt their personal laibility; a natural human being acting on his own has unlimited personal liability.

In the United States of America, at least, and in reason, an individual is not required to justify his existence to the sovreign. A corporation must petition the sovreign to exist and often, to continue in existence. An individual acting on his own and for his own benefit does not need the approval of the sovereign of his actions; a corporation does require such approval.

The police power of the sovereign does not apply directly to corporations, only to individual natural human beings.

"Corporation" is not interchangable with "human being".

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I'm not sure what you mean by "a natural human being acting on his own has unlimited personal liability." I don't see why an individual can't enter into a limited liability arrangement for goods and services.

Nor is the corporation's right to limited liability a right granted by a sovereign power -- at least no more than your right to speak your mind. A proper state simply recognizes the right of a group of individuals to enter into contracts under limited liability terms.

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Corporations are not created to "avoid or mitigate the limitations faced by every natural human being". No one becomes immune from responsibilities for crimes by joining a corporation and "natural human beings", whatever that is supposed to mean in contrast to "human beings", are not personally responsible for the actions of others in a group. Corporations limit financial responsibility for actions taken on behalf of the group.

A corporation does not need the approval of the government for its actions. It registers as a corporation under the rules.

The police power of government does apply directly to corporations and to its members. Corporations and are not immune for committing crime and individuals in a corporation are not immune from criminal actions they take whether or not on behalf of the corporation.

"'Corporation' is not interchangable with 'human being'". So what? A corporation, like any group, is an abstraction pertaining to members of the group in certain defined relationships.

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I am anxious to know which corporation in the United States, the liability of the investors in which is limited to their financial contribution, is not chartered - not permitted, among other things, to so shelter its investors.... is NOT chartered by some state or other government. Which one?

Individual human beings have the right to act in association with others. The priveleges of corporations are grants of the state. Again, tell me where in human experience this is not the case?

That individuals acting in association are the beneficiaries of leverage, beyond the capability of an individual acting on his own is simply undeniable; THAT is one of the chief reasons governing the decisions of individuals to act in association with others.. If that leverage is achieved by incorporating, then the employment of that leverage is in part a privelege granted by the government.

I am reacting to this issue again after reading Jack Welch's column in the Wall Street Journal on Monday past, the Obamanable uttherances of the Cannibal in Chief's campaign and the other commentary I've read and heard. "Our side" is being as sloppy and unfocused as is the other side; not a hopeful sign.

Any usage that freely and readily substitutes "corporation" for "person" is wrong. In every day conversation it is at worst annoying. In serious analysis it is a grave and serious error; or delibertae obfuscation.

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The rule of thumb is that individuals that come together to form a group, neither gain or loose any rights and obligations. There's nothing magical about a corporation under Capitalism.

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Well, one of the things I am trying to get to is the fact that in concrete reality, the base of all of our knowledge and the determinant of our ethics, there are no such associations as would exist under capitalism, not one, in our world today. But those that exist are corrupted, in a sense (not in the ordinary colloquial sense, although many are that too), by the reality of the system that is in place now. Supposing to grant GE, under the Chairman it has now, corrupt in almost every possible sense of the word, every status and right, standing in the legal and political system as I, an individual, a natural human being, is....illigitimate, until I can think of a better word. Corporations, as used in philisophical theory, do not exist in the same sense as GE, GM, Walmart or even Dick's Philosophy School and Publishing Emporium Inc. Not only that, no such corresponding entity exists in concrete reality anywhere I know of.

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Well, one of the things I am trying to get to is the fact that in concrete reality, the base of all of our knowledge and the determinant of our ethics, there are no such associations as would exist under capitalism, not one, in our world today. But those that exist are corrupted, in a sense (not in the ordinary colloquial sense, although many are that too), by the reality of the system that is in place now. Supposing to grant GE, under the Chairman it has now, corrupt in almost every possible sense of the word, every status and right, standing in the legal and political system as I, an individual, a natural human being, is....illigitimate, until I can think of a better word. Corporations, as used in philisophical theory, do not exist in the same sense as GE, GM, Walmart or even Dick's Philosophy School and Publishing Emporium Inc. Not only that, no such corresponding entity exists in concrete reality anywhere I know of.

Real quick:

What do you do with the corporations that aren't corrupt or as corrupt as GE has been of late?

The solution to the messes inherent in a mixed economy can't be more regulation (Cronyism has to be in direct proportion to regulation.)

What's so illegitimate about Walmart, btw?

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I am anxious to know which corporation in the United States, the liability of the investors in which is limited to their financial contribution, is not chartered - not permitted, among other things, to so shelter its investors.... is NOT chartered by some state or other government. Which one?

No one said that corporations are not chartered by the state or don't have to follow rules for incorporation to be recognized as a corporation.

Individual human beings have the right to act in association with others. The priveleges of corporations are grants of the state. Again, tell me where in human experience this is not the case?

That individuals acting in association are the beneficiaries of leverage, beyond the capability of an individual acting on his own is simply undeniable; THAT is one of the chief reasons governing the decisions of individuals to act in association with others.. If that leverage is achieved by incorporating, then the employment of that leverage is in part a privelege granted by the government.

Anyone can act in cooperation with others with or without being incorporated. Association and freedom of action is a right, not a privilege granted by government. Freedom of association is even protected as an explicity Constitututional right. That does not make it a decree of government.

I am reacting to this issue again after reading Jack Welch's column in the Wall Street Journal on Monday past, the Obamanable uttherances of the Cannibal in Chief's campaign and the other commentary I've read and heard. "Our side" is being as sloppy and unfocused as is the other side; not a hopeful sign.

What are you talking about? Your thread was started with no stated reason or point, only repeating past misstatements on this subject including the denial of freedom of speech to people in acting in a corporation, and now you complain about an undefined "our side" and an article with no link, no summary, and no attempt at an explanation of what in what article you are attacking and attributing to whom.

Any usage that freely and readily substitutes "corporation" for "person" is wrong. In every day conversation it is at worst annoying. In serious analysis it is a grave and serious error; or delibertae obfuscation.

Or a confused reader equivocating on the meaning of the legal abstraction of 'corporation' before the law versus the fact that a corporation is an abstract concept that is not a thing that does anything, but only refers to a group of people who think and act. It is in that sense that 'corporations are people' and it is not wrong or deliberate obfuscation to say it. In that sense, the constant attacks on corporations by progressives are frequently attacks on people, and their rights, who are in corporations, while the progressives pretend that a corporation is some kind of inhuman monster as a thing in itself. That is what Mitt Romney and Jack Welch in the WSJ are objecting to and talking about when they say 'corporations are people', not a reification of an abstraction that you exploit in equivocation and false attribution.

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A corporation is an abstract concept that is not a thing that does anything. Corporations are just people. The Chairman of Walmart gets to participate in politics; each shareholder of Walmart gets to participate in politics; and Walmart, an abstract concept, gets to participate in politics. Walmart's participation is just the officeers and stockholders channeling their participation in a particular way?

I am distressed about the way things are discussed and I still think it is possible that the lack of clarity in the discussion reflects an error in understanding reality; or a deliberate attempt to exlpoit the fact that many people "sort of understand" wha is meant without having to be too carefull. Here's an example away from the issue of corporations.

Mark Levin's show is advertised with a soundbite in which an angry Mark Levin yells " they're doing things the Founders never intended!". Every time I hear it I want to shout back "So what!?". The statement presumes everyone listening understands why that's a bad thing. But in today's world many people don't. They do not understand the why of how the Founders arrived at the solution to government, what problems and issues are dealt with and why. So by appealing in short hand, so to speak, to unknown listeners, the underlying reality is glossed over, unexplained and all one has is Levin's shrillness.

In every day conversation that might be OK, especially when the people in discussion are familiar with each other. It is insufficient in an attempt to lead people who may or may not really understand, really do not appreciate the specific, concrete issues involved. The conversation is imprecise to the point of hazzard. People get to hear what they want to hear. Perhaps that is unavoidable in human affairs, perhaps there are never enough resources to make everything clear. But if that is so, what does that mean for philosophy? Either the concept corresponds to the concrete reality or it is deficient.

This is not equivocal: the reason people incorporate is to get state sanction to limit their personal liabilities in transactions with others. Every financial, economic, cultural, social and political advantage, every application of leverage, is avilable to a partnership. Why incorporate? People incorporate to get the protection of the police power of the state. Then they want to compound their influence by acting in their personal capacity and their corporate capacity.

Put another way, if you want to employ the concept corporation, it must include the protection of the state as a defining characteristic. Otherwise there are no referents in Objective reality.

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This is not equivocal: the reason people incorporate is to get state sanction to limit their personal liabilities in transactions with others.

Individuals also have a state sanctioned limit on personal liabilities: personal bankruptcy laws.

Every financial, economic, cultural, social and political advantage, every application of leverage, is available to a partnership. Why incorporate?

To do things on a larger scale than you can do in a partnership by forming an organization that simplifies operations involving large numbers of investors.

People incorporate to get the protection of the police power of the state. Then they want to compound their influence by acting in their personal capacity and their corporate capacity.

Put another way, if you want to employ the concept corporation, it must include the protection of the state as a defining characteristic. Otherwise there are no referents in Objective reality.

Everyone -- individuals, partners, or investors in a corporation -- have state protection of their property rights, just in different ways. Individual liabilities are limited by their personal assets and corporate liabilities are limited by their corporate assets. Since corporations generally have larger assets or more insurance than individuals, if I were suing, I would much likely collect more from a corporation.

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I agree with everything immediately above; although the government has moved to put some liabilities beyond bankruptcy rpotection and I do not know what prevents them fromdoing more of that.

The reason I think there is a metaphysical issue here is that many - maybe most - American's experiences with corporations are not characterized by what Welch, among others, describes. In other words, the characterization is at odds with people's experience. The fuzziness of the characterization, the ambiguity created by his, and other similar, assertions is the playground of the Progressives. One can hear them say, see, nothing is true, everything is a matter of opinion.

I will be rereading Federalist 10 tonight; based on my recollection, many publiclly traded corporations in the United States today are factions, exactly as described by Madison.

I want to stress that as a matter of rough justice, often the only justice left by the current political process, I would not deprive corporations of political participation at this time, not with the powers unions, think tanks, colleges and universities, churches and other collectives wield everyday.

Thank you for your persistence in helping me think this through.

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Neither you nor Levin are talking to the average American. He's addressing an audience that gets him, and you're addressing a small group of people that share a certain perspective.

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There was a book written by Robert Hessen called, "In Defense of the Corporation", which was reviewed in Peter Schwartz's publication, The intellectual Activist, in 1980. I can't seem to find this old TIA edition in my collection; but I seem to remember it was a favorable review. (Robert Hessen had been a contributor to The Objectivist magazine back in the sixties.)

It's still available at Amazon.com for as little as a penny (used hardcover). There is also a customer review of it at this Amazon page. You can see that it touches on your concerns about the nature of corporations.

http://www.amazon.com/Defense-Corporation-HOOVER-PRESS-PUBLICATION/dp/081797072X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1342681006&sr=8-1&keywords=hessen+corporation .

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I teach part time at a "right to try" college. My students are working class and lower income people; the last few years I have had more people in their 30's, 40's, 50's and even 60's, people who've lost most of what they had or are under real stress financially. Most have what any reader of this forum would consider deficient educations. Some can barely read and write. I teach a financial planning class and I discuss the businesss issues. These people get it; most of them are uneducated, not stupid. They know there are issues with some statement like "corporations are just people". They know about crony capitalism and political ambition being fueld by control of other peoples money and assets. A glib, sugary characterization of the issue plays worse with this ordinary people than anyone might think. They know condecention very well when they hear it. And more to the main point that interests me here, as I said, they know there are issues on the face of statements such as Welch's. A plea for more care and clarity in public discussion is not directly a metaphysical or epistemological issue. But does the lack of clarity reflect a real underlying confusion over what a corporation is?

For the record, I certainly have no problem of any kind with the corporate form of association of individuals. I don't think we could have the prosperity on the scale we have without it. I worked for a major corporation, a publically traded company and was on a first name basis with all of the executive officers and many board members and I saw first hand the kinds of issues that can be - I'm not saying anyone here is - dismissed by statements like "corporations are merely voluntary associations of free individuals".

Objectivism suffers for a lack of what I can only call an Objectivist Sociology. I hate using that word for I have personally encountered little that is respectable attached to that word. But there are phenomena in human experience that cannot simply be distilled to individual atoms.

The central question of the (a) real and ( b ) proper relationship of the individual has expilictly surfaced in the public discourse now and it is no coincidence. Perhaps that will provide the opportunity to clarify things.

THX for your resources and attention.

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I teach part time at a "right to try" college. My students are working class and lower income people; the last few years I have had more people in their 30's, 40's, 50's and even 60's, people who've lost most of what they had or are under real stress financially. Most have what any reader of this forum would consider deficient educations. Some can barely read and write. I teach a financial planning class and I discuss the businesss issues. These people get it; most of them are uneducated, not stupid. They know there are issues with some statement like "corporations are just people". They know about crony capitalism and political ambition being fueld by control of other peoples money and assets. A glib, sugary characterization of the issue plays worse with this ordinary people than anyone might think. They know condecention very well when they hear it. And more to the main point that interests me here, as I said, they know there are issues on the face of statements such as Welch's. A plea for more care and clarity in public discussion is not directly a metaphysical or epistemological issue. But does the lack of clarity reflect a real underlying confusion over what a corporation is?

For the record, I certainly have no problem of any kind with the corporate form of association of individuals. I don't think we could have the prosperity on the scale we have without it. I worked for a major corporation, a publically traded company and was on a first name basis with all of the executive officers and many board members and I saw first hand the kinds of issues that can be - I'm not saying anyone here is - dismissed by statements like "corporations are merely voluntary associations of free individuals".

Objectivism suffers for a lack of what I can only call an Objectivist Sociology. I hate using that word for I have personally encountered little that is respectable attached to that word. But there are phenomena in human experience that cannot simply be distilled to individual atoms.

The central question of the (a) real and (b ) proper relationship of the individual has expilictly surfaced in the public discourse now and it is no coincidence. Perhaps that will provide the opportunity to clarify things.

THX for your resources and attention.

AN,

Instead of "Crony Capitalism" why not simply call it "Crony-ism"? After all the concept it reffers to is only made possible by the "mixed" part of our economy and not what's left of the "Capitalism" part. It seems wrong (and misleading) to me to taint the word Capitalism by attaching Crony to it. In fact if you want to attach the word "Crony" to something I think it would be more accurate to attach it to the word "Statist" (as in Statist Crony-ism).

It's been my experience that the general masses just sort of assume that because something involves "money", it also some how involves Capitalism. I guess the point I'm trying to make is that we should be a little more careful about how we use the word Capitalism so that we don't unintentioanlly perpatrate the misconceptions about Capitalism that are spread by it's enemies.

A=A

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I agree with you A=A and promise to be more careful. I rail at people all the time about the use of "we" or "ours", as in "our children"; no, my children are Matthew and Amanda, etc. One of my complaints here was about being careful about how things are said, wasn't it? THX!

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My purpose here was more to discuss the topic of corporations from a bit different perspective than the political speech issue. The Welch article was only one of many such public utterances circulating at the time and I don't want to discuss that piece as such. I DO think many people not only speak but act as if abstractions are real concrete things; I think many people trade on what seems like ambiguity in speaking about such things. One of my favorite targets is "society". I had a short e-mail debate with a well known liberal NY Times writer (Richard Rothstein) a long time ago. In discussing what has since emerged as the "concept" of "tax expenditures"; not taxing me was a benefit provided by government; no, I protested, it's my money; where we disagree, he said, was in the concept "your [my] money"; in a modern society I benefit from so many public entities it may be fairly said that I was appropriating Society's money and Society was only recovering what I had taken. (Sound familiar). Society, I asked? What size shorts does society wear?. I never heard from him again.

I have long admired and accepted Ayn Rand's work on a sense of life basis. I committed late last year to adopting Objectivism as the best philisophical system by which to lead a life and have effectively abandoned religion (specifically Catholicism). Abstractions - concepts - and compound abstractions - concepts based of concepts - are the propellants, the accelerants of people's prosperity and well being. So it bothers me to hear ideas that seem to be at varience with experience, with reality. That connection is the cornerstone of Objectivism; I am concerned to save it, to save Objectivism, at least for myself.

I am, truthfully, disappointed with most of waht is posted above and begging our patron's indulgence will respectfuly offer one more round of thoughts before leaving this alone.

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What's been posted that contradicts the reality of "corporations" as you see it?

They are people, in the sense that Welsh meant or should've meant; people most certainly have the right to come together to form such an entity irrespective of whether or not today's government recognizes that right; individuals have the right of contract which can included limiting liabilities in a way that parallels the limits we find in corporations, etc.

Obivously, 99.99% criticisms people have of the entities that are labelled "corporations' these days are attributable to cronyism, not valid "corporations". Where's this split between the abstractions we're talking about here and reality?

As for being disappointed in what others have put up in response to your posts:

When I made the point that when Levin talks to his audience, and when you post here, neither of you is talking to average Americans, I wasn't condescending to anyone. I was making the point that both you and ML are talking to people with a certain outlook, and so what the average American thinks of when either or you uses the term "corporation" isn't all that relevant. You not only managed to make an unwarranted assumption, but you found it necessary to point out obvious tidbits like ~"immigrants aren't stupid" (form memory).

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Well, to begin with answers, sooner than I planned: people can certainly join together in any association they wish; they can draft an agreement and id they like agree that liability - as they conceive it - can be limted to business assets; we can say they have that right; we can be logically right; I do not understand why the same limitation is not extended to proprietorships and partnerships is not granted or assumed; a point no one among the putative defenders of the individual has brought up; you and I can draw up a business agreement and say liability is limited to business assets. As a matter of fact, if little Suzy is poisoned by an undercooked hot dog at our business, and her parents sue us, our asserting that we are a limited liability corporation is no defense for your personal assets if our articles of incorporation have not been filed and approved by the state; you have the disadvantage in contending with me in this matter that I have been involved in several corporate and municipal bankruptcies ( Scottsborough Alabama, Revere Copper and Brass; Dade County Port Authority, Pan American World Airways; New Madrid Missouri, Texaco; Orange County Cal.; but also several local small business bankruptcies, as an officer in the bank's commercial loan department ( The Vogue, Genesee County Michigan, personal friends of mine) .

As far as the issue of to whom I am speaking: average people vote; average people have an opinion based on their personal experiences. To be sure, there is a question as to how many "average people" read the editorial page of the WSJ. But go look at that piece as a message for "non average people". How does it stand up then? There is precious little substance for minds like yours and mine and the presumed average reader of the WSJ editorial page. Is anyone sure, in that context, Welch really knows what he is talking about? That is, does he have the same concept of "corporation" that the average well informed Objectivist has? It isn't evident to me. I don't think you can show he has the same concept based on what was published and THAT is the problem; the ambiguity, literally the cracks in the public statements of putative "defenders" of corporations; the differences from what they say from the average person's experience is where the Progresives live and gain their leverage. That is why "our side" has to be more careful, more precise; "average people" WILL "get it"; they already get it; they would cheer the scene in AS where Francisco tells Reardon (pararphrasing) "why don't you tell them; they think YOU don't get it."

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Well, to begin with answers, sooner than I planned: people can certainly join together in any association they wish; they can draft an agreement and id they like agree that liability - as they conceive it - can be limted to business assets; we can say they have that right; we can be logical. I do not understand why the same limitation is not extended to proprietorships and partnerships is not granted or assumed; a point no one among the putative defenders of the individual has brought up;

Are you asking why we currently don't have these options as a matter of law?

Who are the putative defenders of the individual you're referring to?

you and I can draw up a business agreement and say liability is limited to business assets. As a matter of fact, if little Suzy is poisoned by an undercooked hot dog at our business, and her parents sue us, our asserting that we are a limited liability corporation is no defense for your personal assets if our articles of incorporation have not been filed and approved by the state;

That's a matter of current law practices, not the actual rights involved.

you have the disadvantage in contending with me in this matter that I have been involved in several corporate and municipal bankruptcies ( Scottsborough Alabama, Revere Copper and Brass; Dade County Port Authority, Pan American World Airways; New Madrid Missouri, Texaco; Orange County Cal.; but also several local small business bankruptcies, as an officer in the bank's commercial loan department ( The Vogue, Genesee County Michigan, personal friends of mine) .

Then I pray, oh master, please spell out your grievances a little more clearly.

Asking why current law doesn't recognize actual rights is a valid question. But what does the fact that these rights go unacknowledged have to do with what's been posted here in response to your Qs and comments? How does current law make the replies offered you detached or compounded abstractions?

Is anyone sure, in that context, Welch really knows what he is talking about? That is, does he have the same concept of "corporation" that the average well informed Objectivist has? It isn't evident to me. I don't think you can show he has the same concept based on what was published and THAT is the problem;

I think you're taking his comments a bit of context. And obviously the man need not be in agreement with either the relevant Objectivist definitions or what we've been saying here for his comments to be valid in their own context.

the ambiguity, literally the cracks in the public statements of putative "defenders" of corporations; the differences from what they say from the average person's experience is where the Progresives live and gain their leverage.

The average person, and I'm not sure how that concept got snuck in here or why, doesn't have the experiences the media, academia or the Progressives claim he has. If he did most misbehaving corporations would be out of business.

That is why "our side" has to be more careful, more precise; "average people" WILL "get it"; they already get it; they would cheer the scene in AS where Francisco tells Reardon (pararphrasing) "why don't you tell them; they think YOU don't get it."

No one has argued that "they" wouldn't get it or that they don't already have the sort of experiences that would make for an AHA! moment if and when these issues are explained to them from a better perspective, so I don't see why you keep going on and on about the average person's capacities.

ARI and the like address the mainstream perspective at times, but they probably focus more on those segments of the population that are more likely to be intellectual and/or able to bring about the necessary change: emerging intellectuals; sympathetic college students; those just old enough to be able to get something meaningful out of Miss Rand's fiction; some percentage of current intellectuals, politicians, lobbyists, etc. These are the people that inject ideas into the culture, so it makes sense to address them directly and in their context. (I would think that we're a long way from Objectivism being aimed at mainstream America, though a nice chunk of that audience is very interested and can get what it needs from the Institute, the Bookstore, various websites, local clubs, activists who are rooted in Objectivism, and, most important, from Miss Rand directly.)

In short, I fail to see what your issue is with either Levin, how "corporation" has been used here, JW's comment, what's been put up here, or how Objectivism is being "handled" by ARI, its affiliates, well-rooted activists that have a more narrow focus and more "mainstream" advocates of the philosophy.

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The short answer to one thread in this discussion is that the state of public discourse by those who want to be and posture as defenders of capitalism and business is deficient, in my opinion, for lack of specificity and for lack of connection with the general public. I didn't say anything about ARI. If the target of anyone's writing and activities is emerging intellectuals, sympathetic individuals, politicians, etc., then good luck.

Ayn Rand wrote in ITOE, as presented by Gotthelf in On Ayn Rand: The best method of clarification is to look at the concept's referents - ie, to ask what facts of reality gave rise to this concept?

If I've got things wrong, what are the defining facts of reality underlying the concept "corporation"? What differentiates "corporation" from all other forms of associations of individual human beings?

If my statement of the fact that I have had extensive experience in bankruptcies, defficiencies in public filings and other actual corporate issues was less than graceful, I apologize. I was trying to show, and stress, that my thoughts come out of experience in actual, concrete reality. Distress situations are where one sees with great clarity the real world consequences of abstractions at work.

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The short answer to one thread in this discussion is that the state of public discourse by those who want to be and posture as defenders of capitalism and business is deficient, in my opinion, for lack of specificity and for lack of connection with the general public.

The short answer would be for you to name the people you're referring to. And the need to address the general public has already been addressed, as it's not the general public that brings about the sort of changes we're talking about.

I didn't say anything about ARI. If the target of anyone's writing and activities is emerging intellectuals, sympathetic individuals, politicians, etc., then good luck.

That's the rational, one and only target. You may feel that such a course takes too long given the culture or your own expectations and desires, but the fact is that that's where change occurs.

If I've got things wrong, what are the defining facts of reality underlying the concept "corporation"? What differentiates "corporation" from all other forms of associations of individual human beings?

First, you haven't spelled out your specific concerns regarding corporations, other to point out that they enjoy certain protections limited liabilities that others don't. This has been addressed, with several points offered. Are there other issues?

And "corporations" In which context? Are you asking about how things are organized today, or are you talking about what more rational people would like to see replace the current system?

If my statement of the fact that I have had extensive experience in bankruptcies, defficiencies in public filings and other actual corporate issues was less than graceful, I apologize. I was trying to show, and stress, that my thoughts come out of experience in actual, concrete reality. Distress situations are where one sees with great clarity the real world consequences of abstractions at work.

No problem, A N Other. We're all in a similar boat.

Thing is, though, no one challenged the fact that such lawsuits happen. Nor has anyone said that lawsuits should be done away with. So I'm not sure what you're asking/concerned with.

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A N Other, this is now the third thread where you've started the same discussion about the rights of individuals organized as a corporation.

Myself and others posted extensively in these previous two threads in debate with you:

Supreme Court strikes down censorship!

Corporations and Political Speech

The idea that corporations are not really people is a red herring, and states nothing. Of course they're not; it was always an intentional abstraction. The issue is freedom of association and freedom of contract.

When you have been challenged on the philosophic issues, you then point out how corporations are involved in lobbying and speech that is harmful to our rights. And then later you start a new thread, going around all over again.

Freedom of speech means the freedom to advocate for any political system, including systems involving the initiation of force. Whether one or more individuals engage in that speech through a corporate structure, or without, does not change that. The fundamental problem is that the Constitution does not protect our rights--not the speech.

I'll quote some of my posts from the earlier threads:

To quote Ayn Rand: "A group, as such, has no rights. A man can neither acquire new rights by joining a group nor lose the rights which he does possess. The principle of individual rights is the only moral base of all groups or associations." (Ayn Rand Lexicon web site, entry for "Individual Rights", quoting from "Collectivized 'Rights,'" The Virtue of Selfishness, 102).

How does a man lose the right to fund a political campaign by virtue of operating through a corporation?

All the essential things a corporation does could be done via contract law alone, but in a very complex, convoluted manner. Corporations are the mechanism to recognize a standard arrangement.

An individual, "natural" human being can enter a contract with somebody that unilaterally limits their liability to any amount that both parties agree upon.

I also had a question for you, which was not answered in the earlier thread:

Also, can you please clarify your position:

In a purely capitalist society, without government initiation of force, would you favor these restrictions on corporate or group speech?

Or is your argument purely that these restrictions are a form of self-defense in a mixed economy?

In other words, I want to know if we are debating this quote from Ayn Rand in the abstract (whether you agree on the quote as written, or its interpretation):

A group, as such, has no rights. A man can neither acquire new rights by joining a group nor lose the rights which he does possess. The principle of individual rights is the only moral base of all groups or associations.

from The Virtue of Selfishness “Collectivized ‘Rights,’” The Virtue of Selfishness, 102., quoted at http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/individual_rights.html

Your post on Oct. 31, 2010 at 3:25pm PT hinted toward an answer, but I don't believe was clear enough.

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