Running Head: Should corporation be considered as a person?
A corporation is an association of people coming up together under either a special believe, denomination or goal with a perpetual way of heredity forming an artificial legal entity. This entity is considered to have human attributes and therefore seen as a person with rights other than a focus on the individuals forming the corporation. It has the capacity of acting as a personal according to the powers vested in it during its birth or along its period of existence. This means a corporation can take and grand property, assign out duties and obligations, sue and be sued, preserve human rights or violet them, exercise some political rights as well as enjoy human privileges and stand to moral principles(James Rachels. 1999). A corporation is born when the members obtain a certificate of incorporation as a legally registered entity(Kerley, et al 2005). its existence out lives the members forming it as other new members succeed the old ones, time after another.
Upon several disagreements or an outlive of purpose and change of times a corporation may die as these cause loss of money and control to insolvency. It bares human characteristics like naming, cerebration of events in its life time for instance birthdays and anniversaries, can merge up with other corporations to become one as in marriage, entitled to care and security just as man does, as well as carry out humanitarian activities like community development and hospitality plus aid to the needy. A corporation is made up of the members or share holders who provide the capital for its formation and maintenance. These are the people with the main say in the corporation. They also consist of employees to provide labor giving the corporation great value and an output in terms of the mandate it carries out. some monetary out put is highly considered in most corporation. Every corporation is managed by hired management and not the owners. The management has very limited liabilities in terms of downfall or legal aspects of the corporation. This paper therefore seeks to explore the possibilities and justifications of these corporations been termed as persons. The main emphasis is not on their business dealings but rather the philosophical aspects of morality.
The morality of corporations in their en devours is what has resolved to many still been left to wonder whether they can classify them in terms of personality. Most corporations since the 18th and 19th centuries have been used to carry out human injustices or fulfill selfish ambitions of the owners all because the owners have found an indirect way of escaping the law as individuals. Most corporations as it shall be seen later in the paper do not provide the services they do to the benefit of the society but rather to attain selfish ambitions and fulfill the physiological and ethical ego of the members. This has been the main moral issue at stake.
Several theories have been formed to try and answer the questions of morality but still there is no single theory that solves the puzzle fully. This therefore calls for integration of the theories to achieve a better stand in morality. The issue has further been complicated by the fact that different people have different moral believes and standards and so are the different societies and communities. What may be perceived as right by certain persons may be a taboo to other persons. Life has always been considered worthless without interaction with the other persons and aspects of the world this is very true to the existence of corporations. Their independent being also need to co ordinate with other bodies to achieve the purpose set for them. Although there are various perspectives to morality in accordance to different societies, the main principles in human life applies to all societies and communities. Such include: the view of murder as a capital offense, the high regard to truth and speaking the truth, the evil view of stealing and related activities.
In the view of corporations been a person, the characteristics of management delegation, limited liabilities to the directors and owners, separate legal personalities and transfer of shares should be in accordance to the moral standards of the community where the corporation is based and fulfilling the shared global standards in molarity. The moral values and principles of human rights especially to the workers and the poor who are employed and helped respectively by these corporations should be upheld. there should be no exploitation of the persons mentioned or humiliation or even degradation of their lives whatsoever. Their freedoms example the freedom of speech and worship should be respected. If all the above are not observed then the corporation seizes to be in view as a person and may turn now into something else. Although some people believe that being in the biological living is the only aspect to been a person, I have different opinion to this. A person is not determined by the biological aspects but rather the character and ability to coordinate with fellow people for the purposes of development and humanity.
The major aspects in this paper focus on corporation which entails a legal accepted and registered group of persons coming up as one body with specific similarities or goals and not recognized as a individuals in the group but the group is seen as an independent body. This body is viewed as a person and therefore has to up hold the morality which refers to proper behavior in respect to code of conduct n both prescriptive and descriptive sense. this is also viewed as the right ethics in the philosophy aspect. the condition of limited liability(Kerley, et al 2005) to the directors and owners of the corporation can be further explained as lack of personal responsibility over the debts of the corporation.
The history of corporations.
The formation of corporate bodies dates back to the seventeenth century when the roman people came together to form bodies that could help them carry out their business activities. This extended further to the era of merchandising where the British East India company was formed to stand out for the business relationship between the British and the Indian trade. this corporations were not only for trade purposes but also had religious groups going out to spread their believes to other regions and the organizations that stood up to colonize other countries. An example of such colonial corporations is the Dutch East India Company(John Keay. 1991). Today most corporations are involved in the non profit making sectors in aid for the needy as well as a majority venture into business. Traditionally corporations were named after the main founders but have changed over time to a point where they bear an independent identity.
Implications of moral issues to a corporation.
Moral issues are explained in several theories such as the subjectivism in ethics, cultural relativism, religion ideology,physical egoism, ethical egoism and the utilitarian approach. In these theories the corporation is expected to overcome certain obstacles just as an individual person is supposed to. Failure to this leads to misunderstandings among members misuse of resources mistreatment of certain individuals and lack of output hence the collapse of such corporations. The main ting needed in the control of such organizations is reasoning. Since the corporation itself cannot think on its own there is need for the directing management to be a good directing mind to its ego and personality.
Other implications brought up by the idea of corporations include: violence and war as for the case of the colonial corporations. Money and wealth as per the business corporations. Hospitality and community development shown in the case of the service delivery charity corporations. Exploitation is also felt in the use of the poor where they are helped to attain fame and ego.
Ego and selfish interests in corporations
The main reason to discussion over the moral aspect of corporation is the intention by the owners in caring out their activities. This mainly applies to the corporations that give out charity work. Since the early 1340s when corporate bodies were used to gain selfish desires of colonialism the trend has continued to evolve only in different forms and names(James Rachels 1999). Many corporations have emerged up in the name of community development only to create good names for certain individuals as an access to politics and big books. Morally this is abuse of the poor people that the corporations use. Most of such corporations after the selfish motives are achieved they disintegrate leaving the poor people helpless. It is very unfortunate that such organizations have also been used in the inhuman act of scientific research on people and testing of new drugs. This is very evil and extends to advocacy of some unacceptable acts like abortion and mercy killings.
I view of the works done by the corporations when compared to the normal human behavior it is therefore in order for them to be termed as a person. this is seen by the characteristics that they posses as well as the ability to function as humans in the social, spiritual, economical and emotional perspectives. Just as a person would be concerned with the need of a fellow human beings though with conscious or unconscious knowledge of his/her ego so are the corporations. they emulate man in all aspects except the biological aspects. Since they are formed and managed by man bearing all his characteristics they qualify to be termed as a person.
James Rachels.(1999) Elements of Moral Philosophy. Mc Graw Hill: UK
John Keay. (1991)The Honorable Company: A History of the English East India Company MacMillan: New York.
Kerley, Kent R., Matthews, Todd L & Blanchard, Troy C. (2005) Religiosity, Religious Participation, and Negative Prison Behaviors. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 44 (4), 443-457