Our modern institutions and business corporations function on common myths. In what sense can we claim that corporations exist? Corporations are fragments of our collective imagination. In legal terms, it's called “legal fiction’. They are represented by a specific genre of legal fiction named “limited liability companies”. Ironically the technical term for a limited liability company is a “corporation”, which derives from a Latin word “corpus” meaning “body” that it really lacks. No one can point at these legal fictions because they are not physical objects. Anyways, they exist as legal entities. Just like any other human being, they are bound by local laws, they can access banking facilities, pay taxes, and can be sued and prosecuted separately from their owner or the people who work for them. Even if a corporation gets prosecuted, its factories would still exist and its workers, accountants, CEO or managers, and shareholders would continue to live. But the corporation would immediately cease its existence. In short, corporations show not have any fundamental connection to the physical world. This is a brilliant idea that reflects human ingenuity and over the last few centuries, such corporations became key actors in the global economic scene. But, keeping the initial awe apart if we look back to the activities of these corporations and the degradation of the planet-global threats-pollution, we will certainly trace back to these corporations. These corporations are gradually deciding the fate of the planet and its countless inhabitants.

 

Now whom to blame? A corporation that has no physical existence but is liable to the law? Or the CEOs/Managers of these corporations who are legally separated from the corporation and can be replaced by another very easily? However, corporations may be legal entities but it doesn’t have any physical form thus no brain of their own to take action.

2020

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Debashish Chakrabarty
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