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Ending Corporate Impunity

criminogenic — (adjective) A system, situation or
place causing or likely to cause criminal behavior

In the U.S. and most of the Western / industrialized world, a majority of people tend to view incidents of corporate crime and abuse as separate and unrelated events, resulting from the actions of a finite number of so-called "bad apples" in those organizations.


The idea that the corporations themselves (i.e., the "barrels") might be rotten — due to their organizational ethos and culture — rarely occurs to them. Instead, corporations are essentially seen as empty vessels that derive their characteristics from the people who manage and work for them.


Thus, both "good" and "bad" corporations are viewed as being staffed mostly by good people with good intentions, with the bad corporations being excused for having a few unethical people whose actions unfairly taint the motives and actions of the rest of their companies, and the reputation of corporations as a whole.


This view, however, fails to account for the long-standing, widespread, and repeated pattern of unethical, amoral, and illegal behavior by corporations around the world. Either there are coincidentally a lot of spontaneously rotten apples in these companies, or it is the "barrels" themselves that are rotten, and are causing the apples within them to go bad too.

* * *


CounterCorp was founded on the belief that profit-driven corporations are inherently anti-social organizations, for the simple reason that they are specifically designed to put the interests of their owners / shareholders and managers ahead of those of their workers and the societies in which they operate, and to limit the responsibility of corporate officers and employees for actions taken in the name of the corporation.


Although the threat that this legal and moral impunity poses to the rest of society is somewhat more manageable when dealing with smaller corporations — which tend to be more integrated into their local communities, and lack the practical capacity to cause harm as bigger ones — as greed-driven organizations, all corporations tend to be insatiable and expansionist, and thus pose the danger of becoming larger and more rapacious instruments of those ambitions.


As corporations grow and become more profitable, their increasing financial and political power both encourages and enables them to become more aggressive and harder to control. That power, coupled with their limited legal liability — which, after all, is the primary reason for incorporation in the first place — effectively becomes a "license" to injure and even kill people, communities, cultures, and ecosystems around the world.

* * *


CounterCorp seeks to challenge the widely held notion that human exploitation, environmental destruction, and cultural degradation are the price the world must pay for the supposed "benefits" that only these corporate behemoths can allegedly provide to a fairly narrow segment of the world's population.


We believe that, if the prices of corporate products and services actually included all of their actual costs — which tend to be hidden from, and even subsidized by, the rest of society — the benefits ascribed to corporations by their cheerleaders, apologists, and other "useful idiots" would clearly be outweighed by the harm they cause.


Unfortunately, too many people have come to accept corporations as "members" of society, rather than as the abstract legal constructs they actually are: artificial entities created and perpetuated by laws that grant them many of the rights — but few of the responsibilities — normally associated with real human beings.


This "cognitive capture" of the public's and government's perception of corporations causes them both to preclude the idea that it is well within their purview to curtail and ultimately prevent corporate predations simply by changing the rules that create and govern them, in order to effectively manacle, neuter, lobotomize, or even terminate them.


As corporations accrue ever more power and influence, it is increasingly clear that there can be no genuine democracy or even basic human rights until their legal and financial status is radically restructured, so as to restrict them to an extremely limited and broadly beneficial role that serves the broad, collective interests of society as a whole — rather than just the narrow self-interest of the relatively small, wealthy, and powerful elite that owns, controls, and is enriched by them.