Corporate Laws: Not in Our Genes and Not in the Bible

There is no verse in the Bible that says:

Thou shalt extend human political and economic rights to corporate entities with abstract ownership that freedom and prosperity might spread through the land.

Nor do we have any reasons from genetics or evolutionary biology to believe that human beings function well as cogs in large corporate entities, either private or public. The nice middle-class Germans who actually did the work for the Nazis (building railroads and running military manufacturing and logistics and so forth) were not forthrightly evil as were Hitler and Himmler, but they ignored the larger effects of their work and kept busy in pursuing their modest career goals that they might be respectable citizens paying their taxes and adding to their children’s college funds. (See Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil for an accessible analysis of the situation in light of Eichmann’s trial and Professor Arendt’s efforts to deal with the ‘niceness’ of the man who was horrified by the Nazi programs but did his job of managing the logistics of the death-camps.)

For every exploiter who made his billions by selling American productive assets and jobs overseas, for every exploitive employer pushing the ‘liberal’ cause of open immigration programs which has been justly labeled as ‘quasi-slavery’ by some commentators, there were not only armies of naive and well-intentioned activists for the global economy but also armies of well-behaved widgets who handled the details of those programs even to the point, in many cases, of selling their own jobs overseas or training their own cheaply-paid immigrant replacements.

The marketplaces of the modern world are morally unstructured because those vast places can only be inhabited by mobs of human beings, not human beings organized into local communities that reflect, poorly or badly, the needs of very concrete family- and community-centered creatures. A mob of human beings moves as such. Not generally rebellious, these marketplaces mobs are docile, moving to build the railway lines to carry their Jewish neighbors towards the east, staffing the planning and operations departments of corporations which provide huge bonuses for executives and bloated dividends for retirement funds by selling American productive assets and jobs overseas. But what are those people to do?

Capitalism can take many forms, including forms which allow families and local communities a large role, but as for corporate capitalism…

Can no one see that huge, centralized structures don’t meet the moral needs nor the moral capabilities of those very specific creatures — human beings? The economic man assumed by the theoreticians and practitioners of corporate capitalism doesn’t exist and never did exist. He bears no resemblance to the concrete man described by evolutionary science, genetics, psychology, and the better-quality novels. Try to justify our current economic system on the basis of any of the writings of Jane Austen or Fyodor Dostoevsky or Hermann Melville or Henry James or V. S. Naipaul. It would be the same problem as trying to justify our current economic system on the results of sociobiology or neurobiology, both of which paint images of man not so different than those painted by our better novelists as well as the Bible. And this is an image of man not suited for life in the modern marketplaces, not capable of living a morally well-structured life in these marketplaces.

Explore posts in the same categories: economics, Modern culture, Moral issues

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One Comment on “Corporate Laws: Not in Our Genes and Not in the Bible”

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