The corporation: a business automata that runs our lives and has become a ‘dominant species’

Reproduced from Roberto Verzola‘s popular article:

“We created corporations and gave them life before Asimov drew up his Three Laws of Robotics. The First Law was: “A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.” The Second: “A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.” We would be much better off today if all corporations – which, like robots, are man-made automata – were constrained by these laws.

Our legal systems instead put into these business automata a single urge – to seek profits. This one-track mind has made them take over commonly-held sources of abundance – from seeds, to land, to knowledge – and turn these into monopolies because it is profitable to do so. What they could not take over, they have undermined or sabotaged, to create artificial scarcity. Corporations have destroyed the fertility of our soils, substituting commercial synthetics in their place; they have stopped the natural flow of mothers’ milk in favor of commercial formula; they have bought out independent seed companies, to force-feed us with genetically-modified toxic foods, all in pursuit of profit. They have become, in Wolfgang Hoeschele’s words, “scarcity-generating institutions”.

We conceded to corporations legal personhood, turning them into a de facto man-made species of business automata. They have become super-aggressive players in our political, economic, and social worlds. Beating us in our own game, they have taken over governments, economies, and media. Having become masters in domesticating Homo sapiens, they now house, feed, train and employ tamed humans to serve as their workhorses, pack mules, milking cows, watchdogs, stool pigeons and smart asses.

Thus, I will argue, corporations are now the dominant species on Earth. They routinely ignore human orders, injure human beings and foul up ecosystems in violation of laws for automata; these man-made mammoths now occupy the top of the food chain and have become the greatest threat to our well-being and the survival of many species on this planet

We face, it seems, three fundamental and interrelated challenges in the twenty-first century:

First, we must reacquire a species consciousness as Homo sapiens and reestablish our connections with the natural world. With our conscious mind, unique intelligence and creative powers, the human, says a new story of creation, is the Universe’s way of looking at itself and appreciating its own beauty, origins, evolution and grandeur. For this, we carry a huge burden of responsibility to the rest of the living world, now dying under a great wave of extinctions.

Second, we must free ourselves from corporate control. This basically involves learning to keep ourselves healthy through the right natural environment, food and protection from the elements, and raising our young under the new mindset, without depending on corporations. We must rely instead on each other and on commonly-held sources of abundance we ourselves can build and maintain.

Third, we must reestablish control over corporations. This involves reprogramming them to obey Asimov’s three laws for automata, and hunting down disobedient corporations. Eliminating the disobedient from the corporate gene pool is the first step in reclaiming our role as stewards of the natural world and masters of our own creations.

Given the powers of the corporate species, these are daunting tasks indeed. But they are also tasks worthy of Homo sapiens.”

1 Comment The corporation: a business automata that runs our lives and has become a ‘dominant species’

  1. AvatarPoor Richard

    Society in the modern world is little different from early societies. There are three elements: sheep, shepherds, and wolves. The sheep are we the people. The shepherds are government, which protects and shears the sheep. The wolves are the corporations which feed upon the sheep. All three have co-evolved and are mutually co-dependent. Neither the shepherds not the wolves will free the sheep. Sheep can only escape this system by becoming cooperatively self-reliant.

    In another analogy, the liberal class is like the Eloi in H.G. Wells “The Time Machine”. The docile and child-like Eloi awake each morning to find food, clothing, etc. provided for them in the night while they slept. But a few of their number are also missing each morning. The Morlocks who live underground have provided all the necessities to the Eloi as they slept, but they have also carted some off to feed upon.

    There is no political or economic theory that can save the Eloi. All that can save them is for them to learn how to provide for themselves independently of the Morlocks, and to learn how to protect themselves.

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