The following piece is an essay I wrote a while ago, and I will likely edit it, and make it into its own podcast, eventually.
On Governments and Corporations…
By Darrell Becker
In order to understand compulsory forms of governments, which are presently organized within corporate structures, it is necessary to understand corporations.
Defining the Nomenclature
Corporations – A corporation is created under the laws of a state as a separate legal entity that has privileges and liabilities that are distinct from those of its members. There are many different forms of corporations, most of which are used to conduct business. Early corporations were established by charter (i.e. by an ad hoc act passed by a parliament or legislature). Most jurisdictions now allow the creation of new corporations through registration.
An important (but not universal) contemporary feature of a corporation is limited liability. If a corporation fails, shareholders may lose their investments, and employees may lose their jobs, but neither will be liable for debts to the corporation’s creditors.
Despite not being natural persons, corporations are recognized by the law to have rights and responsibilities like natural persons (“people”). Corporations can exercise human rights against real individuals and the state, and they can themselves be responsible for human rights violations. Corporations are conceptually immortal but they can “die” when they are “dissolved” either by statutory operation, order of court, or voluntary action on the part of shareholders. Insolvency may result in a form of corporate ‘death’, when creditors force the liquidation and dissolution of the corporation under court order, but it most often results in a restructuring of corporate holdings. Corporations can even be convicted of criminal offenses, such as fraud and manslaughter. However corporations are not living entities in the way that humans are.
Although corporate law varies in different jurisdictions, there are four characteristics of the business corporation:
1. Legal personality 2. Limited liability 3. Transferable shares, and …
4. Centralized management under a board structure.
The Underlying Logic of Corporations:
In a general sense, a corporation is a business entity that is given many of the same legal rights as an actual person. Corporations may be made up of a single person or a group of people, known as sole corporations or aggregate corporations, respectively.
Corporations exist as virtual or fictitious persons, granting a limited protection to the actual people involved in the business of the corporation. This limitation of liability is one of the many advantages to incorporation, and is a major draw for smaller businesses to incorporate; particularly those involved in highly litigated trade.
A company is incorporated in a specific nation, often within the bounds of a smaller subset of that nation, such as a state or province. The corporation is then governed by the laws of incorporation in that state.
A corporation may issue stock, either private or public, or may be classified as a non-stock corporation. If stock is issued, the corporation will usually be governed by its shareholders, either directly or indirectly. The most common model is a board of directors which makes all major decisions for the corporation, in theory serving the best interests of the individual shareholders.
In the United States there are three major types of corporations: Close, C, and S.
Close Corporations issue stock, but the amount of shareholders is greatly limited, usually to less than thirty. Given the small number of shareholders, normally all are involved in board-level decision making. Transfer and sale of stock is also tightly controlled.
C Corporations are the most common type of corporation in the United States. They allow for theoretically unlimited amounts of stock to be issued, and usually have a smaller board of directors which make decisions. C corporations pay taxes both at the corporate level, and at the personal level, as shareholders pay taxes on their dividends.
S Corporations are virtually identical to C corporations, save that they have a special tax status with the IRS. Instead of paying taxes at both levels, S corporations are required only to tax their dividends–the corporation itself does not need to pay taxes.
Governments – Forms of government without attached ideologies.
Authoritarian – Authoritarian governments are characterized by an emphasis on the authority of the state in a public or union. It is a political system controlled by unelected rulers who usually permit some degree of individual freedom.
Constitutional monarchy – A government that has a monarch, but one whose powers are limited by law or by a formal constitution, such as the United Kingdom.
Constitutional republic – A government whose powers are limited by law or a formal constitution, and chosen by a vote amongst at least some sections of the populace (Ancient Sparta was in its own terms a republic, though most inhabitants were disenfranchised; The early United States was a republic, but the large numbers of African Americans and women did not have the vote). Republics which exclude sections of the populace from participation will typically claim to represent all citizens (by defining people without the vote as “non-citizens”).
Democracy – Rule by a government chosen by election where most of the populace are enfranchised. The key distinction between a democracy and other forms of constitutional government is usually taken to be that the right to vote is not limited by a person’s wealth or race (the main qualification for enfranchisement is usually having reached a certain age). A Democratic government is, therefore, one supported (at least at the time of the election) by a majority of the populace (provided the election was held fairly). A “majority” may be defined in different ways. There are many “power-sharing” (usually in countries where people mainly identify themselves by race or religion) or “electoral-college” or “constituency” systems where the government is not chosen by a simple one-vote-per-person headcount.
Dictatorship – Rule by an individual who has full power over the country. The term may refer to a system where the dictator came to power, and holds it, purely by force – but it also includes systems where the dictator first came to power legitimately but then was able to amend the constitution so as to, in effect, gather all power for themselves. See also Autocracy and Stratocracy.
Monarchy – Rule by an individual who has inherited the role and expects to bequeath it to their heir.
Oligarchy – Rule by a small group of people who share similar interests or family relations.
Plutocracy – A government composed of the wealthy class. Any of the forms of government listed here can be plutocracy. For instance, if all of the voted representatives in a republic are wealthy, then it is a republic and a plutocracy.
Republic – A form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of state is not a monarch. Montesquieu included both democracies, where all the people have a share in rule, and aristocracies or oligarchies, where only some of the people rule, as republican forms of government.
Theocracy – Rule by a religious elite.
Totalitarian – Totalitarian governments regulate nearly every aspect of public and private life.
Voluntaryist-Predominant Region – Sometimes said to be non-governance; it is a structure which strives for non-hierarchical voluntary associations among agents.
Monopolies: A monopoly (from Greek monos / μονος (alone or single) + polein / πωλειν (to sell) exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity. (This contrasts with a monopsony which relates to a single entity’s control of a market to purchase a good or service, and with oligopoly which consists of a few entities dominating an industry). Monopolies are thus characterized by a lack of economic competition to produce the good or service and a lack of viable substitute goods. The verb “monopolize” refers to the process by which a company gains much greater market share than what is expected with perfect competition. A monopoly is distinguished from a monopsony, in which there is only one buyer of a product or service; a monopoly may also have monopsony control of a sector of a market. Likewise, a monopoly should be distinguished from a cartel (a form of oligopoly), in which several providers act together to coordinate services, prices or sale of goods. Monopolies, monopsonies and oligopolies are all situations such that one or a few of the entities have market power and therefore interact with their customers (monopoly), suppliers (monopsony) and the other companies (oligopoly) in a game theoretic manner – meaning that expectations about their behavior affects other players’ choice of strategy and vice versa. This is to be contrasted with the model of perfect competition in which companies are “price takers” and do not have market power.
When not coerced legally to do otherwise, monopolies typically maximize their profit by producing fewer goods and selling them at higher prices than would be the case for perfect competition. (Search for Bertrand, Cournot or Stackelberg Equilibria, market power, market share, market concentration, Monopoly profit, industrial economics). Sometimes governments decide legally that a given company is permitted to be a monopoly, even if it doesn’t serve the best interests of the market and/or consumers.
Monopolies are known for providing the lowest possible quality of goods and services at the highest possible price, using price-fixing and violently-initiated force, fraud and coercion.
You can separate “governments” by whether they are compulsory or voluntary.
Compulsory Governments: Many have the following attributes…
Methods of joining: Birth within territory, bribery, proof of willingness to self-
indoctrinate with pro-government propaganda, lengthy
examination for desired attributes, some marriages.
Cost of joining: Paying “taxes” for life, in many ways, being subject to
monopolies of services, being subject to forfeiture of
autonomy, privacy, property and life.
Cost of leaving: Paying “taxes” for life, in many ways, bribery, being a
potential mark as an “enemy of the government” (patsy).
Services provided: Many monopolies, virtual control of most industrial,
medical, agricultural, military, legislative, judicial, and executive services in the form ofcorporate conglomerates.
Level of tyranny: Very high, and rising consistently in most regions. There is
the widespread use of corporations that have virtual immunity from restituting damaged parties. Individuals are encouraged to abdicate many responsibilities.
Level of autonomy: Consistently decreasing for most regions. Individuals are
encouraged to allow others to make many kinds of choices for them.
Use of virtual monopolies in:
A. Violence-Initiating Aggressive Security Services: Yes
B. Arbitration/Restitution (AR) Services: Yes
Type of AR Service: Punitive System
Paid with “taxes”.
Emphasizes punishment as deterrent.
C. Financial Services: Yes
Use of slavery: Yes
Presently used in multiple forms, all monopolized.
Examples include but are not limited to the tactics of “wage-slavery”, monopolized “black-market” human trafficking, debt-slavery, compulsory adoption, compulsory foster-care.
There are alternative methods for individuals to collect together and organize themselves for the mutual benefit of each individual. The following page has an example of an analysis of some of these voluntary collective structures.
Voluntary Collective Organizations (VCOs or Voluntary “Governments”):
Methods of joining: Various membership levels (subscription costs/contracts) of organizational services, many services provided free to each given geographic region, using voluntarily-contracted agreements, optional services paid as desired.
Cost of joining: Depends upon each individual drafted contracts of each VCO.
Cost of leaving: Voluntary contract dissolution, based on member terms.
Services provided: Few. Local VCOs compete with other local VCOs, and the
ones that provide the best services at the lowest prices with
the most regularity generally succeed at maintaining good subscription numbers within their geographic region. Most VCOs help to coordinate information between primary service providers (such as security and arbitration/restitution services) and enhance communications and tactical organization of
the needs in each region, to allow for enhanced service provisions. Most services and products are privately provided by a wide array competing service providers and producers.
Level of tyranny: Low. No use of corporations, individuals are responsible.
Level of autonomy: High. Individuals make all choices for themselves.
Use of monopolies in: A. Violence-Initiating Aggressive Security Services: No
Many individual companies, each voluntarily providing armed security, surveillance, communications and tactical support. Competition without hierarchical monopoly gives the highest quality service at the lowest possible cost, frequently win-win for all parties.
B. Arbitration/Restitution (AR) Services: No.
Type of AR Services: Restitution-Based Systems Many individual companies, each voluntarily providing arbitration and restitution.
C. Financial Services: No.
Many individual companies, each voluntarily providing systems of secure trade in local and distant commodities using a variety of local and regional forms of currency, money and equity.
Use of slavery: No.
The Underlying Problem:
The Practical and Present Day Applications of Tyranny
Tyranny seems to be the result of an inequality of the superiorly-applied
tactics and advanced practical applications of compulsory control
methods (such as monopolies) used by psychopathic individuals in key positions
of power against the majority of individuals within specific geographic regions.
If it ever happened that all of the tyrannical, psychopathic individuals in key
positions of power and influence right now were suddenly (somehow) gone, and one
speculated upon the world that would be left to the remaining individuals (without the
present-day methods of tyrannical control being wielded by the tyrants of today), the
needs for order and security, arbitration and restitution, and many present-day
monopolized services would likely become universally perceived as deficient in
organization. This would be likely to help provide a reason for collectives of people to
call for increased order, security, arbitration and restitution. Here are two different ideas
of managing a world in which there were no psychopathic tyrannical individuals
occupying key positions of power and influence.
There is an idea that the best and most proven way of preventing any potential
future tyrannical psychopaths from ever attaining power again (individuals who are
in any way similar to the ones who are presently in key positions of power, controlling
the service monopolies of military, government, industrial, financial, media and
ecclesiastical compulsory collectives) is to use control mechanisms similar to those used
by the present-day ruling class. This includes using methods such as corporate-chartered
governments, democratically selected and divisive-appearing but financially intertwined
political parties and hierarchical power monopolies listed above under “Compulsory
Governments”. These methods are supposed to be able to successfully protect the non-
psychopathic minority from the violence of random psychopaths (all of this to be
occurring in a hypothetical future without the present psychopathic presence in the
previously mentioned service monopolies). It is claimed that it is necessary to use these
same methods (that the psychopathic minority in power presently use upon the non-
psychopathic majority) because this is assumed to be the best way to provide the service
of protection against the inherent, violence-initiating aspects of “human nature”. Human
nature is being assumed as having been proven to be the fundamental cause for producing
most violent aggressors that people in any given region encounter. This causes a further
perceived need of protection services to be under the control of a monopolized hierarchy,
but this time (unlike any other time in history) with functioning safeguards (so-called
checks and balances) in place that would effectively prevent psychopathic individuals
from ever again entering the previously-mentioned key positions of power and influence.
There is also an idea that a massive increase in a multitude of voluntarily
subscribed-to systems of self-sufficiency, benefiting most individual’s and local
community’s needs, would rapidly increase most individual’s and community’s
autonomy and security, while simultaneously decreasing all forms of regional tyranny.
This method of voluntarily forming collectives of individuals that use cooperative (rather
than coercive) methods of self-support (and mutual support) is alleged to be an effective
tactic to deliver services and produce products that compete with monopolized services
and products. Eventually, compulsory governments, and the corporations enjoying
the present-day monopolized benefits of most of today’s goods and services, are left
without any support at all, as a majority of individuals either provide for their own and
their neighbor’s needs or depend upon voluntary (and competing) local and regional
collectives who provide goods and services of the highest possible quality for the lowest
possible price. It is further alleged that (after the tyrannical monopolies vanish) many
services and products will be produced for little or no cost, as the lack of tyrannical
monopolization that presently prevents various services and products from existing are
either ignored, superseded or otherwise ameliorated with voluntarily-provided contractual
services, with any disputes effectively being arbitrated by pre-agreed-upon voluntary
mediation services. As tyranny decreases and individual autonomy and collective
harmony increases, more individuals will be in a position to be generous. They will be
more likely to voluntarily help those who have been unable to effectively provide for
themselves and their family, due to extenuating circumstances (such as damages they
have sustained from the previously-mentioned monopolized services, which had provided
the lowest quality for the highest price).
Here is one equation to measure levels of tyranny and autonomy:
Identify the individual parts of a system or situation (such as a government, corporation or collective). This is done by isolating the factual and practical name of each part, in such a way as to remove euphemisms and double-speak. (For some examples: taxes = compulsory “dues” paid by individuals in a geographic region to local, monopolistic security and protection “service” providers; regulations/statutes = the initiation or threatened use of violent force, fraud and/or coercion to promote or dissuade various activities, services and products; bail = ransom paid to local, monopolistic arbitration/restitution “service” providers, etc.)
Identify the logical rules governing interactions between the individual parts. This is done by isolating both:
A. The Ostensible Rules, the mythology and public relations story about the mechanisms of civic, judicial and compulsory collective decision-making processes and enforcement methodologies.
B. The Practical Rules, what occurs in practice and can be verified to
exist in reality.
Use Non-Violent Communication3 tactics (NVC) upon one’s own self. Isolate your own feelings, isolate needs that are likely causing particular feelings, isolate creative methods of meeting those needs without causing or advocating harm to other individuals through the initiating of violent force, fraud and coercion.
Apply the Trivium7 method, studying the special and general grammar (or parts of systems and mechanisms, such as in Step 1) in such a way as to remove contradictions and gain clear definitions. Use a list of at least 42 informal logical fallacies8 to see if questionable methods of persuasion and rationales are being utilized (such as in Step 2). Analyze the parts and logical rules using the rhetorical triangle.
This is one method of measuring autonomy and tyranny. The beginning of wisdom is said to be gained by the process of calling things by their true name.
FURTHER READING FOR ELUCIDATION
Books in Print
|Adventures in Legal Land by Marc Stevens|
|Anarchy and the Law: The Political Economy of Choice edited by Ed Stringham|
|Common Sense by Thomas Paine|
|Complete Liberty by Wes Bertrand|
|The Constitution of No Authority by Lysander Spooner|
|The Creature from Jekyll Island by G. Edward Griffin|
|Defending the Undefendable by Walter Block|
|Democracy: The God That Failed by Hans-Hermann Hoppe|
|Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt|
|The Enterprise of Law by Bruce Benson|
|For a New Liberty by Murray Rothbard|
|Healing Our World in an Age of Aggression by Mary Ruwart|
How I Found Freedom In An Unfree World by Harry Browne
|I Must Speak Out: The Best of the Voluntaryist edited by Carl Watner|
|The Law by Frederic Bastiat|
|Liberalism In the Classical Tradition by Ludwig von Mises|
|The Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman|
|The Market for Liberty by Morris & Linda Tannehill|
|The Myth of National Defense edited by Hans-Hermann Hoppe|
The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary
Servitude by Ettienne de La Boïttie
|Power and Market by Murray Rothbard|
|The Production of Security by Gustave de Molinari|
|The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek|
To Serve and Protect: Privatization and Community in Criminal Justice by Bruce Benson
What Has Government Done to Our Money? by Murray Rothbard
|You and the State by Jan Narveson|
Your Money or Your Life: Why We Must Abolish the Income Tax by Sheldon Richman
|The Voluntary City edited by David Beito, Peter Gordon & Alexander Tabarrok|
Websites for Definitions
The following sites were used for the nomenclature part of the beginning of this essay:
www.oed.com (Oxford English Dictionary)