CURING CORPORATE CANCER
Modern corporations are often compared to societal or planetary cancers for good reason. Their morbid obliviousness to any values but unlimited growth, quantitative gain and endless consumption is an exact parallel to the dim voracious consciousness of a tumor. There are differences, of course, the most ironic being that tumors are an explosion of disorderly mutant cells, while corporations are rendered cancerous by painstaking legal design. Corporations' current DNA -- the tangle of codes and charters that determine their structure, development and behavior -- has been carefully crafted to ensure that corporate bodies are both internally tyrannic and externally blind to the effects of their rapacity on the social or natural surround. "By law" they cannot strive for any goal but relentless growth or respond to any cues that might curb their continued inflation. If corporations are ever to function in harmony with humane life or the natural environment, they will have to abruptly evolve beyond this primitive monomania. In theory, We the People can always induce this quantum leap simply by revising their genetic code. We present here some suggestive examples of how and why this should be done. Corporate gene splicing is a slick, non-violent cure for Big malignancy and an idea whose time has come.
Inserting a Prosthetic Conscience:
The Hinkley Corporate Code
Bob Hinkley is a savvy, sensitive (and thus self-defrocked) corporate lawyer who suddenly realized that even the most virtuous corporate directors cannot reform their organization's behavior, because it is literally illegal. Current corporate codes dictate that they can be fired or sued by shareholders for not maximizing their profits at all costs - and those costs are universally "externalized" at the expense of neighbors, Nature and generations yet unborn. Hinkley thus proposes that we rationally rewrite that code to insist that directors should indeed continue to work for investors, "but not at the expense of the environment, human rights, public safety, the communities in which the corporation operates, or the dignity of its employees." In the following pieces, he explains how this simple 25-word insertion would radically remedy most corporate ills and perhaps transform capitalism itself.
Defeudalizing the Corporate Body Politic
Marjorie Kelly's sensational new book, The Divine Right of Capital, targets the primitive and persisting aristocratic hierarchy of so-called modern corporations. She convincingly argues that sanity, democracy and the planet will always be at risk until we rebel and redesign this archaic form.
Keeping Corporations in Check, at Home and
under Control: The Sternlieb Unitary Corp
Herschel Sternlieb is a former corporate manager who grew increasingly horrified at these bodies' cut-and-run ingratitude to the communities and workers that gave them life. He proposes sensible revisions of the corporate code to keep them productive, local, and loyal to their communities.