General Question

PeterM's avatar

Should corporations be legal entities/persons?

Asked by PeterM (448points) August 15th, 2008

If so, should they be subject to the death penalty for capital crimes?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

9 Answers

trumi's avatar

Nobody should be subject to the death penalty.

PeterM's avatar

So if a corporation through negligence or malice kills people, what would be an appropriate penalty?

trumi's avatar

Depends on who is responsible, whether or not they meant to do it, whether or not they knew it was going to happen, whether or not they tried to prevent it from happening…

Hundreds of products kill people, but many of them also save lives.

Its a complicated issue that our legal system continues to update and regulate, as it should.

lefteh's avatar

How does our legal system update and regulate it?
I consistently see death caused by major corporations, but the only punishment that ever seems to take place is a few million dollars awarded as a result of a class-action lawsuit.

Lightlyseared's avatar

corporations are legal entities.

PeterM's avatar

I know. But should they be? I seem to recall reading that after the American Revolution, corporations were regarded with great suspicion, and might not have been allowed legal “entity” status.

They can’t vote. What other rights are denied to corporations that “real”, corporeal entities have (or might acquire)? Inversely, what legal penalties do living being suffer that corporations are immune to?

For example, many people are executed in the US every year – but I’ve never heard of a corporation being “executed”. Unless you’d like to argue that going bankrupt is a form of execution, of course…

Lightlyseared's avatar

being a legal entity doesn’t make you a person and therefore quite hard to execute. However there is a whole other branch of law to deal with them – corporation law. If you’re imanging a Corp as a person then bankruptcy is as close to death as they get.

And while they don’t have a vote if they put their mind to it they can influence the outcome of elections more easily than you can with your 1 vote.

marinelife's avatar

No. We anthropomorphize them too much as it is. Corporations are not people. They do not act like people. They do not share the same motivations as people. They have no values.

What we should do is hold corporate decisionmakers accountable when they break laws. It would be easy to legislate that, and it might act as a deterrent to some.

MissA's avatar

Many a corporation has been formed to ensure that the individuals making UP that entity, are not personally held responsible for bad decisions…you know, like things that cause damage, death and mayhem for others.

Think of it as insulation for the corporation members…stockholders.

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