Friday, December 03, 2004

Corporate Capital Punishment

If you or I shoot somebody or cause somebody bodily harm,

we will be apprehended and brought before a magistrate.

If found guilty, we will be sentenced by the judge or jury.

If our crime is grave, we may be sentenced to death in some states.

Corporations are legal persons.

Yet, they cannot generally be sentenced to death.

They cannot even be sent to prison for life.

If a corporation's directors knew that all of the assets of their corporation

could be taken and sold,

that their corporate charter would be revoked

because of their reckless endangerment,

they might behave more like normal persons.

If they knew that the could lose everything

because of a bad business policy,

the board would be more careful in its decisions.

Whether we have a moral code that guides us or not,

You and I do not take chances that recklessly endanger the lives

of our neighbors in order to make more money

because we know we could be punished.

And we could be punished with more than a fine

that can be charged off against our bottom line.

We might find ourselves in jail or in the electric chair.

Twenty years ago, a corporation recklessly endangered thousands

of Indian citizens at Bhopal.

And 4,000 died that day. Another 16,000 have died since.

Over 150,000 Indians were affected negatively.

The corporation that recklessly endangered these lives

is no longer Union Carbide.

It is Dow Chemical.

It's as if Richard Speck changed his name to Bob Jones.

An alias does not make you not guilty.

As the song goes.

Judge, Judge, listen to me Judge,

Send them to the electric chair.


4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

can't corporations lose their charter now?

11:10 PM  
Blogger OZ said...

it is possible, it is rarely done and there is no precedent for the appropriation of assets from stockholders as a punitive measure for bad cooporate behavior to my knowledge.

9:13 AM  
Blogger john3932 said...

I have been thinking along these lines and believe that Corporate Capital Punishment is achievable. If a corporation through any action kills people or creates great harm to the environment, here are the consequences I would propose:
Liquidation of all Corporate assets, proceeds used to pay off the debts first any remaining assets to the shareholders except any share holders within the corporation.
All members of the board of directors and all executives of the corporation and any executives of the offending divisions of the corporation lose: all stock in the corporation, all accrued benefits, any bonuses. In additions, said board members and execs would be barred from similar positions at any other corporation for the rest of their lives.

I believe this is the only way to restore corporate responsibility to our democracy.

I also believe this will give power to the workers to speak up and be heard when bad things are happening in a corporation.

2:50 PM  
Blogger oZ said...

right on john

9:17 PM  

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