Thursday, March 17, 2011

How corporations are sociopathic

The Supreme Court, in its Citizens United decision, effectively allowed unrestrained corporate influence in American politics, based partially on the idea that corporations are legally "persons" with constitutional rights.

If corporations are indeed "persons," their mental condition can accurately be described as pathological. Corporations have no innate moral impulses, and in fact they exist solely for the purpose of making money. As such, these "persons" are systemically driven to do whatever is necessary to increase revenues and profits, with no regard for ethical issues that might nag real people.

But, you say, corporations are owned and managed by real people, so surely immoral corporate actions might be inhibited by them? Well, not really. First of all, the officers and directors who run corporations are actually duty-bound to act in the corporation's best financial interest, and that means they are obliged to do whatever they can within the law to make money. Thus, this fiduciary duty requires corporate management to set aside ethical niceties when they get in the way of corporate profits. This is why tobacco companies market their products to kids when they can - only laws prohibiting such conduct will keep them from doing so.

This is especially true when we are dealing with large, publicly traded corporations. Whereas a small corporation could have local ownership, management, and community roots that might resist the drive for profit in certain situations, publicly traded corporations almost always answer to institutional investors and have tremendous pressure to produce short-term profits. The management chain in a publicly traded corporation is necessarily geared for profit, not ethics.

Thus, the entity is a "person" with a totally self-absorbed psyche, a narcissistic "person" that has enormous resources to advertise and market itself to the public, to hire professionals of all types to influence public opinion, to litigate and lobby as needed, to ruthlessly pursue its goal of revenue and profit, and to join other corporations and industry associations in crushing any opposition posed by mere individuals or public interest groups.

- Dave Niose


  1. Wonderfully well thought out thesis. Unfortunately we are experiencing the horrors of a world where corporations are considered entities worthy of human status.

  2. Corporations know how to save lives "But its a Trade Secret" Sorry Japan .. I know that pellets are used to cool reactors but I have been sworn to secrecy. "Be Safe" and over come Adversity with Knowledge. #Safety First You can't trust a corporation or Government that can not have full dissclosure and transparience. Check my Spelling for me ..