I am proposing to write about the problem of corporate personhood. I plan on researching the evolution of the role and the power of the corporation. Throughout this class we have seen examples of large corporations act in their own interests rather than in the interests of its shareholders. Often times corporations operate in a more risky manner when they act out of self-interest , however since corporations where afforded rights of a person with the 14th amendments upper level management and decision managers have often gotten off the hook for crimes they have committed. Corporate personhood makes it difficult to hold the people who run corporations accountable.

Initially the privilege of incorporation “was granted selectively to enable activities that benefited the public, such as construction of roads or canals. Enabling shareholders to profit was seen as a means to that end. The states also imposed conditions (some of which remain on the books, though unused) “.   The role of the corporate initially was limited barring them from influencing elections, and public policy.  However, the corporation has transformed and has turned into an institution no longer existing for the interest of the public its newfound power has allowed it to do the just opposite. Corporations now extract many resources from the public with their own interest in mind, which allows them to grow large and powerful and have extreme sway in major arenas such as politics.

The roles of corporation began to change after the hard-fought civil war. Out of the civil war the 14th amendment was created to protect the rights of free slaves. Crafty businessmen saw this as an opportunity and used the 14th amendment to gain personhood. This afforded them “increased control over resources, jobs, commerce, politician’s even judges and the law.” I think most people think that the power and influence of corporations are problem but do not trace that problem to corporate personhood. I think in order to keep corporations accountable we have to begin at corporate personhood.

I agree that power and corruption of corporations needs to be addressed and I feel the chief way to address this problem is legislation, which would attempt to remove personhood from corporations. This would theoretically return corporations back to institutions made specifically for the public good.

This source definitely seems to have an interested perspective. However, I do not think that necessarily means that the information in it is unreliable. I think this information is trustworthy, and I will continue to research this topic to fact check the claims made by this article. 


One response »

  1. Jordi says:

    Is problem clear? Starting too. The legal scope of corporate rights through person hood are too broad or powerful.

    Is possible audience clear?
    Well, who could change this? Congress. Find the right committee?

    What kind of source is used?
    Society. THis has a point of view. Fine. THere are also scholars or others who will sing the praises of corporate structure as one of the greatest innovations ever. Maybe Neil Fligstein?

    Overall quality (engagement with source, quality of thought)
    Good focus. The history is good. You will need to flesh out the benefits of corporations and possible alternatives to corporate law or structure.

    The B corp is one I have heard of.

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