The Perfect Solution: Free Markets vs. Free People

Bhopal Child Victim

In the United States, a corporation is a person.

A person in the United States is basically free of regulation.  He doesn’t have a government agency watching him as he leaves his home.  He doesn’t have to file a plan for lunch.  He doesn’t have to get approval to get his freak on every weekend.

But a person in the United States faces severe personal penalties should he break a law.  The most serious penalties are for injuring or killing another person.

I do believe in free markets, but corporate citizens, as any citizen, should be responsible to face severe penalties should their actions injure or kill other people.

If a corporation operates a chemical plant in an unsafe manner and people are killed, then the government should be able to try the corporation in a criminal court, and, if convicted, the corporation should go to “jail,” a state in which they cannot do any business for a period of time.

Sure, their stockholders would take a huge hit.

Yes, people would lose their jobs.

Sounds like stockholders and employees would want to make sure they’re investing in or working for companies that do the right thing.

It’s not fair that a corporation gets the privileges of being a person without facing the severe penalties we all face if our negligence is found to be criminal — the sudden and complete interruption of our lives.

Personally, I don’t kill people because I don’t want to kill people, but if I was pretty evil or cold, and I was only facing civil liabilities, then I could take a job as a hitman and sock some of the money away for that rainy day when I might get caught.  If I make it to the end of my career with money in my rainy-day fund, then it’s bonus time.

The point being, that corporations can now simply weigh the risks against the potential profits, and take a leap.  It’s not like anyone’s going to jail if something bad happens.

I rewrote this statement.  It started as something like, “I don’t kill people because I think it’s wrong,” then I realized that was a misstatement.  I don’t really have an external sense of right and wrong.  I don’t want to hurt people, because I can imagine being people.  I don’t like hearing about people hurting kids, because I have kids.  Ok, maybe I’m overreacting.  I guess when someone says they think something is “wrong” that might mean they think it’s the wrong thing to do based on a number of reasons… such as, they can empathize with someone.

But what I’ve left here is inaccurate, too… Sure, I don’t want to kill people — it doesn’t sound like fun.  I don’t like to think of people being killed and if I’m killing them, then I’m surely going to witness it.  I don’t want people to be killed, so I think the first step is to abstain from killing them.


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