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Letter: Corporations as people

Published: Thursday, July 17 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

Let's say you have a great idea for a new product. So you start a corporation to manufacture and market this product. It becomes wildly popular and over the years you take millions of dollars, maybe even hundreds of millions of dollars, out of your corporation in the form of salaries, bonuses and stock options.

After some time a competitor emerges that has a superior product you are not able to counter. You corporation quickly declines and has to file for bankruptcy with millions owed to various creditors. So you lose all your money, right? No you don't, because the corporation is not you. All the debts of the corporation belong to the corporation only. The only reason to start a corporation is to create a legal entity that is entirely separate from you.

Now the Supreme Court issues a ruling that says that the corporation actually is you. It even has your personal moral and religious views. Does that mean that it is also you when it comes to paying creditors? Does our system of laws allow you to have it both ways? Apparently, a corporation is a person when you want it to be, and not a person when you don't.

Roland Kayser

Murray

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