Kim and reddust, not only were the majority of the original states in the US corporations, but most cities are too, think of the common name for London, the "City of London Corporation." I can only apologise if you don't want to be open to semantic versatility, but I'll even quote the Oxford English Dictionary to provide what the top scholars on the matter currently believe, I am sorry but it is not me who is lacking in understanding in the meaning of the term Kim (no offence intended of course, just addressing the issue):
OED, 'corporation n.' wrote:
Forms: Also 15 -acyon, 15–16 -cion.
Etymology: < Latin corporātiōn-em (Tertullian), noun of action < corporāre to embody; in medieval (Anglo) Latin used in sense 2 below. Also in modern French: see Littré.
†1. The action of incorporating; the condition of being incorporated. Obs.
2. A number of persons united, or regarded as united, in one body; a body of persons.
a. Law. A body corporate legally authorized to act as a single individual; an artificial person created by royal charter, prescription, or act of the legislature, and having authority to preserve certain rights in perpetual succession.
A corporation may be either aggregate, comprising many individuals, as the mayor and burgesses of a town, etc., or sole, consisting of only one person and his successors, as a king, bishop, or parson of a parish. According to their nature, corporations are termed civil, ecclesiastical (U.S. religious), eleemosynary, municipal, etc.
b. Frequently used in the titles of incorporated companies, e.g. the London Assurance Corporation, Irish Land C., Oriental Bank C., Peruvian C., etc.
4. An incorporated company of traders having (originally) the monopoly and control of their particular trade in a borough or other place; a trade-guild, a city ‘company’. (Now so called only in legal or formal language.)
5. spec. The municipal corporation; the civic authorities of a borough or incorporated town or city; the mayor, aldermen, and councillors. (A leading current use.)
6. The body; the abdomen; esp. when large and prominent. colloq. and vulgar.
Since you seem to have ignored Nick Szabo's very good article which I linked, I'll quote it here,
Nick Szabo wrote:
When looking at the legal and political history that led up to the formation of the United States of America, judges and historians typically look to English royal and Parliamentary edicts as explanations and precedents for the American government. This is too limited a view. Usually neglected are the unheralded, deep, and indeed often dominant influences on the United States government from medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque-era era corporations.
During these eras corporations took a wide variety of forms. Abbeys, monasteries and dioceses were ecclesiastical corporations; boroughs and cities were municipal corporations, and a wide variety of other corporations existed including merchant and trade guilds, universities, and hospitals. Royal law did not make a strong distinction between these different kinds of corporations as our law makes today between, for example, commercial corporations and municipal corporations. They were all "corporations and bodies politick" whose charters used the same basic form and language and which often were granted various degrees of judicial and police powers as property rights appurtenant to or held by the corporation.
For example, the Physician's College in London, a medical guild, was a corporation that had the power (up until the famous case of Dr. Bonham) to imprison anybody practicing medicine without a license within seven miles of the City of London (itself a large political corporation). Nine of the original American colonies were colonial corporations whose charters granted them broad governmental powers subject to retention of "English liberties" by the residents therein and the king's right to collect customs on merchant shipping. "...one Body corporate and politique in Fact and Name, by the Name of the Governor and Company of the Mattachusetts Bay..." was typical language in these charters. These corporations were even sometimes (as in this case) sold from one set of investors to another: the modern legal distinction between commercial and political (e.g. municipal) corporations was not yet common.
One indicator of the importance of the corporate form are its influences on the titles and symbols adopted by the United States.
"Citizen" is shorthand for the denizen of a city: a member of a municipal corporation. Members of a king's realm in contrast are called "subjects." "Governors" were groups in charge of corporations (usually corresponding to what in modern U.S. commercial corporations are called "directors," but sometimes, as in many American colonies, singular), while "presidents" were chief corporate executives who presided over meetings of the governors. The head of the London College of Physicians for example was its President, and each of the three centers of the East India Company was headed by a President. "Secretaries" (as in Secretary of State, Treasury, Defense, etc.) were corporate managers.
The corporate influence went far beyond style to the very structure of our government. Medieval republics usually operated under corporate charters, and English boroughs invariably did so. These charters were at the same time grants by the king (or treaties with neighboring lord(s)) and agreements among at least a majority of at least one of the "classes" or "houses" of the city. Thus, majority voting (among members of some class, not necessarily all residents), "houses" (often two) which must both agree by majority, and related aspects of our republican government, while often cloaked in classical republican terms, more directly derived from medieval municipal corporations. The idea that a majority can "consent" for other members their class also comes from medieval corporate law (it certainly does not come from contract or tort law). "Constitution" was often used as a synonym for "charter." The United States Constitution can be profitably viewed as a corporate charter, ratified by a majority of delegates to conventions in each State but shorn of royal imprimatur. "The Queen...grants..." became "We the people of the United States...do ordain and establish." "We the People" granted rights to ourselves, in some vague collective way. This makes no sense in legal terms outside the context of corporate charters.
Of course, many titles and symbols did not necessarily have a corporate origin. "Senators" were an oligarchic body from ancient Rome that also existed in some medieval republics. "Congress" is simply derived from the word meaning a gathering, and "legislature" is derived from the Latin "leges" or statutory law. Nevertheless, the United States almost completely eschewed titles from the royal bureaucracy apart from the judicial branch, with its "judges," "justices," and many other titles and symbols, as well as procedural and substantive common law largely derived from the royal common law of England. Other important substantive areas of our constitutional law (e.g. the Bill of Rights) have diverse sources that include Parliamentary statutes and English common law.
Even some of our judicial law is however derived from non-royal sources: equity comes from the law exercised by ecclesiastical corporations (canon law), and much of our commercial law derives from the law merchant which developed in franchise merchant courts separately from the royal common law.
U.S. judges, justices, and historians thus make a grave mistake when they, to take a currently quite important example, identify the vague "executive power" of Article II with the old prerogatives of the King. The abuse of these prerogatives were one of the major reasons we fought a revolution and gained our independence from the United Kingdom. Given the corporate language and substance of the United States Constitution, it is more accurate to identify the powers of the President, where the Constitution itself is vague on the subject, with those (a) of the President and the Commander-in-Chief under the Articles of Confederation, and (b) if that is still vague, to those powers granted and reserved by charter to the heads of colonial corporations, in particular the corporate charters of the nine American colonies, (c) if the issue is still uncertain, to corporate law from the Norman Conquest to the Stuarts, and only if all those fail to give an answer to (d) the King whom we rebelled against, and only then if said powers were not one of the stated causes of the rebellion.
Note also the original flag of the union that you can see in the article, which was identical to that of the East India Company.
To specifically address the concerns of reddust, the issue you seem to be concerned with is one which I believe is only a problem for democracy. Please see what I said previously about the spoils system. As regards corporate personhood, yes, we are talking about different kinds of corporations at that level, and the conflation of the corporate with the personal is also one strategy which helps the corrupt escape blame - this is exactly what I have been arguing against.
When talking about corporate monarchy and personhood, this is of course different from what Ernst Hartwig Kantorowicz means by the body personal and body politic in his book The King's Two Bodies: A Study in Mediaeval Political Theology
, and in Quigley's notion of the "refraction of kingship" in The Character of Kingship
. Both of which are great reads, which I recommend.
Kim O'Hara wrote:
Incidentally, you said that I was, "drawing conclusions (i.e. that something is or is not a Buddhist measurement), without even creating premises," but that's not completely true. In my first post since you entered the discussion I defined it negatively: "un-compassionate - therefore anti-Buddhist - set of measurements." Later, I suggested measurements that I thought were more appropriate than GDP and the wealth of the richest individuals, "measurements of liveability, happiness, standard of living ... "
I already addressed these concerns. Moreover, the argument that it is uncompassionate is really quite a silly one, you didn't support that argument either. How can an increase in wealth and avoidance of debts, something which the Buddha in the suttas instructs people to ensure, be uncompassionate? If anything it is compassionate. Moreover, how can it be uncompassionate to want to avoid violence - of the state or otherwise? On top of those two points as to why it is compassionate, there is simply also the fact that profit is almost universally taken to be a measure of success - it is not an uncompassionate measure, it is an acompassionate measure, it has no bearing on how you feel about other people, you can feel however you like about other people and still make the same profit or deficit. Bill Gates for instance is almost single handedly reducing malaria in Africa, while this charity is compassionate, it doesn't make his accumulation of profit compassionate - it is devoid of ethical content, it is just numbers. So, you may simply be confused with regards to how to judge the ethical character of an idea or action. One problem with the way a lot of people think of ethics and morals, is they think that everything must either be moral or immoral - without understanding that almost everything in the world (and we mean a lot of dead matter and atoms floating around in the void), is just amoral, devoid of ethical or moral character. It doesn't mean they're bad, it means the question of judgement in moral matters doesn't apply. Of course my argument was not for an amoral system - it was for one I think is moral, and I gave reasons for why that is so, but measures like profit, income, GDP, are. One problem with political people (especially on the left) is they tend to get a fire in their hearts whenever they hear or see the word profit or GDP, which cries out that there is some thing worth hurling words of indignation and accusations of injustice and unfairness - when usually that simply isn't the case. To a hammer, everything is a nail.
A similarly ridiculous claim which doesn't make any sense when thinking from the point of view of ethical thought:
I do not want my government small or large to follow the corporate model, it's a sick model, psychopathic in a way…
I am not quite sure where people come up with this stuff. The idea that "a number of persons united, or regarded as united, in one body" is somehow imbued with an ethical quality, as if a fetishised idol of a cult is imbued with the actual magical or paranormal qualities of the divine, is devoid of scientific or logical understanding about qualitative and ethical judgements. Moreover, the entire argument of reddust is more or less a straw man, what he does is set up a model without ever quoting a single part of my own argument, and then pretend it is my model. If I thus say a government should follow a corporate model "Y," reddust says X = Y, and X = bad, without ever demonstrating that X = Y in all cases and under all circumstances. It's almost as if you're not listening to what I was saying.