Today’s Quotes: Corporate Personhood

“Corporations are people, my friend.”
— Mitt Romney, 2012 Republican presidential candidate.

“They may insist corporations are people, but they certainly aren’t Americans.”
— Jon Stewart, The Daily Show, Sept. 22, 2011.

“The great problem of having corporate citizens is that they aren’t like the rest of us. As Baron Thurlow in England is supposed to have said, ‘They have no soul to save, and they have no body to incarcerate.’ ”
— Robert Monks, from the documentary “The Corporation” (2003).

“Corporations are ‘fictitious persons,’ having all the rights of individuals to own property and transact business. But corporations are not human; they don’t suffer and bleed, they don’t have consciences or souls, they don’t go to jail. They are legal fictions. Nevertheless they act as if they were individuals, individuals possessing immense wealth and power – and tunnel vision. A corporation is governed by a ‘fiduciary duty,’ which requires that every act must have the aim of maximizing profit. Stop, halt, end of story. So by law, ethics and moral responsibility are irrelevant in matters of corporate policy. Profit is all that matters. The corporation is mechanical, a simplistic construct without a human capacity for nuanced choice.”
— Richard Bruce Anderson

“It has been said, ‘Slavery is the legal fiction that a person is property and corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person.’ ”
— Mary Zepernick

“A criminal is a person with predatory instincts without sufficient capital to form a corporation.”
— Howard Scott

“The corporation is the prototypical psychopath.”
— Dr. Robert Hare, from the documentary “The Corporation” (2003).

“…if people in this nation understood what our foreign policy is really about, what foreign aid is about, how our corporations work, where our tax money goes, I know we will demand change.”
— John Perkins, author of “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.”

“Give tax breaks to large corporations, so that money can trickle down to the general public, in the form of extra jobs.”
— Andrew Mellon, wealthy American industrialist, b. 1855, d. 1937. [Some things never change.]

“I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”
— President Thomas Jefferson

“Unless you become more watchful in your states and check the spirit of monopoly and thirst for exclusive privileges you will in the end find that… the control over your dearest interests has passed into the hands of these corporations.”
— President Andrew Jackson

“There can be no effective control of corporations when their political activity remains. Though it is not an easy task to put an end to it, it is achievable.”
— President Theodore Roosevelt

“The eagle, soaring, clear-eyed, competitive, prepared to strike, but not a vulture. Noble, visionary, majestic, that people can believe in and be inspired by, that creates such a lift that it soars. I can see that being a good logo for the principled company. Okay, guys, enough bullshit.”
— Ira Jackson, Director of the Center of Business and Government, Kennedy School at Harvard University, from the documentary “The Corporation” (2003).

“The corporations don’t have to lobby the government anymore. They are the government.”
— Jim Hightower

“Thinking to get at once all the gold the goose could give, he killed it and opened it only to find—nothing.”
— Aesop (c. 555 BCE)

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