The Willingness to do Four Things: The Subversive and Transformative Clash Between Juristic Persons and the Democratic Human
The current operating environment for flesh-and-blood humans and legal persons, corporations, was formed out of parallel, and sometimes competing, social and legal movements. For the humans, these movements (abolition, child labour, labour, women's suffrage, women's rights, civil rights, GLBT rights, rights of the disabled, rights of the elderly) reflected the willingness of a "critical mass" of lower and middle-class humans to do four things: go to the courthouse, the jail, the hospital or the morgue, to make democracies persist closer in practice to that which they claimed about themselves in their ideational documents and inculturated mythologies. For the legal persons and for the corporate form, a similar struggle took place; as Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, 118 U.S. 394 (1886) reflected a trend embraced in not only England and the USA, but also in Germany, France, and Spain, corporations extended George F. Deiser's persona ficta further and further, until our current moment manifest: one in which the direction of civilization is denoted by the divergence in interests between persons of the flesh and juristic persons. This divergence will be the central fulcrum upon which the future of democratic, industrial nation-spaces, in idea and practice, will swing. If democracy is effectively defined as encompassed of those systems reflective of the interests, hopes concerns, expectations and aspirations of the vast majority of citizens the vast majority of the time, while in every instance keeping track of the worth of the most vulnerable...scan that definition include juristic persons? Ought it? What are the ramifications for the humans of a commitment to do so? The Willingness to do Four Things, as a presentation, will argue that the next struggle in the democratic story will be to wrest the very possibility of the democratic co-habitative space back from notions that allow it to be fully corporatized into conceptions of it that demand its fundamental humanity. As democracies today often are direction-givers in sustainability, and reflect sustainable culture in ways that embrace the human, how does this theorized, asserted truth - that everything worth anything at all in a democratic life emerges from the Willingness to do Four Things - play out in ideas of sustainability and culture, even when such submissions are utterly absent?
Keywords: Corporation, Human, Industry, Captial, Democracy, Courthouse, Jail, Hospital, Morgue, History, Sociology, Futurism, Power, Critical, Conflict, Theory, Education, Training, sustainability
Prof. Mel Brennan
Visiting Professor - Dept. of Kinesiology, College of Health Professions, Towson University