Published on Thursday, October 20, 2011 by Single Payer Action
Five Candidates for the Corporate Death Penalty
One of the most famous signs to come out of Occupy Wall Street stated simply: “I will believe corporations are people when
That was sort of a joke.
But in fact, for the benefit of real live human beings, some corporations ought to be executed.
My guess is that most of the occupiers at Wall Street would be in favor of the corporate death penalty.
Some – like Richard Grossman – would criminalize the corporate form.
But if you want to take the incremental approach, here’s my list of five candidates for the corporate death penalty.
Health insurance corporations. Most western industrialized countries – with the exception of the
Nuclear power corporations. Do we really need a
Giant Banks. Wells
Fracking corporations. Hydraulic fracturing – fracking – is wrecking havoc in the northeastern part of the
Corporate criminal recidivists. Legislatures should adopt provisions to strip corporations of their charters for serious corporate violations or for recidivist behavior. Some states already have such provisions, although they are rarely invoked.
Some corporations have been put to death for wrongful behavior, but they have been mostly smaller companies.
In 1983, the Attorney General of Virginia asked the state’s corporation commission to dissolve a book company convicted of possessing obscene films.
But when it comes to the serious crimes that big corporations engage in – pollution, corruption, fraud, threatening the lives of real Americans – the death penalty is off the table.
If we are serious about corporate crime, the death penalty is a deterrent that will work.
Russell Mokhiber is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Corporate Crime Reporter. He is also founder of singlepayeraction.org, and editor of the website Morgan County USA.