Off Topic- Do Corporations have a Soul?
By Torin Dixon
We have heard recently, quite a bit of debate in the news regarding the rights (and obligations) corporations have in a modern society. Specifically, whether corporations or business entities have the right to contribute money to political candidates or parties. There are great arguments on both sides of the issue, and some would argue that companies are not living beings, and that corporations do not have a ‘Soul’.
My view is that corporations cannot quite function at all, without people, and people have souls….that is, some people have souls. And I suppose that the mere presence of a body, and breath may give you life, but not necessarily a soul. Perhaps not a soul in the way we view true essence, virtue, and being. Some persons, and by extension, entities, corporations or businesses, can be nearly devoid of soul and virtue.
I gained this opinion and observation recently, and I have been musing about it for nearly a year. You see, I experienced a six month engagement with a national builder (who will remain nameless) that opened up my eyes to the corporate world in a rather profoundly negative way. All the cliche’s and generalizations about ‘Evil Corporations’ was incarnate in this corporation. Quite certainly this national builder was owned and managed by humans, that appeared to live, breathe, walk, and talk like mortals, but their actions, policies, and demands of their employees was quite despicable in my opinion, and bordered on the very essence of evil. Greed, profit, and ego ruled the culture of upper and middle management. It was truly sad how little, corporate executives and management valued the rank and file employees, the very ones who got things built, and who collected all the money.
Yes, this corporation employed hundreds of people, payed millions in wages, payed gobs of taxes, and contributed positively to society and the economy, and so by these metrics I suppose they (the corporation) should be afforded certain rights and privileges, and perhaps even be granted an extended voice in the political dialogue, but in so doing, shouldn’t we also account and attribute other metrics and contributions, perhaps even the untoward and unsavory actions and motivations these corporations exhibit as well?
It was quite refreshing to experience quite a stark contrast in my most recent engagement with a regional building materials distributor. For nearly six months I have experienced all the ‘normal’ positive behaviors that a long lived, esteemed organization should exhibit. Attributes like kindness, charity, and contributing positively into the lives of those who grease the cogs of commerce, along with the economic and societal contributions.
Perhaps it all boils down to the simple illustration that there are ‘Good People’ and there are ‘Evil People’, and in like manner, there are ‘Good Companies’ and there are ‘Bad Companies’. Perhaps if we can find a way to neutralize the ‘Bad’ in both society and politics, we would all live in a better world! But I’m not holding my breath!