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    (Original post by ArthurOliver)
    The corporations we're generally familiar with are usually functioning as one element of an oligopoly.

    The problem with olig's is that where you have 3 or 5 big corps dominating a market the result for the consumer, the governments, and the smaller businesses which feed the corps and rely on their business, is the same as where you have an out and out monopoly.

    Common interest and welfare means that corps are able to fix prices, wages, together make demands on government to produce qualified worker-ants, intervene and bail out in hard times, and fund R&D.

    The neo-classical, competitive market is dead, and the corps don't just control the market, they control society. They control Objectivism and Bismarck too.
    Agreed, many of the socail scientists that I talk to refer to the US as an oligarchy rather than a democracy.
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    (Original post by Bismarck)
    How about you stick to hunting buffalo with bows and arrows, and I'll live in a modern Western society? Nobody's stopying from making that choice. Since you don't take it, you obviously value your standard of living more than you do some ancient culture.
    I wasn't aware that the UK was full of arrow-shooting buffalo hunters before the dawn of corporations (of which I have not criticized all).

    (Original post by Bismarck)
    Did someone force her to buy the car? Why do you want to force private entities to do what you want instead of giving people the option to do whatever they want with their money? It is obvious that freedom means very little to you.
    GM deliberately made their cars in a way that would save money for their shareholders, despite knowing that this would be greatly increasing the chances of people dying in accidents using their cars. The cost to GM of ensuring that the fuel tanks in their Malibu model cars was estimated (by the company themselves) to be $8.59 per car, whilst the cost of each fuel-tank caused fatality was calculated to be $2.40 (taking into account all 41m GM cars on the roads at this point). Consequently, they figured out that they could save $6.19 per car if they allowed the increased possibility of people dying in them rather than bothering to fix the problem.

    You accept that. You may say "it is obvious that freedom means very little to" me, but apparently it's obvious that human safety and life means very little to you.

    (Original post by Bismarck)
    If the costs of production were to increase in the third world (without an offsetting increase in productivity), why would corporations want to build factories there? The average Western worker is much more productive than the average third world worker. Right now, the wages per unit of productivity roughly the same in both places. If the cost of production increases in the third world, then all factories in the third world become unprofitable relative to their Western counterparts.
    Does this mean that the guard-beatings, lack of toilet breaks, and lack of basic sanitation within the sweatshops themselves are justified?
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    (Original post by objectivism)
    So you think they should betray the people who fund them? Take their money but pay wages far above the market. I don't believe in deceit. If they did what you said they would not employee anyone because they would not go there as there would be no advantage i.e cheap labour. It would merely lead to more poverty for a longer time.People would be prostitutes not facotry workers. Do you think that's better?
    Would it not be within the scope of corporations to increase wages within sweatshops by some amount, without nullifying the advantage of massively cheap labour? Is it really that black and white? Even if your answer is 'no' - are the beatings, lack of toilet breaks, lack of sanitation etc justifiable in any case? Fair enough if you want to play a part in that, I will try to avoid it as far as I possibly can.

    Corporations don't have a duty to people in the third world, they have a duty to the people who fund them - shareholders. A moral duty. If this did not exist corporations would not bother, as people would not invest, why woudl you, if you know your money is going on charity and not making money? Of course without corporations there is mass unemployment, no products, no choice, no progress. This is what your views lead to and this is why they are immoral
    Rich businessmen chasing more money whilst feeling no "duty to people in the third world", whilst apparently feeling no real human compassion whatsoever, is not what I would call "progress".
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    Would it not be within the scope of corporations to increase wages within sweatshops by some amount, without nullifying the advantage of massively cheap labour? Is it really that black and white? Even if your answer is 'no' - are the beatings, lack of toilet breaks, lack of sanitation etc justifiable in any case?

    In the long term yes. Also don't exaggerate, many corporations have very good conditions e.g Nike in Vietnam has only 8 hr days, air conditioning, bonuses, education opportunities and unions.
    Fair enough if you want to play a part in that, I will try to avoid it as far as I possibly can.
    Than you think prostitution is better?


    Rich businessmen chasing more money whilst feeling no "duty to people in the third world", whilst apparently feeling no real human compassion whatsoever, is not what I would call "progress".
    What is progress? Taking money from others to spend on what you call moral. That is the mentality of a thief.
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    (Original post by ArthurOliver)
    The corporations we're generally familiar with are usually functioning as one element of an oligopoly.

    The problem with olig's is that where you have 3 or 5 big corps dominating a market the result for the consumer, the governments, and the smaller businesses which feed the corps and rely on their business, is the same as where you have an out and out monopoly.

    Common interest and welfare means that corps are able to fix prices, wages, together make demands on government to produce qualified worker-ants, intervene and bail out in hard times, and fund R&D.

    The neo-classical, competitive market is dead, and the corps don't just control the market, they control society. They control Objectivism and Bismarck too.
    This is nonsence. Capitalism opposes force thus all can enter the market thus monopolies are not created. The only one who can create a monopoly is that body which has a monopoly of force: the state.

    Corps are not taking over the world. Look at the increased environmental regulations, increased taxes and increased state power we are seeing across the world. Corporations need the state to maintain property rights and law and order. What you advocate is a trendy notion put around by a bunch of second raters who don't understand economics.
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    (Original post by objectivism)
    In the long term yes. Also don't exaggerate, many corporations have very good conditions e.g Nike in Vietnam has only 8 hr days, air conditioning, bonuses, education opportunities and unions.
    Source?

    Than you think prostitution is better?
    No, but I'm not willing to support one thing just because the alternative is worse. I'd rather make efforts to try and secure an alternative.

    What is progress? Taking money from others to spend on what you call moral. That is the mentality of a thief
    Not extracting every possible opportunity, no matter what the costs, can not seriously be considered thieving.
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    Source?
    Open World: The Truth about Globalisation pg 54-69 by Phillipe Legrain


    No, but I'm not willing to support one thing just because the alternative is worse. I'd rather make efforts to try and secure an alternative.

    But in the long term it is a wonderful alternative. And the MORE people that support it the fewer years this has to last as shown by the fact that these conditions only laster 30 yrs in S. Korea but 150 in the UK.

    By not supporting this, you are supporting in efect prostition, and a life of crime and drugs. Your putting your high and mighty morals before the lives of these people. Thus you don;t really care about them, just yourself when it comes down to it.



    Not extracting every possible opportunity, no matter what the costs, can not seriously be considered thieving.
    Taking someone's money saying it will be used to make as much money as possible and than going spending it on something else is theft or precisely fraud. It has nothing to do with how many coutries are afected, it is a qualitive issue not quantative. Something is wrong whether one person does it or a million.
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    (Original post by objectivism)
    But in the long term it is a wonderful alternative. And the MORE people that support it the fewer years this has to last as shown by the fact that these conditions only laster 30 yrs in S. Korea but 150 in the UK.

    By not supporting this, you are supporting in efect prostition, and a life of crime and drugs. Your putting your high and mighty morals before the lives of these people. Thus you don;t really care about them, just yourself when it comes down to it.
    And whose doing is it that this is the situation? Your beloved corporations.

    Taking someone's money saying it will be used to make as much money as possible and than going spending it on something else is theft or precisely fraud. It has nothing to do with how many coutries are afected, it is a qualitive issue not quantative. Something is wrong whether one person does it or a million.
    Well the entire process of making as much money as possible no matter what the costs is morally disgusting to me. There are some things in life that are more important than money.

    Question for you - do you think such a single minded pursuit would be acceptable if one person was doing it? As in, one person doing everything they could to make money, irrespective of the consequences to everyone else?
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    And whose doing is it that this is the situation? Your beloved corporations.
    A lack of cheap technolgy, fortunately corporations have advanced so much in the past 200 yrs its cheaper and therefore they install it, for example Nike has air conditioning in Vietnam. The more people support corp th more they can afford to do these things.



    Well the entire process of making as much money as possible no matter what the costs is morally disgusting to me. There are some things in life that are more important than money.

    Again you fail to see that it is not about money but freedom. whats wrong with money? It is a way people survive, it brings happiness, it allows lives to be saved, it allows a wife to leave her abusive husband, it allows parents to plese their children. WOult you take away these things? Do you thikn these things are wrong. Money is merely a means, why can't you see this?


    Question for you - do you think such a single minded pursuit would be acceptable if one person was doing it? As in, one person doing everything they could to make money, irrespective of the consequences to everyone else?
    As long as they don't infirnge on the freedom of others they should do it and those they emply are there voluntarily.
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    (Original post by Tonight Matthew)
    Very general question.

    What do you think of "the corporation" as an institution? Can corporations safely coexist with the longer term interests of humanity as a whole? Should they be further regulated by government? Do you think corporations are a positive or negative thing, overall?

    Or just whatever you think, really.
    Corporations are simply a particular legal construct for business... they have no meaning or significance per se. What they mean is simply that those who run them are no personally liable for the debts of the company, it is a separate entity. They have contributed to the growth of the economy, entrepreneurial spirit, provide massive amounts of revenue and thus pay for nurses, doctors, teachers, policemen, and really anything you care to name. They have increased competition, employment, innovation, research and development, led to new drugs, technology, etc...



    Essentially they are fonts of manna for society. Of course they can do wrong, and aren’t perfect - the socialists and communists on this board will complain about them bitterly and point these shortcomings out to you... however that isn’t really the point - the point is - on the whole do they do more good than bad? Simple and patent answer really... that is if you are a fan of all of those things in the above paragraph. If not ... then fine ...



    Should they be regulated? Of course, just as all human beings and businesses need some regulation - should a business be able to pollute a river without paying to clean it up? Of course not.



    The question is one of internalizing the external detriments caused by companies. Thus you tax them, or force them to correct what one considers to be excessive detriment, and unnecessarily callous behavior. Especially internationally there are often standards that are far too low. However, in the end, market forces can often correct these behavioral problems. What needs to be done is to give consumers the information about the behavior of some companies, and a culture of social responsibility needs to be fostered - so that the consumer of base of the company takes more into account than the price.



    In short - are companies a good thing.



    Absolutely.



    Are they all good and no bad?



    Of course not - but then what is?
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    (Original post by Kondar)
    Agreed, many of the socail scientists that I talk to refer to the US as an oligarchy rather than a democracy.
    You mean one small group of people have more votes than most Americans combined? I didn't realize our political system was "one dollar, one vote". :rolleyes: No doubt the social scientists you talk to are working for the Chinese government.
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    (Original post by objectivism)
    Most people think their age is at 'a tipping point', that is the crucial time. Most are wrong.
    But some are right. If a 5th-century Roman had said the end was near, he would doubtless have been told "Oh everyone always says that." A 15th-century Vatican priest with misgivings, or a late 18th-century French noble, probably met with the same reproach.




    Please explain.
    Okay. To recap: First I alluded to the fact that the profit motive led the beef industry straight to mad cow disease. You had said, "It is in more capitalist coutries that such scandals are discovered e. Stewart, Enron." My response was "As for corporate scandals being 'discovered,' Mad Cow is 'discovered' everywhere someone comes down with it." ...Meaning that England and the U.S. are unique for having outbreaks of mad cow disease, not for publicizing them.


    Domestically the US has strict pollution regulations. For example the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) regulations require property owners to eliminate lead-based paint and asbestos. According to the Mountain States Legal Foundation, over 1,300 species are now listed as endangered.
    Since Reagen, OSHA has been so understaffed it can't enforce these rules effectively. According to The American Prospect, "during the Reagan years, [OSHA] lost funding and people ... there are still fewer people working at OSHA in 2000 than there were in 1975, even as OSHA's job has become more complex and demanding."

    There are many examples of industry polluting & taxpayers being stuck with the bill: they're in the papers every day. Here's the first thing I came across (it literally took 2 seconds), from the Texas Environmental Profiles site:

    "Long before RCRA and the Texas Solid Waste Disposal Act were passed to regulate the storage and disposal of hazardous waste, manufacturing industries, the national defense industry, and the oil and gas industry were producing and disposing of hazardous wastes. Many of these waste disposal sites, as well as production facilities, have closed down, been abandoned, or changed ownership several times, often without the new owners fully understanding what they have inherited. Not surprisingly, these abandoned and near-abandoned waste sites have contaminated water and surface water and caused adverse human health effects. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) was passed by Congress in 1980 to provide funding to clean up these facilities and waste sites. As part of the act, a trust fund of $1.6 billion was authorized over five years. Since then, Congress has twice re-authorized CERCLA, increasing funding from $1.6 billion to $13.6 billion. These funds are to be used to help clean up abandoned and closed hazardous waste sites that are placed by the EPA on a national priority list if they meet certain conditions under a hazard ranking system."

    Even if this is true the average person knows about Enron for example. I think your making this more of a big deal than it actually is.
    The average person only found out about Enron after they'd swindled thousands of employees and millions of California energy customers. And corporate malfeasance is much more widespread than "the average person" knows. The average person doesn't know about Coca Cola's violent union-busting in South America, for example, or Purdue Pharmaceutical's aggressive drug pushing, or Microsoft's numbers-faking (just to name a few things that come readily to mind).

    What are corporations? Groups of individuals who come together with ideas ... Thse things mean nothing if corporations arn't allowed to form ... Businees structure? Please elaborate. How is business working against freedom? the profit motive? competition? Governments are the only force capapable of destrying the profit motive (though high taxes and excessive regulation - its not worth expanding thus there is no motive) and competition (by creating monopolies).
    This is a bit naive. Corporations, as currently structured, are dependant upon a legal fiction. Their "freedom" demands all the power of government to enforce the absurd notion that a corporate body is an individual with constitutional rights (including limited liability, bankruptcy protections intended for individuals, etc.---not to mention immortality). What you describe as a few bright individuals getting together is actually predicated on a 150-year-old web of elaborate state planning and legal manuevering.

    Moreover, people who form corporations are not "free" under current law. They are not free to run a corporation with any goal higher than their shareholders' profits. Why must this be enforced by law? Doesn't it impinge on people's freedom?

    No, Taggart is the leader of the looters. However the situation in the early part of AS is alot like what we have today, with government handing out favours to the likes of Taggart. John Galt, Howard Roak, Dagny and Francisco are the best, and what we should aspire to especially Galt.
    This sounds cultish.

    But if you can make a case that western Capitalism has ever been run by people like Dagny, Francisco, John Galt, etc., or that big business even wanted them around (except in the sense that "the looters" in the novel wanted them around to sponge off of when things got rough), I'd be glad to see it.

    I think people can achieve alot more together than alone this is why i support free trade, it allows peope to voluntarily come together and offer others services/goods. Men can create things alone but usaully when they have organisations they can reach more people with their creations. People got out of the caves because they did what corporations do: they vol came together with one aim: to improve.
    Okay, I'm saying we can improve upon the corporation. I'm also saying that at the very least, we could dispose of "corporate personhood" and the profit-making imperative without returning to caves.
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    But some are right. If a 5th-century Roman had said the end was near, he would doubtless have been told "Oh everyone always says that." A 15th-century Vatican priest with misgivings, or a late 18th-century French noble, probably met with the same reproach.
    And most are wrong. This is not an epoch type age, the probabilities are on my side.




    O
    kay. To recap: First I alluded to the fact that the profit motive led the beef industry straight to mad cow disease. You had said, "It is in more capitalist coutries that such scandals are discovered e. Stewart, Enron." My response was "As for corporate scandals being 'discovered,' Mad Cow is 'discovered' everywhere someone comes down with it." ...Meaning that England and the U.S. are unique for having outbreaks of mad cow disease, not for publicizing them.
    Realavance to corporations? Farms in uk arnt corporations.



    The average person only found out about Enron after they'd swindled thousands of employees and millions of California energy customers. And corporate malfeasance is much more widespread than "the average person" knows. The average person doesn't know about Coca Cola's violent union-busting in South America, for example, or Purdue Pharmaceutical's aggressive drug pushing, or Microsoft's numbers-faking (just to name a few things that come readily to mind).
    Whose fault is that? The corporations are peoples unwillingness to be informed. The info is out there after all you found it.

    This is a bit naive. Corporations, as currently structured, are dependant upon a legal fiction. Their "freedom" demands all the power of government to enforce the absurd notion that a corporate body is an individual with constitutional rights (including limited liability, bankruptcy protections intended for individuals, etc.---not to mention immortality). What you describe as a few bright individuals getting together is actually predicated on a 150-year-old web of elaborate state planning and legal manuevering.

    It is the essence of a corporation, all the things you have suggested merely flow from the fact that its a group of indivdiauls who vol come together.


    Moreover, people who form corporations are not "free" under current law. They are not free to run a corporation with any goal higher than their shareholders' profits. Why must this be enforced by law? Doesn't it impinge on people's freedom?
    No one should have the freedom to spend my money as they see fit without my consent. That would be theft.


    This sounds cultish.

    Why is it that the main criticim against Ayn Rand is not her philosophy, its usually the accusation of being a cult etc.

    But if you can make a case that western Capitalism has ever been run by people like Dagny, Francisco, John Galt, etc., or that big business even wanted them around (except in the sense that "the looters" in the novel wanted them around to sponge off of when things got rough), I'd be glad to see it.
    We have never had pure capitalsim. But 19th century America came close.

    Okay, I'm saying we can improve upon the corporation. I'm also saying that at the very least, we could dispose of "corporate personhood" and the profit-making imperative without returning to caves.
    Please expalin? Whta would replace the seking of profits? Why would people bother giving money if not to make more money? If they wanted to give to chairty theres many to choose, they choose a corp because it is out for profits and they want a share. That is the engine.
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    (Original post by objectivism)
    This is nonsence. Capitalism opposes force thus all can enter the market thus monopolies are not created. The only one who can create a monopoly is that body which has a monopoly of force: the state.

    Corps are not taking over the world. Look at the increased environmental regulations, increased taxes and increased state power we are seeing across the world. Corporations need the state to maintain property rights and law and order. What you advocate is a trendy notion put around by a bunch of second raters who don't understand economics.
    The oligopolies tend to be in industries which require corporations (not coincidentally), oil, steel. car manufacture, energy and so on. It's almost impossible for a small business to break into these markets, probably only states or other corps could do it.

    The increased environmental regs, taxes, and state involvement actually enforce the dominance of corps, smaller enterprises cannot grow and challenge the corps with such burdens (again it's not coincidental).

    My opinion isn't drawn from anyone else objectif, so I suppose that makes me the second rater, but the trend toward corps and then to oligopoly has been recognised for decades. I'm temperamentally inclined (like you?) to Mises, Rothbard and other Austrian types, but I still have a critical eye.

    Oligopolies suit the dominant Friedman/Greenspan viewpoint, they like rich big businessmen (and so do I), but the negative outcomes, usually for the poorer sections of society, non-union members, and poorer countries, are usually ignored or brushed aside with the claim, 'The market is king'. Only trouble is, the market is dead.
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    (Original post by ArthurOliver)
    Oligopolies suit the dominant Friedman/Greenspan viewpoint, they like rich big businessmen (and so do I), but the negative outcomes, usually for the poorer sections of society, non-union members, and poorer countries, are usually ignored or brushed aside with the claim, 'The market is king'. Only trouble is, the market is dead.
    Oligopolies are the norm and the market is dead, yet the level of innovation in the last decade is unprecedented and the price levels of many necessities has been plummetting. Isn't Wal-Mart nice to lower prices on their goods despite having no competition? :rolleyes:
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    The oligopolies tend to be in industries which require corporations (not coincidentally), oil, steel. car manufacture, energy and so on. It's almost impossible for a small business to break into these markets, probably only states or other corps could do it.
    Other corps? So there's still competition, if thats the case, whats the problem? There are new energy soucres emerging all the time, for example wind power. In the car industry there is increasing choice. I don't see a problem

    My opinion isn't drawn from anyone else objectif, so I suppose that makes me the second rater, but the trend toward corps and then to oligopoly has been recognised for decades. I'm temperamentally inclined (like you?) to Mises, Rothbard and other Austrian types, but I still have a critical eye.
    Rothbard was an anarcho- capitalist thus i don't consider him a member of the Austrian school in the strictest sense.

    Oligopolies suit the dominant Friedman/Greenspan viewpoint, they like rich big businessmen (and so do I), but the negative outcomes, usually for the poorer sections of society, non-union members, and poorer countries, are usually ignored or brushed aside with the claim, 'The market is king'. Only trouble is, the market is dead.
    The market is dead? How do you explain more choice, more products, cheaper prices etc.
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    (Original post by objectivism)
    Realavance to corporations? Farms in uk arnt corporations.
    Nearly all cattle ranches are run by the beef industry (which is corporate), either through direct ownership or through stringent contracts that control expenses & thereby control practices.

    Whose fault is that? The corporations are peoples unwillingness to be informed. The info is out there after all you found it.
    I found it, but I'd never have even looked for it if I hadn't had certain experiences in life that most people don't have. Corporate ownership of media does have an effect, and propaganda does have an effect. Blame the people for not spontaneously hunting down info, if you want, and point out that (in theory) they "could" do so---but they won't, any more than they'll spontaneously put on swim fins en masse and do the hustle this afternoon at 5:00 sharp.




    It is the essence of a corporation, all the things you have suggested merely flow from the fact that its a group of indivdiauls who vol come together.
    Corporate personhood doesn't "merely flow" from the act of people getting together; if it did it would be a lot older than it is. When businessmen got together in 19th century America, quills didn't magically start moving in Washington to expand the U.S. constitution. You might as well say that Prohibition "merely flowed" from the fact of Puritans voluntarily coming together.


    No one should have the freedom to spend my money as they see fit without my consent. That would be theft.
    Who's suggesting that your money would be invested "without your consent"? A corporation not predicated on shareholder profits would of course make that fact public. Whether to buy shares or not would be your decision.

    Why is it that the main criticim against Ayn Rand is not her philosophy, its usually the accusation of being a cult etc.
    I wasn't criticizing Ayn Rand (at the moment), I was just observing that you sounded cultish.

    Please expalin? Whta would replace the seking of profits? Why would people bother giving money if not to make more money? If they wanted to give to chairty theres many to choose, they choose a corp because it is out for profits and they want a share. That is the engine.
    So why does this have to be enforced by law? It's absurd. You say that a thing is efficient and sensible, then instead of letting the market choose it, letting the market decide, you want it to be legally compulsory with no deviation allowed.
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    (Original post by Bismarck)
    Oligopolies are the norm and the market is dead, yet the level of innovation in the last decade is unprecedented and the price levels of many necessities has been plummetting. Isn't Wal-Mart nice to lower prices on their goods despite having no competition? :rolleyes:
    Obviously, Wal-Mart is lowering prices to kill what remains of small-business competition.
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    (Original post by Iz the Wiz)
    Obviously, Wal-Mart is lowering prices to kill what remains of small-business competition.
    And in places where it has killed the small businesses, has it increased prices? And if it does increase prices, what will stop Target from moving in and taking their business?
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    Nearly all cattle ranches are run by the beef industry (which is corporate), either through direct ownership or through stringent contracts that control expenses & thereby control practices.
    In the UK your are wrong.


    I found it, but I'd never have even looked for it if I hadn't had certain experiences in life that most people don't have. Corporate ownership of media does have an effect, and propaganda does have an effect. Blame the people for not spontaneously hunting down info, if you want, and point out that (in theory) they "could" do so---but they won't, any more than they'll spontaneously put on swim fins en masse and do the hustle this afternoon at 5:00 sharp.
    What experiences? Perhaps these 'experiences' are not the norm thus other people don;t have such an anti-corp mentality. I think you are in the minority toherwise others would be finding out about these things.



    Corporate personhood doesn't "merely flow" from the act of people getting together; if it did it would be a lot older than it is. When businessmen got together in 19th century America, quills didn't magically start moving in Washington to expand the U.S. constitution. You might as well say that Prohibition "merely flowed" from the fact of Puritans voluntarily coming together.
    The essence of a corporation is a group of individuals coming together.


    Who's suggesting that your money would be invested "without your consent"? A corporation not predicated on shareholder profits would of course make that fact public. Whether to buy shares or not would be your decision.
    Ok, if a corporation wants to do that they should but they should not be allowed to do it if any of their shareholders disagreed. If they all agreed id see it more as a chairty than a corporation.


    I wasn't criticizing Ayn Rand (at the moment), I was just observing that you sounded cultish.
    By offering an analysis of a novel and its implications for certain readers?



    So why does this have to be enforced by law? It's absurd. You say that a thing is efficient and sensible, then instead of letting the market choose it, letting the market decide, you want it to be legally compulsory with no deviation allowed.
    I never said people who receive investment must not give to chairty, rather they must not do it if that money was invested on the basis of making profits. This is about defending people's wealth and investments. Many people invest their savings, i want the law to protect them from MDs with a 'conscience' who are happy to give others money for others benefit, like Ford attempted. If people want to give money away, they can give it to chairites.
 
 
 
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