Corporations are not people, and should not be

posted 22 January 2010

The US supreme court, in a split decision, has ruled that corporations are people, free to spend on political campaign advertising as a form of free speech. This is a terrible decision that threatens the foundation of democracy.

Corporations have different goals to people. They are about their own survival, and act in nobody's interests but their own. Customers? They're out to screw them for every cent the market will bear. Ditto suppliers. Employees? There to be used up and thrown away as soon as it's profitable to get rid of them. Executives? To be sacrificed every time the stock drops, or forced out as part of a merger or acquisition. Shareholders? Love them -- until things get tough. Then declare chapter 11, wipe them out, and find some new suckers.

By declaring corporations people, we have created a new species, parasitic upon our own, and significantly stronger. Corporations will suck us in, use us up, and spit us out, without regard for wealth or class. There will be no lucky ones: we will all be the losers. Once they are in control, the best efforts of humanity will be subjugated to the survival of the corporations. They will wreck our environment, because they do not need to breathe. They have no interest in our health or our life-spans. They don't care whether we're happy, and they don't care if we like them. They only care about other corporations.

Democracy is government by the people and for the people. By declaring corporations people we subvert democracy, pushing towards political goals that are dramatically contrary to our own interests as human beings. This is a genie that needs to be put back in its bottle, immediately, before it is too late.