The Mystical Body of Business: Why Corporations Have the Rights of Persons, – Dr. Eugene McCarraher

Its not widely known or understood that, in American law, the business corporation has the status of a person. Wal-Mart, Microsoft, IBM, Exxon every incorporated firm is
considered, from a legal standpoint, no differently from human beings with real flesh and blood. Its a very peculiar person, one that can own assets and yet also be owned
and therefore sold by shareholders; one whose only legal responsibility is to make profits for its owners. (Thats not just capitalist economics; its a statutory mandate.) Now of course this raises some interesting civil rights issues: if a corporation is a person, isnt owning and selling it a violation of the 13th Amendment? If employees are parts of the corporation, arent they owned and sold in exactly the same way? Is the corporation a massive civil rights issue
waiting to be identified and resolved? This class will trace the history of how corporations became people; examine some of the consequences of this peculiar metaphysical and legal transformation; and suggest alternatives to the current legal and political structure of corporate business. While the activities of corporations are often considered almost solely from the standpoint of social justice, they should also be identified as issues involving the most basic questions about persons and their rights. This may be one instance in which taking away or considerably modifying rights would further the cause of social justice.

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