A chronological glance at the inverse relationship between Corporate Personification and the Individual Depersonalization
Originally published by Illumination Curated on Medium
Photo by Michael on Unsplash
The United States is a federal republic. The country constitutes fifty states, one federal district, five territories, and several uninhabited islands. It is considered the world's oldest surviving federation; and a representative democracy in which the minority rights; influence majority rule, today "at least theoretically," protected by the constitution.
As of 2018, U.S. ranked only 25th on the Democracy Index. On Transparency International's 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index, its standing plummeted to 69 in 2019 from 76 in 2015.
In the American decentralized system, constitutionally, citizens are subject to three levels of government: federal, state, and local. However, the latter is giving way to the centralized universalist system. The provincial government's duties as a sovereign county and municipal administrations are losing power. Also, the authority of congress, its elected official's influence is becoming just a matter of formality.
It seems, checks and balances of the government are being passed along the chain of command by the federal administration or trying to be that way. And The original text of the constitution that meant to establish the assembly and errands of the federal administration and its affiliation with the individual states is becoming a one-way street, or as I would like to describe it, the matter of "Take it or leave it."
Although the constitution is very clear on its vision and mission, nonetheless has acquired 27 amendments; some include loopholes to unique interest factions and corporate cartels. The first ten amendments comprise the Bill of Rights, and the Fourteenth Amendment forms the central basis of Americans' rights. All laws and constitutional procedures are subject to judicial review, and any law ruled by the courts to violate the constitution is void.
The United States constitution is excellent. The founding fathers are clear on what could make a country prosperous. That is not merely as a country; but also for every person in its constituency. The U.S. constitution also offered the same values to the rest of the world as it wanted for its citizens. Indeed, the real American vision is for everyone to live by their local values and collaborate. But during the previous span, it has been noticeable that government roles are being reversed, placing fifty states under the micromanagement rule of the federal government. Such a trend has created an extraordinarily polar and hostile environment in the American political arena.
The U.S. transition along the path as an industrialized nation while trying to sustain a top rank in the consumer-driven market has placed itself under the radar of Corporate entities, right from the nation's birth post declaration of independence. Within the process, the more the corporations clasped the control on the federal government, the weaker became the significance of individual liberty in the eyes of legislatures.
Universal legislations and turning them into a one hundred percent top-down system is feasible to the corporations. It is easier and less costly to manipulate a country as a whole top-down system of governance than dealing with individual communities or people.
The American Constitution is for Individual Liberty
Many constitutional stipulations compel the federal government to value the individual citizen's fundamental rights. But unfortunately, those rights are under attack with the expansion of corporate strongholds and corporatism. Some civil liberties were stated in the original text, conspicuously in the provisions pledging trial by jury in criminal cases, the writ of habeas corpus, forbidding bills of attainder, and ex post facto laws. Constitution added other significant limitations to the government's power over the individual in 1791 in the Bill of Rights. Those include the rights of conscience, such as freedom of religion, speech, the press, and peaceful gathering and entreaty. Other guarantees in the Bill of Rights necessitate fair trials for persons accused of a crime, including prevention of unreasonable search and seizure, compulsory self-incrimination, double jeopardy, and excessive bail. The bill of rights also guarantees speedy public trial by a local, independent jury before a fair judge and representation by counsel.
During the confirmation of the bill of rights, many state lawmakers expressed concern over the lack of protection of individual liberties. In response, thus, the first congress enacted twelve amendments to the constitution, ten of which were also endorsed by the states and became known collectively as the Bill of Rights.
The bill of rights was initially interpreted as restrictions only on the federal government's power, not the states; however, it was not until the 20th century that courts upheld those over the individual states.
Today Civil rights and affirmative action are getting scrutinized but not enough. Indeed, individual and civil liberties are being manipulated (with scant exception) and conveyed in ways that are only clear to the handler. Today, we see massive individual and civil rights violations, reflecting the global sociopolitical realm's status quo.
Civil rights are explained today, daring us to voice certain rights and individual rights as formulated in the classical-liberal attitude. Although The choices amongst all rights are only about phony rights and genuine rights, which is supposed to be simple, ironically, it is not! For instance, claiming healthcare as a right vs.- Health as a right is one point out! Or categorizing free speech into hate speech while painting acts of hatred as hate speech, etc.
The whole notion of civil rights is about non-discrimination against the right. The undivided civil rights arrangement is committed to marking out acumen against particular minority groups, including blacks, Hispanics, and women. But the whole misconception is that mission of stamping out in such a "profiled" method (Black, Women, Hispanic, etc.) over discrimination is so single-minded that discernment against vulnerable groups is tolerable. Even overbearing if that is what it takes to end perspicacity against other minorities or individuals.
Sometimes governments explicitly restrain the economic activities of targeted groups, such as blacks. The array of regulations known as "Jim Crow laws" falls into that category, which authorized discrete facilities for black people, such as railroad cars. Even though the neo-liberals do not usually recognize, many white businesspeople opposed such dictates at the very least for being costly. Or The case of Plessy v. Ferguson, where a black man tried to sit in a whites-only train car, was brought with the white railroad owner's cooperation. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected to strike down the law mandating "separate but equal" facilities.
Today, there is a conflict between the right not to be discriminated against and the right to free association, despite the constitution being clear about governments' and individuals' roles. The right to free association is logically involved in the fundamental right to life or self-ownership. The latter holds that an individual may do anything with his spirit and legitimately acquired property that does not involve the indoctrination of force upon another person. But such liberty is contrary to the benefit of the corporate collectivist mission.
Founding Fathers did not Predict the Corporate takeover of America
The Founding Fathers of the United States united the Thirteen British occupied Colonies, leading the war for independence from that empire. They built a frame of government country, i.e., The United States of America, based on the republican principles where every individual can achieve their dream.
The United States' founding fathers envisioned their novel country as a nation where every individual can be what they desire. A country where the government works for people and not the other way around. They were apparent that central government power and size must be limited to accomplish a free republic in its true definition. The Founding fathers saw their country as an open market, with citizens embracing a competitive spirit. They underestimated, particularly after the declaration of independence, to be the inherent legal form of the corporation from Britain, which guaranteed certain privileges to institutions, organizations, and municipal governments. In reality, what we are witnessing today is the complex epitome of the ancient system of monopoly.
Immediately after the constitution's birth, novel state lawmakers decided not to abolish the inherited corporations from British colonial times. Instead, they decided to reform them into a democratic representation and compatible with the spirit of independence and the federal republic's mission. So, the first American corporations ended up occurring as cities and schools and few charitable organizations. By the 1790s, other industries such as banks, companies that would build canals, turnpikes, and bridges adapted corporate statuses.
At their inception, Corporations reckoned to favor small republics, with directors balancing interests among shareholders. However, when they printed material or conducted correspondence, it was usually named the "President, Directors, and Shareholders of a Company. Later on, the Supreme Court ordered that restricting corporate political spending amounted to limiting free speech. In this view, corporations are pretty much equivalent to people, which would not have been highly unlikely to be acceptable to the Founding Fathers.
The Founders of the U.S. constitution probably had a different perception of what corporations could do. They could also differentiate amid various forms of association and assumed that corporate personhood was legal nonfiction only limited to a courtroom. But they never anticipated the extent to which corporate personification could disrupt individual liberty.
One of the novel tenacities of corporate charters in the United States was to allow people to file complaints and be prosecuted in a court of law. It wasn't required to form a joint-stock company and create an entity that held its bylaws and directors and could enter into contracts and impose them in courts. Indeed, What the corporate charter ensured was that it granted additional rights to the joint-stock company context.
Birth of the Corporations Defined the Modern Imperialism
Before introducing the corporate system into the united states and its perpetual infiltration of U.S. administration and republic, the British Empire was using the corporate weapon (then called Charters) and Royal imperialism practice worldwide. At the time, they existed in the form of royal charters or formal concessions allotted by a monarch under royal privilege as letters patent. For instance, the English Magna Carta (great charter) of 1215 is one prominent historical example. Such alliances are still used to establish vital organizations such as municipal charters, universities, and learned societies. The British monarchy has declared over 1,000 royal charters, of which, as of today, about 750 remain in existence.
The East India Trading Company was instituted in the the1600. At that time, it was considered a vast and powerful entity. It carried a royal charter by Queen Elizabeth I, who, at the time, granted it a monopoly over the business with Asia.
The company hired thousands of workers globally. It was considered the most potent "multinational corporation" in the world.
“Imagine a company with the power of Google or Amazon, yielded a state-sanctioned monopoly and the right to collect taxes overseas?!”
The trading company's influence did not stop there. It owned Singapore and Penang's ports and played a significant role in developing cities, including Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai. It was one of the principal employers in Britain and, internationally, in India. It encompassed a military of 260,000 local service members. It shaped everyday life in England and Europe, from the tea the English started to drink to the calicoes they took to wearing.
“Imagine a company with the magnetism of Google or Amazon, imparted a state-sanctioned monopoly and the right to collect taxes abroad — and also with MI6 (British Intelligence agency) and the army at its disposal.” “Does it seem familiar in today’s Corporate and political realm?”
From its endowment by royal charter to its capacity to appropriate armies, the East India Company was an output of its era, which expanded British colonialism into the United States and the rest of the world.
English Rule, Corporations after U.S. Independence, and Occupation of the Political Scenery
The first major industrial corporation occurred as the Boston Manufacturing Co. in 1813, originally imported from Great Britain during the colonial era. Within the first year after the revolution, Small banking corporations formed.
When American settlers declared independence from England in 1776, they tried to liberate themselves from the control of English corporations that mined their wealth and conquered trade deals. After fighting an uprising to end this exploitation, our country's authors engaged a healthy fear of corporate power and prudently limited corporations solely to a business protagonist. At the time, corporations were outlawed from making an effort to influence elections, public policy, and other dominions of civic culture.
Initially, the privilege held by corporations was granted selectively merely to enable activities that benefited the public, like the building of roads or bridges. Empowering stakeholders to profit was seen as a means to that culmination. The states also imposed conditions (some remain on the books, though unused).
World War II created a period of unique American corporate authority until Japanese competition in world markets in the 1980s. Since then, corporations have played a crucial yet contentious role in the economic, political, and cultural identity of the United States and the world, wielding easy access to capital and business development as the driving force behind the American Industrial Revolution.
Railroad, Corporations and the Game-Changing Court Decision
Railroad litigation's historical story in the faith of corporations deserves a glance at the history of slavery in the United States; because slavery rests at American capitalism and corporations' foundation. In the colonial days and shortly after, corporations were often synonymous with the sugar, tobacco, and cotton plantations that fueled the Southern economy. However, many Americans don't know that slavery also rests at the foundation of many prominent corporations. From New York Life to Bank of America, many companies have availed of slavery. Over 15 major corporations have benefited in one way or another from slavery, including Lehman Brothers, JP Morgan Chase, Aetna, New York Life, etc. Among those companies was the Southern Pacific Railroad, owned by the robber baron Leland Stanford.
In 1881, after California legislators exacted a special tax on railroad property, Southern Pacific fought back, making a bold dispute that the law was an act of unconstitutional discernment under the Fourteenth Amendment. Mothered after the Civil War to protect freed slaves' rights, that amendment guarantees every "person" the "equal protection of the laws." Stanford's railroad contended that it was a person too, arguing that just as the Constitution prohibited discrimination based on the legislators' racial identity, so did its bar discrimination against Southern Pacific based on its corporate personality. Around the time that corporations were discriminating against specific individuals, the same or similar corporations were trying to get the status of personhood only to avoid taxation. Hence, it upheld the personhood of the Southern Pacific Railroad!
Corporate Personification and Corporatism
Corporatism pertains to various associational behavior in many shapes and forms. In a corporatist system, organizations are less competitive than in pluralism and where particular interests, including labor and capital, are prioritized within the scheme of interest expression. The personification, collective power granted corporate entities, so their mission goes beyond mere possibility.
Corporation's primary initiative is to exploit the value of its stocks and maximize dividends. While pursuing that mission, they have pioneered balancing the key fiscal objective using auxiliary rudiments such as societal, political, and environmental instruments to sponsor the calming down stakeholders and ease further profiteering.
Big corporations with political and fiscal leverage are the largest annihilators of fair competition. They take advantage of the free market when they can but offer monopolized service to the consumers.
Historically, the Southern railroad corporation's court ruling has gotten a kick out of personhood's overindulgence, utilizing the collective influence of corporate stakeholders, money, and technology. Today, they are on the brim of drilling into the ability to browse into the human mind, a passport to their personal information without breaking a single law. Just as if they have the charter from the government. They are enriched by amassing intelligence (Artificial) and acquiring minds of their own. To make a" thing" to shadow learn human behavior was considered a matter of absurdity. With the current advances in vast databases, tapping into data mining strategies, and deep learning through intricate mathematical algorithms, such aspiration is nothing short of a fantasy come to become a reality. Modern Corporations are cruising in the ocean of free yet precious data.
The forfeit of individuals to the unconditional collective action of the corporate cartel and corporatism is extant. They deter public perception through social media and full access to raw yet sensitive information, even more- entertaining marketing power and political backing of the legislators.
Legal kickback for Corporations
Various policies on unfair business practices, such as stark law, kickback, extortion, and favoritism, exist for legal and ethical reasons. However, some big corporations are exempt from kickback and extortion's legal ramifications under the corporatist scheme. Just a few to name are pharmaceutical, insurance companies.
The federal Anti-Kickback Statute is a healthcare fraud and abuse statute that prohibits the exchange of remuneration — which the statute defines broadly as anything of value — for referrals for services payable by a federal program in the context of physicians. Although this law is strictly applicable to physician practices, however to the irony, it is vague in the case of corporations such as some Health maintenance organizations (HMO), where what defines a kickback for a physician is practiced under safe harbor by the managed care systems.
Corporatism as the Political Foundation of the Corporate Cartel
Corporatism, Corporate statism, or state corporatism all point to political culture and the cooperative system between people. Those people who find themselves on common grounds use the entity (The Corporation) as a Socioeconomic, political, and legal shield against others. In a way, corporatism is nothing short of well-organized fascism whose devotees hold that the corporate assemblage, which is the basis of society, is, in fact, "the state." That is the state which requires every member of an appropriate economic division to enter an officially designated interest club. Such interest clubs consequently attain public rank, and they participate in national policymaking. The outcome would entail a state with significant control over the groups and groups possessing unrivaled control over their members.
Let us clarify that; not every corporation needs to be corporatist, as no single individual is fascist or racist. However, almost every corporation has the potential to adopt a corporatist stance by using the shortcut approach. That is a deviant corporation once facing fierce competition in its market that would conveniently alienate its original tactical mission and align its strategic plans to ensure its members' financial success. Corporate fascists have conveniently accomplished such deviation and success. They have done that through personification, government charters, and consolidative schemes.
Corporatist society typically avoids the ills of laissez-faire capitalism, in which individual autonomy and free-market capitalism is the core player. Corporatism recognized private initiative and private property, however, with limits. It disregards personal interest by prioritizing the welfare of its shareholders.
“As often mistaken, a corporate system of trade is not a true free-market economy.”
The Concept of Syndicalism, Guild Socialism, Corporatism as Practical Cartel-Building, and Left/Right Fusionism
Over the past centuries, Similar organizational concepts to corporatism emerged from the Left-wing socialist ideologies. They Connected Pierre-Joseph Proudhon's federalism with socialism, industrial and trade unionism. Syndicalism meant to organize society through local and partly autonomous workers' cooperatives federated into national associations, realizing the unity of each industry or profession. Having sidelined those units, the capitalists would eventually replace the state, as seen with the rise of communist governments.
In World War I, Italy, many syndicalists, aflame with nationalism and militarism. They abandoned their prewar anarchism for "national syndicalism" and flocked into the Fascist movement. In 1919 Gabriele D'Annunzio — radical artist, Futurist poet, and war veteran — declared a "corporative state" at Fiume in Croatia. Reaching power in Italy in 1922 and establishing an outright dictatorship in 1925, Benito Mussolini's Fascist Party had an entirely corporative state in place by the mid-1930s.
Lobbyism and Corporations
Today corporatists and Corporations spend over $2.6 billion a year on lobbying. The biggest companies have over 100 lobbyists representing them. Amongst those are labor fusionist unions and public-interest groups. For American Business and Public Policy, opportunities to maneuver are distinctly limited. Its staff is mediocre. Its typical problem is not the influencing of Congressional votes but finding the clients and contributors to enable it to survive in the first place against the large corporations. Founders of the constitution knew what corporations' potentials are; nonetheless, they seem to have failed to predict the extent to which they will gain power that will also hinder smaller entities and individuals from prevailing. By allowing individuals to lobby, they intended to make sure the government works for the people and is under checks and balances, but not the other way around.
Naturally, Lobbying power and personification by themselves was not sufficient to place corporations on the world stage. Their structure and how to navigate the socioeconomic mindset have always been an additional prerogative for their corporatist ambitions.
Corporatism, and the Socioeconomic Monopoly in the era of Data and Data Mining
Information is power. It is a form of personal or collective governance based on controlling information needed by others to reach an important goal. Today, every sovereign society relies on information power as knowledge for influence, decision-making, trustworthiness, and control.
Data is the raw public informational power widespread across cyberspace and data silos. In the past couple of decades, corporations have also found great interest in curbing private information through various practices to extract and utilize personal data, thus "Data Mining."
Corporations use Data mining to discover patterns in large data sets involving processes at the conjuncture of machine learning, statistics, and database systems. It is the 21st-century edition of the so-called state-monopoly capitalism, also referred to as stamocap. The latter description was of the original Marxist thesis, followed by Leninism promoted in 1916. Big businesses (Corporations) had converted the "laissez-faire capitalism" into monopoly capitalism. Hence, with the birth of communism, Lenin intended to establish an environment where the state intervenes in the economy. He devised communism to shield larger monopolistic or oligopolistic businesses from fulminations.
With the advancement of corporate monopoly and corporatism, and now with data piracy worldwide, the sustenance of humanity in poverty is becoming more prominent. The aforementioned is something that the founding fathers of the U.S. constitution would probably never have foreseen. The declaration of independence never intended to divide all the profits among the most potent group because it created an opportunity for everyone in an open and unrestricted market space.
Globalism, the Ultimate Frontier for the Corporations
Globalization is merely defined as how businesses or other organizations develop international magnetism or start operating globally. There are many prevailing definitions and perceptions of the latter concept. Nonetheless, the most common theory is that the phrase is used to describe the growing interdependence of the world's economies, cultures, and populations brought through cross-border trade in assets and services, technology, and streams of investment and data.
As we covered earlier in this piece, Corporations have always endeavored to expand their influence globally. However, with the advent of information technology, the internet, and the virtual marketplace, they have become even more sophisticated and robust in pursuing their generations-old initiatives. The proponents of economic globalization define it as a necessary means to homogenize the economy. They envision that based on economic and technological dynamism that unfolded over centuries into their present form, almost as if they were powered by nature.
Global trading activity and concepts of free trade have always existed. They are an ideal phenomenon, particularly in the philosophy of the free-market economy. Still, corporatism and state-monopoly capitalism's vision do somewhat differ concerning the definition of the free market. Even the earlier versions of globalization were entirely different from the modern versions: scale, pace, influence, and intention. The current variant of globalization has risen directly from establishments and rules devised on human beings' mission for a particular goal. It has been designed to give priority to the financial gain of corporations and their values. And to succeed, they must align their strategies, arm themselves, and aim globally, then to the skies.
Globalization, particularly economic globalization, undermines every value, excluding economic ideals. It enshrines the syndicated market and its principal players, i.e., the corporations, as the process's engines and patrons.
Corporatism is the Neo-Feudalism
Neo-feudalism, also referred to as "new feudalism," refers merely to the rebirth of traditional governance policies, economy, and public life reminiscent within present corporations, institutions, and organizations. It still follows the same rules as many typical feudal societies, such as unequal rights and legal protections for standard bodies, for nobility, or in the contemporary sense- the corporate executives.
The concept of "neo-feudalism" focuses on class stratification, globalization, and neoconservative foreign policy. That includes mass immigration/illegal immigration, open borders policies, multinational corporations, and "neo-corporatism."
Liberalism, Populism- all Provision Corporatism
It is a common belief that corporatism is utterly a conservative concept. Some take it even further, blaming the corporate takeover of the country and the globe on laissez-faire capitalism. Those who take such a radical stance against the free market see themselves as liberals or progressive. The same people commonly support Guild socialism, syndicalism, and even globalization of the economy, all who are various forms of corporate schemes, such as labor unions. The irony of all is that majority, if not all, neo-liberals believe that the U.S. is the country of opportunity. Again, they condemn large corporations, corporatism, and corporate personification. But they are also pro-supporting certain large corporations through subsidies and tax breaks, including Health maintenance organizations, Unions, and bureaus such as the Environmental agency.
To the same extent, the neo-populists are for small businesses. Still, their elected officials support another group of corporations, including the energy industry, the military-industrial complex, and the national rifle association (NRA).
As founders envisioned, what just mentioned only implies one thing: not the populace and lawmakers seem to be in charge of the national affairs. But it is the corporate cartel with their corporatist ambitions that controls everyone's fate.
Corporatism Today is not the Free Market Economy American Founders Foresaw
The 21st-century neo-feudalists, such as "The Good Club or Corporate Lords," intend to Save the World under the title; Philanthropists. The latter group includes Bill Gates, George Soros, Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, David Rockefeller, and Ted Turner. According to a Global Policy Forum report, the Good Club uses its endless wealth and influence with political and scientific royalties. They intend their organizations to advance solutions to global crises that may undermine the United Nations (U.N.) and other international organizations. At the same time, users legitimize their intention based on popular collective consciousness and humanitarianism. Nevertheless, they are planning to unleash various technologies to collect and use public data on the side. For example, using surveillance programs to contain the COVID-19 pandemic where, in fact, it merely intends to track citizens and collect vital yet private information.
Corporations have devised their exclusive systems of law and shield themselves from public administration. While citizens are guarded against irrational explorations and apprehending by constitutional constraints on government surveillance, the tech moguls know far more about us, often with our "approval," than the government. They have fought off the government's efforts to regulate their use of personal data. Instead, companies such as Google, Apple, and Amazon have invented their constitution, buried in unclear service standings, to govern users' consent to personal data's commercial use. If they fail to cut governments' hands-off their valuable data by any chance, they simply partner with the governments. Or- The pharmaceutical industry is a hotbed of privatized law despite the reality that most drug discoveries are ultimately underwritten by taxpayers, either through the National Institute of Health (NIH) grants or through increased health insurance premiums.
By viewing history, we can observe the transmigration of Feudalism (or better phrase it as the Neo-Feudalism). Except, in this case, the lords are the corporations and people the serfs.
The American constitution has been bent, as it is nothing like what is defined in the original U.S. makeup. The law of the land today is only written for display in the museum. Today executive orders are implemented as quickly as 1,2,3, and congresses vote seems to be the sentiment. The capitalism of yesterday has turned into the crony capitalism of today. The future appears grave, as Globalism and corporatism will potentially abolish individual and even social values. The corporate neo-feudalism will most likely create a world that will benefit the lords, corporatize the human culture without healthy, diverse societies at the expense of loss of opportunity for individuals. Hence, the current status quo is simply in contrast to America's founding fathers' vision and mission. So, let us maintain the notion; "We the People" and dodge the terminus- "We the serfs."