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On the "rights" of Nature

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GE Morton
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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by GE Morton » May 12th, 2019, 11:27 pm

Greta wrote:
May 12th, 2019, 9:18 pm
Not good enough, sorry. You completely ignore emergence and conflicts of interest with taxpayers - the most critical aspects when considering the nature of large organisations as compared with small ones.
Greta, please explain the relevance of emergence and conflicts of interest with taxpayers to the questions at issue in this thread --- i.e., what is a corporation, and what rights does it have?

I cannot for the life of me see what bearing the size of the corporation or its "conflicts of interest with taxpayers" (which makes no sense, since corporations and their stockholders are themselves taxpayers) has on those questions.

Yes, I've ignored those phenomena, because they are irrelevant to the questions at issue.

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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by GE Morton » May 12th, 2019, 11:31 pm

PS: No need to "reduce" this to a left/right issue. It is a paradigm left/right issue.

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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by Greta » May 13th, 2019, 6:04 pm

GE Morton wrote:
May 12th, 2019, 11:27 pm
Greta wrote:
May 12th, 2019, 9:18 pm
Not good enough, sorry. You completely ignore emergence and conflicts of interest with taxpayers - the most critical aspects when considering the nature of large organisations as compared with small ones.
Greta, please explain the relevance of emergence and conflicts of interest with taxpayers to the questions at issue in this thread --- i.e., what is a corporation, and what rights does it have?

I cannot for the life of me see what bearing the size of the corporation or its "conflicts of interest with taxpayers" (which makes no sense, since corporations and their stockholders are themselves taxpayers) has on those questions.

Yes, I've ignored those phenomena, because they are irrelevant to the questions at issue.
You want to give human rights to abstract legal entities like corporations. You effectively say that "corporations are people too" and that they are no different to jazz bands - ignoring the obvious emergent properties that come with scale.

Now you want me to explain to you that corporations are engaging in massive tax avoidance. You were aware of that yet you asked. I don't need such gaming of debate. Either be sincere or let it go.

If conferring rights to nature helps slow its destruction and allow for a more sustainable way of living living, then I am all for it. This is a practical matter and the ideologies presented by you are just a distraction.

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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by h_k_s » May 14th, 2019, 9:19 am

GE Morton wrote:
May 12th, 2019, 11:27 pm
Greta wrote:
May 12th, 2019, 9:18 pm
Not good enough, sorry. You completely ignore emergence and conflicts of interest with taxpayers - the most critical aspects when considering the nature of large organisations as compared with small ones.
Greta, please explain the relevance of emergence and conflicts of interest with taxpayers to the questions at issue in this thread --- i.e., what is a corporation, and what rights does it have?

I cannot for the life of me see what bearing the size of the corporation or its "conflicts of interest with taxpayers" (which makes no sense, since corporations and their stockholders are themselves taxpayers) has on those questions.

Yes, I've ignored those phenomena, because they are irrelevant to the questions at issue.
A corporation is a legal entity, often referred to as "a person", with legal rights conferred upon it by the State or Nation under whose laws it has been created (incorporated). Hopefully that answers your question, unless it was simply rhetorical.

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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by GE Morton » May 14th, 2019, 1:38 pm

Greta wrote:
May 13th, 2019, 6:04 pm

You want to give human rights to abstract legal entities like corporations.
No, I don't want to "give human rights" to corporations (or anyone else). Rights --- natural rights --- are not the sort of things one can give anyone. They are not gifts of government or creations of public opinion. You have them if certain historical facts are true, regardless of government decrees and public opinion. If Alfie, Bruno, and Chauncey have certain rights, then so does any corporation they form, because the corporation is nothing but them.

You persist in describing corporations as "abstract legal entities," despite the fact that they are precisely defined and as concrete as the stockholders who constitute them. I don't think you know the meaning of "abstract." Here it is:

"Abstract:
1a : disassociated from any specific instance
an abstract entity
b : difficult to understand : ABSTRUSE
abstract problems
c : insufficiently factual : FORMAL
possessed only an abstract right"

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abstract

"Corporations" embraces thousands of specific instances. The concept is surely not difficult to understand. And it is perfectly factual --- every corporation's existence is easily verifiable and its principals and stockholders identifiable. There is nothing "abstract" about, say, the Boeing corporation, or Amazon, or Honda.

Nor are corporations "legal entities" in any sense that implies that they depend upon laws for their existence. They come into existence when their founding members create them, just like the Early Bird Gardening Club. That the law recognizes them does not make them creatures of government.
You effectively say that "corporations are people too" . . .
Of course they are people. They are nothing but people. There is no corporation constituted of anything but people.
. . . and that they are no different to jazz bands - ignoring the obvious emergent properties that come with scale.
No, Greta --- I did not say that "corporations are no different than jazz bands." That is a willful distortion of what I said, which was that they are similar to jazz bands in the respect that they are groups of people associated for a common purpose. But they obviously differ from jazz bands in many other respects, primarily the nature of the purpose for which they were formed. The members of a jazz band come together to play concerts and make records, to make money. The members of corporation come together to produce widgets, to make money.

Even your "scale" argument misses the boat. You are condemning corporations broadly, while 99% of them are not much larger than a Big Band, and smaller than most symphony orchestras. And whatever properties you think emerge with scale, they have no bearing on the questions addressed in this exchange, namely (to repeat), What are corporations?, and What rights do they have? The defining properties of corporations do not change with size, and neither do their rights.
Now you want me to explain to you that corporations are engaging in massive tax avoidance.
A corporation's directors have a fiduciary duty to pay no more in taxes than the law requires, and hence to take advantage of every loophole legally available. But I suspect we differ with respect to one's moral obligation to pay taxes. My view is that no one has any moral obligation to pay taxes greater than the value of the benefits he receives from government. I.e., you should pay for what you get, and have no duty to pay for what someone else gets.

Greta, your visceral animus toward corporations blinds you to what they actually are, and leads you to make nonsensical claims about them. I agree some of them sometimes do evil things, but so do people in every other kind of human organization, or just acting alone. When they do evil things they should be punished, as any other evildoer. But the hostility of the Left to corporations does not really derive from the evil things some of them do from time to time, but from their very raison d'etre --- to make money for their investors, rather than working "for the public good" (which means handing out free lunches to everyone who demands one).

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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by GE Morton » May 14th, 2019, 1:41 pm

h_k_s wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 9:19 am

A corporation is a legal entity, often referred to as "a person", with legal rights conferred upon it by the State or Nation under whose laws it has been created (incorporated). Hopefully that answers your question, unless it was simply rhetorical.
See response to Greta, above.

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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by h_k_s » May 14th, 2019, 2:38 pm

GE Morton wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 1:41 pm
h_k_s wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 9:19 am

A corporation is a legal entity, often referred to as "a person", with legal rights conferred upon it by the State or Nation under whose laws it has been created (incorporated). Hopefully that answers your question, unless it was simply rhetorical.
See response to Greta, above.
@Greta noted that your comment was apparently rhetorical and she refused to get dragged into that word-trap.

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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by Felix » May 14th, 2019, 4:03 pm

G.E. Morton: "Nor are corporations "legal entities" in any sense that implies that they depend upon laws for their existence."

In the real world, not your dictionary version of it, they do in fact depend on laws for their existence. Laws define their business structure and behaviour and in order to operate their business, they must comply with these laws.

"The defining properties of corporations do not change with size, and neither do their rights."

Again, in the real world, both the nature and legal rights of a corporation can and do change with size. For example, you've heard of anti-trust laws? To anyone with a modicum of common sense, your arguments are absurd.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by GE Morton » May 14th, 2019, 7:28 pm

Felix wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 4:03 pm

In the real world, not your dictionary version of it, they do in fact depend on laws for their existence. Laws define their business structure and behaviour and in order to operate their business, they must comply with these laws.
They must comply with those laws if they wish to avail themselves of the limited liability advantages conferred by those laws. They do not depend upon them for their existence. The only thing they depend upon for their existence is the willingness of someone to invest in them.
Again, in the real world, both the nature and legal rights of a corporation can and do change with size. For example, you've heard of anti-trust laws? To anyone with a modicum of common sense, your arguments are absurd.
Well, their legal rights, like anyone's, can change with the shifting whims of legislators. But we are not speaking of legal rights. They have, per se, no moral significance.

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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by Greta » May 14th, 2019, 11:48 pm

GE Morton wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 1:38 pm
"Abstract:
1a : disassociated from any specific instance
an abstract entity
b : difficult to understand : ABSTRUSE
abstract problems
c : insufficiently factual : FORMAL
possessed only an abstract right"

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abstract

"Corporations" embraces thousands of specific instances. The concept is surely not difficult to understand. And it is perfectly factual --- every corporation's existence is easily verifiable and its principals and stockholders identifiable. There is nothing "abstract" about, say, the Boeing corporation, or Amazon, or Honda.

Nor are corporations "legal entities" in any sense that implies that they depend upon laws for their existence. They come into existence when their founding members create them, just like the Early Bird Gardening Club. That the law recognizes them does not make them creatures of government.
You effectively say that "corporations are people too" . . .
Of course they are people. They are nothing but people. There is no corporation constituted of anything but people.
. . . and that they are no different to jazz bands - ignoring the obvious emergent properties that come with scale.
No, Greta --- I did not say that "corporations are no different than jazz bands." That is a willful distortion of what I said, which was that they are similar to jazz bands in the respect that they are groups of people associated for a common purpose. But they obviously differ from jazz bands in many other respects, primarily the nature of the purpose for which they were formed. The members of a jazz band come together to play concerts and make records, to make money. The members of corporation come together to produce widgets, to make money.

Even your "scale" argument misses the boat. You are condemning corporations broadly, while 99% of them are not much larger than a Big Band, and smaller than most symphony orchestras. And whatever properties you think emerge with scale, they have no bearing on the questions addressed in this exchange, namely (to repeat), What are corporations?, and What rights do they have? The defining properties of corporations do not change with size, and neither do their rights.
Now you want me to explain to you that corporations are engaging in massive tax avoidance.
A corporation's directors have a fiduciary duty to pay no more in taxes than the law requires, and hence to take advantage of every loophole legally available. But I suspect we differ with respect to one's moral obligation to pay taxes. My view is that no one has any moral obligation to pay taxes greater than the value of the benefits he receives from government. I.e., you should pay for what you get, and have no duty to pay for what someone else gets.

Greta, your visceral animus toward corporations blinds you to what they actually are, and leads you to make nonsensical claims about them. I agree some of them sometimes do evil things, but so do people in every other kind of human organization, or just acting alone. When they do evil things they should be punished, as any other evildoer. But the hostility of the Left to corporations does not really derive from the evil things some of them do from time to time, but from their very raison d'etre --- to make money for their investors, rather than working "for the public good" (which means handing out free lunches to everyone who demands one).
Yawn. Still trying to waste time with word games and dodgy rationalisations?

It's very simple. Corporations are not people, not even organic, and deserve zero human rights. Any humans associated with them already have rights so they don't need any more. Still with me?

Nor did I condemn corporations. I see them as the future of the world, which rather makes a mockery of your asinine assumptions and babyish left/right games. Individuals achieve very little beyond the personal domain compared with corporations.

However, corporations are already representing their own interests extremely well and don't hardly need naive ideologue time-wasters to champion their cause. Rest easy, the companies are doing fine, and dodging their tax contributions, and you rationalise their parasitism. If individuals like you simply simply surrender all of your power to organisations without challenge then that breeds unhealthy organisations, be it govt or corps. It's like tariffs, the struggle hones. Wake up and make them earn their position rather than rolling out the red carpet.

Meanwhile, if we let corporations just chew up the remaining nature without challenge then those natural systems (especially the hydropshere) that sustain people will continue breaking down.

I'll just need to explain a little science to you now. You see, people eat food. Food needs to be grown from the ground. Did you know that? It actually doesn't come from your McDonald's plastic pack. First it comes from the Earth, and they require watering. Meanwhile, my state is turning into a dustbowl as I type.

Thus, your "rights" furphies are meaningless, ignoring science, ignoring reality. "Rights' have nothing to do with anything here and that is your little game. We live in nature and, no matter how little you care about it, if nature is not adequately protected then that is a direct attack on the most vulnerable people to be most affected.

The issue here is that the companies and billionaires who are driving your Trumpian anti-nature, anti-science tribe are not in any danger from climate change. Even if billions of people died, they would be fine. They would be the last people standing. If they shared the privations and dangers caused by environmental damage then they would behave differently.

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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by h_k_s » May 15th, 2019, 12:54 am

Corporations are "persons" for legal and tax purposes.

But they are not "human".

Most people use "people" to be synonymous with "human".

Unfortunately Federal and State law define corporations as "persons" and this gets confusing.

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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by GE Morton » May 15th, 2019, 1:51 am

Greta wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 11:48 pm

It's very simple. Corporations are not people, not even organic, and deserve zero human rights.
*Sigh*. Well, I'd certainly love to hear your reasons for so claiming. Would you say a football team is people? A garden club? A marriage? A platoon of soldiers? An Israeli kibbutz? A jazz band? Like a business corporation, all those are groups of people who have elected to join together and act collectively in pursuit of some shared goals or purposes. If all of those associations are people, but business corporations are not, please set forth the disqualifying difference(s).

Perhaps we can clarify. A corporation (nor a jazz band or a garden club) are not individual persons. No group of persons is itself a person (see note below). "Corporation," like "band," "club,"team," "partnership," etc., is a group term, a plural term --- it denotes a group of persons. To say "corporations are people" is not to say that they are members of the species homo sapiens --- that would be a category mistake --- but that they are comprised of persons; persons are the elements of the set the term "corporation" denotes.

A gaggle of geese is not itself a goose; but it certainly is geese; a litter of kittens is not a kitten, but it certainly is kittens. A corporation is a group of people who have pooled efforts and resources to pursue some business opportunity. It is not a person, but It certainly is people.

Does this help?
Any humans associated with them already have rights so they don't need any more.
I agree. And (as I've already said several times) they have no more. A corporation's only rights are the rights of its members (stockholders). To say that a corporation has (say) the right of free speech is only to say that its stockholders have that right, which they may exercise individually or collectively, personally or through a spokesperson. When a corporate lobbyist bends the ear of a congressman, he is speaking on behalf of the corporation's stockholders, all of whom are people and have a perfect right to communicate their desires to politicians.
Nor did I condemn corporations. I see them as the future of the world, which rather makes a mockery of your asinine assumptions and babyish left/right games. Individuals achieve very little beyond the personal domain compared with corporations.
Well, earlier you wrote, "Consider a corporation's "right" to leave an inordinate share of the tax burden on the little people as it hides its profits in overseas tax shelters and behind dodgy accounting. If we wish to confer rights to parasites, perhaps we could rally for the rights of cockroaches too?"

Parasites? That certainly sounds like a condemnation.
However, corporations are already representing their own interests extremely well and don't hardly need naive ideologue time-wasters to champion their cause. Rest easy, the companies are doing fine, and dodging their tax contributions, and you rationalise their parasitism.
Ah -- still at it. I gave you the definition of a "parasite" earlier: a creature who subsists on nourishment taken from others, and gives nothing in return. Have you adopted some new definition of "parasite"? If not, please explain how (say) Boeing, which supplies most of the world's airplanes, fits that definition.
We live in nature and, no matter how little you care about it, if nature is not adequately protected then that is a direct attack on the most vulnerable people to be most affected.
Strawman. I've not denied that nature should be protected, and indeed affirmed that it must be a couple of times in this thread. That is not the issue of the thread; it is whether natural processes and other non- moral agents have "rights."

* (Note) A corporation is treated in law as a "person" for certainly legal purposes. That is because the group of actual persons that constitute it wish to be so treated, to be regarded as a unity. And it is a legal convenience.

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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by Greta » May 15th, 2019, 4:32 am

GE Morton wrote:
May 15th, 2019, 1:51 am
Would you say a football team is people? A garden club? A marriage?
Of course not. They include people but they are not people - they are legal or formal structure around which actual human beings organise themselves. Obviously.

You seem confused that I'm referring to reality rather playing rhetorical games. In politics and law you might want to isolate key words so you can have a satisfying little "aha" moment.

For instance, the sentiment of your above post is: Aha! You said you don't hate companies yet you refer to them as parasites! Caught you out!

You see, an entity can behave badly now and still be important in the future. Did you know that? Things can actually change! You should try logic, lad. It's more useful than your word games.

Corporations not paying a fair share of tax is, of course, parasitic. They have been taking far more than they give. That's why profits keep breaking records while wages in real terms have been falling for decades.

"Trickle-down" implies a gush upwards. Did you notice that? Did you notice that when wealth gushes upwards and trickles down over a long period then the gap widens? Your questions suggest a desperate craving to have the very obvious explained to you so I'm obliging. This time.

Despite corporations' unethical behaviour today, organisations of such monolithic proportions that have revenue greater than the GDP of small nations, are still immature entities. Any parent, pet owner or cosmologist will tell you that immature entities take in more than they give out during the growth phase, before they settle and mature. Yet corporations are obviously the future. It's not as though individuals will develop space programs or technologies to alleviate the effects of environmental neglect.

Meanwhile, corporations will require ever less human input as their human resources are replaced by computerised resources. Yet, the more they replace their human resources with machines, the more profits rise and (failing a legislative miracle) their tax share will fall even further. Many already pay zero tax. That obviously leads to extreme concentration of wealth. Not sure if you see that as an issue. Those who pay attention to history think it's not ideal, though.

It looks to me that human progress is behind schedule generally. Humanity should have been more advanced by now, given what climate change is delivering - and will soon deliver further in spades. Ideologies exacerbating tragedies of the commons have stood in the way of sustainable progress that takes the quadruple bottom line seriously. It doesn't help that dimwits on both the left and right keep on denying science.

The environmental neglect has been such that now only the wealthy have a safe future. The middle class in the west will be decimated when the current global economic bubble bursts, perhaps sooner than necessary, given the rashness of America's Vandal-in-Chief.

I love your defence of lobbyists. The politicians develop cosy relationships and nice perks on the side to keep them sweet, maybe a cut on the action or a promise of campaign donations. Lobbyists have bought democracy - which is, thanks to your political tribe, now close to death.

GE Morton wrote:
May 15th, 2019, 1:51 am
We live in nature and, no matter how little you care about it, if nature is not adequately protected then that is a direct attack on the most vulnerable people to be most affected.
Strawman. I've not denied that nature should be protected, and indeed affirmed that it must be a couple of times in this thread. That is not the issue of the thread; it is whether natural processes and other non- moral agents have "rights."
Another aha! When you say "strawman" you almost sound as if you have the slightest interest in thinking philosophically rather than politically. Nice illusion.

You always focus your attacks on the left. Have you noticed? In this thread you are grumpy that some lefties are trying any wacky means possible to preserve our rapidly diminishing ecosystems, including declaring rights for various non-human life forms and ecosystems. Who cares if it's not quite logical? At least they are trying something about what is a worthy but probably futile cause.

How about starting a thread complaining about the whopping big derivatives bubble that your anti-regulation pals are creating?

"Some market analysts even place the size of the [derivatives] market at more than 10 times that of the total world gross domestic product (GDP)". https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answer ... market.asp

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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by Karpel Tunnel » May 15th, 2019, 6:43 am

GE Morton wrote:
May 15th, 2019, 1:51 am
Greta wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 11:48 pm

It's very simple. Corporations are not people, not even organic, and deserve zero human rights.
*Sigh*. Well, I'd certainly love to hear your reasons for so claiming. Would you say a football team is people? A garden club?
Are garden clubs considered people under the law? I get that each of the people is considered a person, but is the garden club?



A marriage? A platoon of soldiers? An Israeli kibbutz? A jazz band? Like a business corporation, all those are groups of people who have elected to join together and act collectively in pursuit of some shared goals or purposes. If all of those associations are people, but business corporations are not, please set forth the disqualifying difference(s).
All those organizations are made up of people - not just that, but they include people - and those poeple have rights adn are considered persons under the law. My bridge club is not a person however.

Any humans associated with them already have rights so they don't need any more.
I agree. And (as I've already said several times) they have no more. A corporation's only rights are the rights of its members (stockholders). To say that a corporation has (say) the right of free speech is only to say that its stockholders have that right, which they may exercise individually or collectively, personally or through a spokesperson. When a corporate lobbyist bends the ear of a congressman, he is speaking on behalf of the corporation's stockholders, all of whom are people and have a perfect right to communicate their desires to politicians.
Though this goes against what the founders of the country wanted. They were wary not only of monarchical rule but also of the power of companies, based on their experiences of the large trading companies. Corporate charters - a set of priviledges and obligations - were meant to be temporary and was indeed an abstract concept in the law laid over a corporation, its invdividual members, the property of that company and so on. If companies did not behave the charters could be revoked and there was no corporate personhood. If the argument is that really a corporation is just the individuals, then the individuals are free to lobby and finance campaigns. But what happens when corporations lobby and donate is something quite other. It is part of why the us is an oligarchy and not a democracy. And this does not even get into the problems with the power of banks and other financial insitutions.
Well, earlier you wrote, "Consider a corporation's "right" to leave an inordinate share of the tax burden on the little people as it hides its profits in overseas tax shelters and behind dodgy accounting. If we wish to confer rights to parasites, perhaps we could rally for the rights of cockroaches too?"

Parasites? That certainly sounds like a condemnation.
Right now they function anti-democratically. Not the small ones, but the large ones.
Ah -- still at it. I gave you the definition of a "parasite" earlier: a creature who subsists on nourishment taken from others, and gives nothing in return. Have you adopted some new definition of "parasite"? If not, please explain how (say) Boeing, which supplies most of the world's airplanes, fits that definition.
Parasitism and mutualism are not mutually exclusive. You can be a parasite in some ways and, for example, protect the host from other parasites. It can benefit a parasite to not destroy the host quickly, also. The issue in the metaphorical use of the term is whether someone is taking without really acknowledging it is taking and those being taken from are not getting adequate compensation. If corporations decide to influence the government to go to war, which has happened hundreds of times in US history, though many of these wars are small, do the generally poorer people on the ground get adequate compensation for putting their bodies on the line? as one example. Did we really get adequate compensation from the corporations for what they did in the lead up to 2008?

wealthy people are not treated the same by the courts. Not simply because they can afford better representation, but because the courts view them as especially vulnerable to prison - a plumber will not be viewed as catastrophically affected by prison sentences in the ways the rich will be. This is not exceptional cases, this is systematic. This is not just related to white collar crimes vs. others, it is a general and systematic pattern.

Corporations have centralized power in media, lobbying, and basically veto candidates for major office. They have revolving door over their own oversight. They undermine democracy in many different ways.

As you say, this kind of thing stems from their responsibilities to their shareholders - though since these latter are humans on the planet, in the end they too may begin to notice some of the problems.

And that's why corporate charters should be, as conservative views should hold, go back to being seen as temporary and dependent on fulfilling moral and legal obligations. Campaign finance changes, the end of corporate personhood - since those individuals would all be free anyway, right, so there is no loss to any actual person, right????????????

* (Note) A corporation is treated in law as a "person" for certainly legal purposes. That is because the group of actual persons that constitute it wish to be so treated, to be regarded as a unity. And it is a legal convenience.
It is convenient for some and inconvient for others. It is something we managed without for quite a long time. And it is part of what the founders were extremely wary of, how capital would encroach on democracy.

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Re: On the "rights" of Nature

Post by GE Morton » May 15th, 2019, 11:14 pm

Greta wrote:
May 15th, 2019, 4:32 am
GE Morton wrote:
May 15th, 2019, 1:51 am
Would you say a football team is people? A garden club? A marriage?
Of course not. They include people but they are not people - they are legal or formal structure around which actual human beings organise themselves. Obviously.
Apparently the distinction I drew in the last post between the categorical and compositional meanings of "is" did not make an impression. Let's go over it again.

"x is Y" in English can mean several things:

1. Identity meaning: x is identical to Y (i.e., "Venus is the Evening Star," or, "A dozen is twelve").

2. Categorical meaning: x is a member of category Y (""Powderpuff is a cat," and, "Cats are mammals").

3. Compositional meaning: x is composed of Y ("The Holy Trinity is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost," or, "A boilermaker is a pint of beer with a shot of whiskey," or (my favorite) "A democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner."

4. Predicative meaning: x has the property Y ("The light is green," "This lemonade is too sweet").
You seem confused that I'm referring to reality rather playing rhetorical games.
Well, you seem to be the rhetorical game player here. You're denying that "A corporation is people" is true in the categorial sense of "is," which is trivially true, but that is not the sense commonly intended when that sentence is asserted, which is the compositional sense. In general, when x is any group word ("team," family," "club," etc.) the "is" intended will be the compositional sense, and the Y will be the components, i.e., the members of the group. E.g., "A string quartet is two violinists, a viola player, and a cellist," or, "The Beatles are John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr."

So --- do you deny that "A corporation is people" is true in the compositional sense?

And of course, that proposition must only be true in the compositional sense to make "corporations have rights" true. I.e., if John, Paul, George, and Ringo have rights, then The Beatles have rights.

Do you disagree?
Corporations not paying a fair share of tax is, of course, parasitic. They have been taking far more than they give.
Really? What is the basis for that assertion? MacDonald's gives me a Big Mac; I give them $4.00. In my judgment the burger is worth $4.00 (had I thought otherwise, I wouldn't have bought it). What are they taking without givinng something in return? From whom are they taking it?

But with respect to taxes, the relevant question is, Are they consuming more government services than they are paying for? That is, after all, what the taxes pay for. A "fair share" of taxes is the share proportionate to the share of government services from which you benefit. Any other share is unfair. What services do you think MacDonald's consumes for which it is not paying?

Lefties think taxes on corporations and "the rich" are "unfair" because they assume taxes should be based on "the ability to pay." That assumption is absurd and morally indefensible; it is unfair prima facie. It is an assumption applied only to taxes. Alfie is not expected to pay more for a loaf of bread than Bruno, no matter what their differences in incomes. What the baker will charge depends only on his costs and the competitive situation at the moment. He has no interest in how wealthy Alfie and Bruno are; it is none of his business. He will charge them the same price. Alfie has no more duty to pay more than Bruno for the same level of government services than to pay more for a loaf of bread.
I love your defence of lobbyists. The politicians develop cosy relationships and nice perks on the side to keep them sweet, maybe a cut on the action or a promise of campaign donations. Lobbyists have bought democracy - which is, thanks to your political tribe, now close to death.
You're blaming the wrong parties. The person who offers the bribe is merely trying to advance his interests. He has no duty to advance anyone else's. The politician who accepts the bribe is the wrongdoer; he does have a duty to advance others' interests, namely, those of his constituents.

The only way to reduce corrupt influences in politics is to reduce the powers of government. If it has little power to advance anyone's parochial interests, there will be little interest in trying to buy it.

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