08 April 2013

When American colonists declared independence from England in 1776, they also freed themselves from control by English corporations that extracted their wealth and dominated trade. After fighting a revolution to end this exploitation, our country’s founders retained a healthy fear of corporate power and wisely limited corporations power. Initially, the privilege of incorporation was granted selectively to enable activities that benefited the public, such as construction of roads or canals. Corporate charters (licenses to exist) were granted for a limited time and could be revoked promptly for violating laws. Owners and managers were responsible for criminal acts committed on the job.

For 100 years after the American Revolution, legislators maintained tight controll of the corporate chartering process. Because of widespread public opposition, early legislators granted very few corporate charters, and only after debate.

I say, limit corporate power in the same manners again.


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