Sunday, February 7, 2010

Jennifer Government and Corporate Personhood

I am having a really hard time getting started with this blog. RDU Gonna Eat is so much easier because we have a specific topic that we focus on all the time. We go to a restaurant, and then write about what we ate. Or, we cook something and then we right about how that went. So I need to brainstorm some generally more structured ideas for this blog or something.

Anyways, I thought I would do a little post on Corporate personhood because it generally scares the crap out of me. As you may have heard the wonderful Supreme Court has decided that corporations have the right to free speech, which essentially struck down much of the progress that has been made (it isn't much) in the past 20 years. This decision was followed immediately followed by the ironic declaration by liberal public relations firm Murray Hill Incorporated that it will run for congress in Maryland's 8th district . And while I appreciate the wit of Murray Hill as well as the Corporations Dream Too T-shirts, I couldn't help but be a bit terrified by this whole situation.

As I thought about this situation I couldn't help but be reminded of one of my most favorite books of all time.

Now, I realize that Max Barry's Jennifer Government focuses a bit more on branding, but it still illustrates the dangers of unfettered corporate power. In the book American capitalism has been let run wild to the point that all branches of government have been privatized and only the corporations have been organized into two rival warring factions. Finally, people take on the names of the companies or agencies they work for (e.g. Hack Nike, Jennifer Government).

Since we have now given corporations the power of free speech and therefore essential personhood what is to stop them form running for office taking even more of the power in this country? I don't think we are going the way of the government being made impotent as in Jennifer Government, rather I think this most recent step by the Roberts court is a step toward Corporations becoming the government. As absurd and unlikely as Max Barry's vision of a corporate controlled future once seemed, I am afraid something not so dissimilar seems to be coming to fruition. If corporations can now run for government and have all of the rights of an individual, it's only so long before we stopping Senator McCain or Senator Kerry and begin having Senator Newscorp and Senator Wal-Mart.

Link to Max Barry's home page:
Also, the Jennifer Government game Nationstates (not sure if this is still in working order)

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