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November 06, 2010 – Comments (21) | RELATED TICKERS: NUS , ME.DL2 , TO.DL

Coventry, by Robert A Heinlein

and this.

http://books.google.com/books?id=YXVALg0GntsC&pg=PA65&lpg=PA65&dq=edwin+merrick+dodd&source=bl&ots=1kZQ-k72Pm&sig=XXDYekvjilzZUrXLPnHLfOD0Ybs&hl=en&ei=dF7VTOqzD4Sq8AaijtmyDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CC8Q6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=edwin%20merrick%20dodd&f=false 

Really - try the link, read down a few pages and take a look at the restrictions placed upon banking by the founding generations of the USA, at least in Massachusetts. I find two things fascinating as they relate to present day politics. The fact that even with a gold standard our earliest leaders wanted very strict controls on the lifetimes of corporations, to keep them secondary in power to elected Government, and seemed very much afraid of the large corporations running the USA, vs the politics of today arguing for a return to the gold standard and less Government control of industry and finance which I believe would favor a world enslaved by corporate domination.

Especially David and Chris and Flea, I think you will find a lot of agreement with what is written here, although obviously David you will not concur that any authority should rest with an elected Government, and Chris, you will not agree that elected Government can ever be a better spender of funds on any circumstances.

David, you will find argument for your theory that all Government eventually leads to capture and corruption, while I find argument that it has been calls for less Government that pave the way.

I find this to be a very interesting and well researched perspective of early American history, that is not taught in school, runs counter to "get government out of business" ideas of early America commonly espoused on investing websites, and corporate media, and perhaps the Chicago school of economics. David I look forward to your opinion on the last statement, especially if you can find some agreement with early Government - perhaps in the matter of shareholder liability.

Anyway I hope you enjoy the article, it is not an expensive gift, as it is freely available online. And please if you find it interesting, offer a rec.

 

21 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On November 06, 2010 at 12:05 PM, whereaminow (20.95) wrote:

devo,

I will definitely read it.  

David in Qatar  

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#2) On November 06, 2010 at 2:46 PM, FleaBagger (29.25) wrote:

Devo,

I have to admit I am a very lazy reader. I'll bookmark it. Just a comment or two on your summary, though: I have never denied that calls for less government often lead to greater corporate control and monopolization, I merely have maintained that it always takes place via increased regulation and government control, as when California's energy "deregulation" doubled the length of the laws governing utilities, blocking smaller competitors from providing an alternative to Enron. The price controls were the only regulation repealed, and even those, if I remember correctly, had provisions in the new law - they had merely been changed, not repealed.

So we often find calls for less government bringing a very insidious form of government interference in the markets: corporatization. Often this is preceded with alleged "privatization" which puts formerly government assets and government services in the control of favored corporate pressure groups, which then are protected from free market competition by government controls which are alleged to be necessary to protect the people from corporations. Actually, they protect the corporations from people and the smaller competitors they might otherwise choose.

It's a two-pronged attack. They pander to people who want less government ("privatization") and they pander to fears about a lack of government control to protect us from corporations. In the end we have corporations that control the bureaucracy that regulates them, and a congress that rubber stamps everything.

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#3) On November 06, 2010 at 4:07 PM, tomlongrpv (75.82) wrote:

I have skimmed it and will need to read more.  The book is a good reminder that there is nothing inherent that requires us to even have corporations.  Corporate charters reflect a grant of special treatment (immunity from liability) that is necessary if you want to encourage investment.  Large institutions can sometimes function without the corporate shield.  Lloyds is not a corporation and until the 1980s most of its members ("names") were individuals exposed to unlimited personal liability "down to the last cufflink."  Many professional firms were general partnerships--LLPs and LLCs are a recent invention and regular corporate structures were not feasible for many professional firms.  Hence when I became a partner in my law firm the then managing partner shook my hand and said "welcome to the world of unlimited personal liability."  (We are now an LLP and no longer have that burden.)

It is interesting that corporations and their many toadies always bemoan legal and government protection for consumers but at the same time clamor for the "corporate veil," the "business judgment rule" and other special protections which mostly didn't exist in "ye good olde days."  Corporate charters have gone from being a special privilege rarely granted and subject to revocation or non-renewal in the event of abuse to what is perceived as a routine right than can never be undone no matter how atrocious the conduct.  Maybe we should consider going back to a "free market" and tell shareholders they can form whatever business associations they want but they are just general partnerhips and they are therefore in that old world of unlimited personal liability down to their last cufflinks.  That would provide some real incentives for more active corporate management to be socially responsible rather than rewarding predatory behavior by corporations as we do now. 

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#4) On November 06, 2010 at 5:46 PM, ChrisGraley (29.72) wrote:

The author points out that the early government was unsure what to regulate in the charters and does a good job demonstrating that.

They had to respond to public complaints of government granting a monopoly to Mass Bank. They inserted clauses forcing the banks to lend to them. In the case of one bank they inserted a clause giving the government a right of ownership in the company.

The author doesn't state whether such clauses were abused, but the government had the power to essentially borow money from all the banks that they didn't have an ownership interest in and then revoke their charters giving the government free money to buy controlling interest in the remaining bank and a monopoly in the banking system.

Given that the US had absolutely no experience granting charters, it's resonable for them to make mistakes.  I really didn't see too many examples of government spending Steven, but I admit that I only read about 7 or 8 pages.

I actually think that the article demonstrates why we should "get government out of business" , but given the infancy of the movement, we should be tolerant of mistakes.

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#5) On November 06, 2010 at 6:57 PM, devoish (98.66) wrote:

Chris,

I am not surprised at your interpretation. My reference to Gov spending had to do with some of the bank charters requiring lending to the State.

I think that the terms of the charters clearly demonstrates the intention of the first Americans to have a tight reign over corporate America, so they would never be under the thumb of an East India Trading Company, something they were all to familiar with, or "to big to fail" banks.

I also think the terms clearly demonstrate the intent that corporations should serve the needs of the community, not just the shareholders, and they limited corporate charters, so that any corporation judged bad for the community could die.

In chartering banks, the matter of paramount public concern is the protection of depositors and bill holders, and the act of 1829 contained a number of provisions designed to accomplish this object. No bank could do business until commissioners appointed by the governor should have ascertained that it had in its vaults gold and silver equal to one half its capital and should have received from the directors a sworn statement that there were no strings attached to this money. No shareholder could borrow from the bank until his subscription was paid in full, and no stock was transferrable until the entire capital was paid in.  Banks were forbidden to lend more than 50 per cent of their paid-in capital on the security of their own stock, to issue bills amounting to more than 125 per cent of the paid-in capital, or to incur debts amounting to more than twice their capital. Directors responsible for incurring such debts were to be held personally liable therefore. No bank was to engage in trade or to hold realty worth more than 12 per cent of its capital except as collateral or when taken on execution. Shareholders were to be liable up to the amount of their share holdings in case of loss of capital through the director’s mismanagement, and on the expiration of the charter were to be liable in proportion to their shares for the redemption of all outstanding bills. Inspection by a legislative committee was provided for, and there were to be elaborate annual reports to the secretary of the commonwealth.

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#6) On November 06, 2010 at 8:34 PM, ChrisGraley (29.72) wrote:

You highlighted a great section there devoish.

There's not too much there that I could disagree with. I hope I didn't come off as too critical in my initial post. I was actually trying to be a little diplomatic. My point was that they initially got some things wrong, but that was expected since they had never attempted it before.

Putting responsibilty and accountability in the hands of the board of directors is their best idea. The accountability needed to be directly to the shareholders and to the depositors and not directly to the government though. Adding to the above more rights for shareholders to take action against directors and a layer of private deposit insurance (and therefore private oversight) before government oversight (which will be ineffective by design) would have been a great start.

They got some things wrong, but given that they were breaking fairly new ground, they were expected to get some things wrong.

If it helps to show agreement, I do think that what we have now is worse than what we initially attempted.

To diverge our opinions yet again, the reason why what we have now is worse, is directly because we didn't give any power to private interests initially and expected the government to keep the best interests of the people in mind. A 4 way balance of power would have protected people from the corporatism that eventually happened. When the government sided with the banks the depositors and shareholders got screwed.

 

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#7) On November 06, 2010 at 8:49 PM, ChrisGraley (29.72) wrote:

I should add to the above statement Steven.

I can agree with you on the intent of government, but the failure of government was because they assumed too much power. Had that power been given more directly to the people, we would not be where we are now.

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#8) On November 06, 2010 at 10:22 PM, devoish (98.66) wrote:

Putting responsibilty and accountability in the hands of the board of directors is their best idea. The accountability needed to be directly to the shareholders and to the depositors and not directly to the government though - Chris

I disagree. I think putting a specific financial penalty upon shareholders and directors for mismanagement, and making them financially accountable to depositors was their best idea. Without that community backing, there would be no banking. Combined with making sure those shareholders and directors had the ability to honor those claims was also important, and a much better idea than depositors being guaranteed by taxpayers.

It is in #7 that our biggest difference lies and will remain. "Had that power been given more directly to the people, we would not be where we are now". "The people" have always had that power, and always will. It has only been through violence or democracy that it has ever been executed, and occasionally through the benevolence of Kings. Democracy has been the most reliable choice, but it requires a citizenship that recognises Government as the tool it uses, and require it to be citizen friendly, not business friendly.

Safety nets are just as available to the victims of sickness as they are to the victims of Madoff. Unemployment is there for the plumber and the bankers - it is all they should have gotten.

Equal under the law.

I also have to imagine that in 1780 that 90% of Americans did not have enough funds to "bank" either. If you are a farmer, do you make a deposit in the bank, or an investment in a plow? I'm betting the plow, the labor to clear land or dig a root cellar came first.

Today, just about everyone is connected electronically to Gov't, and banks. There is no longer any need for a central bank or a FED to distribute money. If Gov't feels the need to expand the money supply it can do it by increasing the retirement payment of SSI, and secure the dignity of our citizenry and make the financial industry earn their money by paying interest and risking their own, just as the earliest leaders of our Country intended.

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#9) On November 06, 2010 at 11:48 PM, whereaminow (20.95) wrote:

devo,

I'm going to break this up in three comments, because it's going to be long.  The first will deal with Heinlein, the second with corporations, and the third with the comment section of this thread.

I have not read Coventry, although it is high on my list to read.  Heinlein is not a libertarian by his own admission, though he certainly possessed a very solid understanding of libertarian ideas and values.  The best compliment I can give to a person I give to Heinlein: he accepted nothing as a given and questioned every social norm and idea.  I would have loved discussing ideas with him.

I pulled up a review of Coventry here, and I don't quite understand why it should upset me, or anyone for that matter, but I'll keep your thoughts in mind when I get a copy.  It sounds like a fun science fiction novel with libertarian themes similar to the Non Aggression Principle, although it appears that the production of retribution and security services is performed by a monopoly.  I have read The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, which is Heinlein's libertarian revolution novel and there are things in there that are major disagreements for me as well.  I would recommend that book to everyone, but it's not a Bible of Libertarianism. 

Heinlein is the best type of person, one who investigates every idea critically. I will most likely greatly enjoy Coventry when I get my hands on it.

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#10) On November 07, 2010 at 12:17 AM, whereaminow (20.95) wrote:

Now on to Dodd.  I'd like to start by going over the main concepts in Dodd's essay on corporations.  Then I want to look at some of the issues that arise from corporate law.  Finally, I'll close with thoughts on corporations in a free society.

Dodd notes that American courts had little precedent to work from in establishing corporate law.  Considering the lack of expertise and the lack of established precedent, it's no wonder that early American corporate law was crude and left a great deal to be desired.

It's correctly noted that the establishment of a corporation is a statutory consideration.  In other words, a corporate entity derives its authority (its privilege) from the State.  The original corporations were the European States. 

I need to make a point perfectly clear here, since it is widely misunderstood even by libertarians:

Corporations were originally conceived from the desire to protect government officials from liability, not from the desire to protect businesses from liability.  That privilege grew out of the original purpose.

Louis XIV once said , "I am the State."  This was not the majority opinion of European bureaucrats at the time.  The problem, as they saw it, was that if they are identified as the State, then they can be held responsible for the State's business failures (Louis XIV didn't have to worry about something so petty as personal responsibility.) This is the origin of the corporation, a way to shield government officials from liability.

So back to Dodd. I'm going to hit on a couple more points.  One, Dodd correcly points out that the granting of a charter is a political event.  As such, the question that libertarians need to consider is not how to deal with corporate law (since it is by its very nature arbitrary and political), but whether or not corporations could exist in a free society and what form they might take.  There is a lot of libertarian debate on this subject and I recommend the Journal of Libertarian Studies which you can search through online for a deeper analysis. 

I found it unsurprising that America's first corporation was a bank.  The history of government and banking is one of a relationship of mutual benefit (usually).  A reading of the arguments between the Jeffersonians and the Hamiltons of the revolution show that it was well understood by both sides the tremendous impact that a monopoly banking privilege can have on a government.  We know that Jefferson saw that privilege through the framework of "banking/governemnt marriage will create a powerful State, and that is bad" and Hamilton saw it as "banking/gov marriage will create a powerful State, and that is good."

Hamilton got his wish. There were back and forths in the fight over the next 100 years, to be sure. But by large, Hamilton won. the State got its banking cartel. The State grew and prospered, as both Jefferson and Hamilton predicted.  The only remaining question is whether this is good or bad. 

David, you will find argument for your theory that all Government eventually leads to capture and corruption, while I find argument that it has been calls for less Government that pave the way.

A couple things of importance. First, Capture Theory was developed by a Chicago School economist (whose name escapes me right now) so I should give credit there.  My argument is slightly different, but it is based on Capture Theory. 

Second, and this is crucial, calls for less government concerning entities that the government created and husbanded are very dangerous, particularly with the banking industry.  Furthermore, the actual practice is usual just a re-writing of the rules that benefits a new pack of jackals.  (See the Savings&Loan fiasco)  This is why the Austrian School does not support reduced regulation for the fractional reserve banking system under the context of monopoly privilege (obviously, we advocate reduced regulation in many lines of business, but fractional reserve banking is not one of them.) They recommend a transition to the gold standard and then the complete removal of cartel privilege.

David in Qatar

 

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#11) On November 07, 2010 at 12:43 AM, whereaminow (20.95) wrote:

Finally, I'll start going through the comments.

tomlongrpv (91.16) wrote:

Maybe we should consider going back to a "free market" and tell shareholders they can form whatever business associations they want but they are just general partnerhips and they are therefore in that old world of unlimited personal liability down to their last cufflinks.  That would provide some real incentives for more active corporate management to be socially responsible rather than rewarding predatory behavior by corporations as we do now.

I like the sentiment, but I think it's important to understand that we would be exploring new ground, not old ground.  As mentioned, the corporate structure granted through State privilege was a part of the market place from the beginning.  It is hard to conceive how the market would look without it.  My own estimation is that the pace of growth would be slower, but steadier.  This jives with my take on the Progressive Era, where the main complaint was the progress was moving too slowly, hence the explosion in government investment in the private sector.  Certainly this can lead to a leap forward, but it also makes for a shakier ride.

ChrisGraley (99.83) wrote:

The author doesn't state whether such clauses were abused, but the government had the power to essentially borow money from all the banks that they didn't have an ownership interest in and then revoke their charters giving the government free money to buy controlling interest in the remaining bank and a monopoly in the banking system.

I wonder if this had more to do with the dire financial circumstances of Massachusettes government following the Revolution than with any desire to exercise control over the banking system. I have no evidence to support this, just throwing that out there. 

devoish (99.46) wrote:

I also think the terms clearly demonstrate the intent that corporations should serve the needs of the community, not just the shareholders, and they limited corporate charters, so that any corporation judged bad for the community could die.

Considering the origins of the corporation as an instrument of the State, it certainly follows that people should expect it to operate with the community's interests.  The problem is that many people, including libertarians, think that corporations are private businesses run by entrepreneurs, and therefore should only be focused on maximing revenue and lower costs (which is the way entrepreneurs serve the community.)  But a free market entrepreneur, as conceived in this light, does not need State privilege to compete.  So we should look upon corporate CEO's as great entrepreneurs paving the path to prosperity through risk and reward.  For the most part, I do not. In fact, in one of my earliest blogs on this site, I denounced a Motley Fool article for characterizing bank CEO's as entrepreneurs.  Most corporate CEO's are not much different in method and manner as government officials.  This should not suprise us when we consider corporate origins.

ChrisGraley (99.83) wrote:

If it helps to show agreement, I do think that what we have now is worse than what we initially attempted.

True. I suspect that is because now an ingrained feature of the Western economy. The level of sophistication needed to manage, legislate, and regulate the various corporate forms and the sheer number of corporations is not present in the government or the legal profession. Even if it were, the amount of resources that would need to be diverted to properly assess every form of State privilege and its consequences would grind civilization to a halt! =D

In other words, they've created a monster.

David in Qatar

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#12) On November 07, 2010 at 1:22 AM, whereaminow (20.95) wrote:

Another note on fractional reserves under monpoly privelege:

Fractional reserves always operate conceptually on an upside down pyramid with bank notes at the top being much larger than the reserves at the bottom, whether or not those reserves are paper money or gold money.  So it is correct for opponents of the gold standard to point out that the business cycle is not eliminated by the implementation of a gold standard (that is, if they understand the cause of the business cycle.)   The reason the Austrian School advocates the return to the gold standard is a logical, pragmatic step towards removing monopoly priviege in banking.

You will notice however, that it logically follows from the fact that gold reserves cannot be increased as quickly as paper reserves, that the pyramid upon which bank notes are created under a gold standard cannot grow as fast as they can under a paper standard, ceteris paribus. Hence, while the business cycle is still present under the gold standard, the duration of the boom and the shock of the bust is reduced.  We see that as beneficial.

My main frustration with calls for increased regulation of the fractional reserve banking system is two-fold:

1. Many people think the Federal Reserve is capable of regulating the banking industry.  Once you understand, however, that the Federal Reserve is merely the top dog in a cartel, then the expectation of wise regulation that is beneficial to citizens at the expense of cartel profits no longer seems plausible.

2. Regulation without an understanding of the nature of the beast will only serve to further confuse the public when the next crisis invaritably happens.  The primary thrust of any regulatory efforts should be (a) restrictions on the amount of paper money that can be produced - tied to some production targets, so that only as production increases can the money supply be increased and not the other way around. There are problems that could still arise that I will address if requested. (b) increased restrictions on the reserve requirements of the banks, including the Fed banks (the New York Fed, for example, is currently leveraged 70:1 according to one report I have read.) (c) strict liability enforcement and punishment for banking officials that violate these requirements or engage in fraudulent activities to obscure their financial status.

The problem is that the governemnt doesn't seem very interested in doing any of the above, and in fact, seems to want to do the opposite.  So I don't understand how I am to have faith that anyone will follow through on these recommendations.  I am aware of Elizabeth Warren, and she appears to be a good person with the right intentions, but I don't know enough about her understanding of the roots of corporate and bank power to be convinced that I can put any faith in her.  I am skeptical to say the least.

I would have actually preferred to have Alan Grayson lead a commission on these matters, because I know he understands the nature of the cartel and because he is such a blazing d*ckhead that nobody will push him around.

David in Qatar

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#13) On November 07, 2010 at 10:48 AM, devoish (98.66) wrote:

I have to admit I am a very lazy reader. I'll bookmark it. - Fleabagger

Please, everyone who is trying to follow this discussion, read the link first. History says that at some point this thread will devolve into Chris wanting to shoot me, David calling me ignorant, or me suggesting he is an "anti- American traitor. Just the fact that we have gotten this far suggests that it has substance. Don't settle for my interpretation, or Davids, or Chris'.

Chris, just the fact that your first reply does not involve shooting me passes muster as diplomatic at this point.

The original corporations were the European States.  I am happy you said this. I agree with the point that the European States were effectively corporations, not necessarily the "original" corporations though (I don't believe either you or I "know" that), and I have been wanting to make that point with you. It goes to the point I have tried to make in previous threads that corporate rule will not be better than democracy - even todays version.

I need to make a point perfectly clear here, since it is widely misunderstood even by libertarians:

Corporations were originally conceived from the desire to protect government officials from liability, not from the desire to protect businesses from liability.  That privilege grew out of the original purpose.

I completely disagree with this idea, and especially its presentation as "fact". Corporations grew out of a perceived need to raise money for investment, and a desire among participants to define ownership terms of profit/losses and in the event of dissolution and have a neutral third party enforce the terms of the ownership contract. Everyone was afraid someone will try to rob them.

In the United States, the overeaching fear was of a concentration of power into any small self serving group. Power was divided into branches of Government, religous groups were specifically not to be rewarded or discouraged, and from these charters it is clear that corporations were feared and made answerable to the electorate through their representatives - whom the electorate can replace.

Corportions were intended to exist only at the will of the electorate, and early leaders believed it was preferrable to act to sustain them, not act to end them.

This seems to me to put Tea Party politics furthest from the intent of the earliest Americans than any other political group I can think of. Although the intent of most Tea Partiers - to return to the common sense of early America is probably sensible. I leave it to them to determine if the words and deeds of their candidates actually matches the deeds done in the earliest years of American government.

I found it unsurprising that America's first corporation was a bank. I don't think the writings say that,in fact the writings mention corporations as far back as 1720, long before the USA was born, banking is just discussed first.

We know that Jefferson saw that privilege through the framework of "banking/governemnt marriage will create a powerful State, and that is bad" and Hamilton saw it as "banking/gov marriage will create a powerful State, and that is good."

Hamilton got his wish. There were back and forths in the fight over the next 100 years, to be sure. But by large, Hamilton won. the State got its banking cartel. The State grew and prospered, as both Jefferson and Hamilton predicted.  The only remaining question is whether this is good or bad. 

I do not think Hamilton got his wish at all. The "State" now seems to answer to the banking industry, not the reverse. currently advice from the financial industry is to end Government functions in favor of their own. That is a sustantive reversal of roles from early America, and clearly not what was intended.

I think it is important to point out that this was Massachusetts banking, not Federal. The Federal gov't at Hamiltons advice formed the First bank of the United States, with a twenty year charter which was allowed to expire. The goal was to pay for the revolutionary war, and create a single currency among States.

 They recommend a transition to the gold standard and then the complete removal of cartel privilege.

Under current circumstances I think this is among the worst of all possible proposals. It would most likely result in rewarding the current systems most succesful thieves with the most gold.

 

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#14) On November 07, 2010 at 11:03 AM, devoish (98.66) wrote:

Tomlongrpv,

I agree, at least to the extent of making shareholders liable for damage their companys do. With the safety nets of SSI and Medicare intact for them.

David,

The problem is that many people, including libertarians, think that corporations are private businesses run by entrepreneurs, and therefore should only be focused on maximing revenue and lower costs (which is the way entrepreneurs serve the community.) 

I do not think that "private business's are necessarily seperate from corporations in this discussion. I also think that "price" is not cost, and we all do our discussions a disservice by not using a phrase such as  "lowering price and societal cost", to remind us of the current environment where many of business's costs are being passed on to society in general with little to no accounting or ending of charters.

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#15) On November 07, 2010 at 2:23 PM, ChrisGraley (29.72) wrote:

Thank you for acknowledging that I didn't threaten to shoot you in this post Steven. That's directly related to the fact that you didn't propose that it's OK for you to steal from me. I know that you don't care much for my rights, but when you threaten to take action to trample them, expect a reaction to protect them.

I completely disagree with this idea, and especially its presentation as "fact". Corporations grew out of a perceived need to raise money for investment, and a desire among participants to define ownership terms of profit/losses and in the event of dissolution and have a neutral third party enforce the terms of the ownership contract. Everyone was afraid someone will try to rob them.

I have to ask who the mythical neutral 3rd party is? Does the neutral 3rd party back then, still seem neutral to you?

 This seems to me to put Tea Party politics furthest from the intent of the earliest Americans than any other political group I can think of. Although the intent of most Tea Partiers - to return to the common sense of early America is probably sensible. I leave it to them to determine if the words and deeds of their candidates actually matches the deeds done in the earliest years of American government.

Please do not switch randomly between the Tea Party and Libertarians, they are not the same group. Also don't lump the political beliefs of all the founding fathers in the same group either. Dave's demonstration between the views of Jefferson and Hamilton demonstrate that. Libertarians disagree with Hamilton's vision, which was the one that won out.

I do not think Hamilton got his wish at all. The "State" now seems to answer to the banking industry, not the reverse. currently advice from the financial industry is to end Government functions in favor of their own. That is a sustantive reversal of roles from early America, and clearly not what was intended. 

Giving too much power too government is exactly why we are in the position we are in now. The banks simply bribe government for the legislation that they want. Had the people not have been subverted, they could have balanced out some of that government control and some of those bribes. 

Under current circumstances I think this is among the worst of all possible proposals. It would most likely result in rewarding the current systems most succesful thieves with the most gold.

Do you understand what you just stated? If we were on the gold standard and cartel status was removed, only the most honest banks would be rewarded with the most gold and they would have bought it themselves.

I do not think that "private business's are necessarily seperate from corporations in this discussion. I also think that "price" is not cost, and we all do our discussions a disservice by not using a phrase such as  "lowering price and societal cost", to remind us of the current environment where many of business's costs are being passed on to society in general with little to no accounting or ending of charters. 

Steven, how can you state that the limited liability of a corporation is a problem in one breath and say there is no difference between private businesses and corporations in this discussion. If you think that price is not cost and you don't want to admit that the laws in place are bought by corporations, you are doomed to keep the status quo. There aren't many private businesses with the money to bribe elected officials the way the corporations can.

Why are you afraid of having the people having a more direct role in policing corporations? Why does it all have to be handed to a 2 party government where everyone is bribe-able? Yes we can vote out the guy that took this bribe, but does that mean that the guy we are voting in won't take the next one?

Your circular logic seems to take us to an even worse spot than we are now. 

 

 

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#16) On November 07, 2010 at 2:45 PM, whereaminow (20.95) wrote:

I'm drunk. I'll be back when I'm sober.  Devo I do have evidence that State directed businesses in Europe, run by government officials, were the first to be granted corporate privilege.  But I have to dig it up tomorrah when I sober up.   

(Even though I'm thousands of miles away, watching Da Bears try to block three pass rushers while in max protect AND FAILING, still makes me want to drink.)

David in Qatar 

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#17) On November 07, 2010 at 6:03 PM, devoish (98.66) wrote:

I'm drinking, so i'll wait. While I am interested whether or not Europe was first is really not relevant to the intentions of the earliest American governments. At least I do not think so.

Chris, easy does it, I was playing nice. I did not switch from Libertarians to Tea Party. I spoke specifically about the Tea Party and that is ok, even if I am speaking to people who deny they are Tea Party and claim to be Libertarians. In light of our history I would like us to move past your reading something that was not there, this time.

It is still only your property in your mind, and not mine, unless we have a contract that says so. I hope you do not expect your contract between Mary and Tom to restrict me. Unless you are suggesting that we do have some sort of contract to recognise each others contracts.

I will come back and play later if I am up to it.

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#18) On November 07, 2010 at 8:19 PM, ChrisGraley (29.72) wrote:

Did I seem upset?

As far as my property not being mine, because you and I don't have an agreement specifically, why don't you just waltz into a Federal Reserve bank and claim it for yourself and let me know what happens. (That is if they don't shoot you in the head.) ;)

Let's all get drunk and moon the Fed.

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#19) On November 07, 2010 at 9:27 PM, ChrisGraley (29.72) wrote:

Tomlongrpv,

I agree, at least to the extent of making shareholders liable for damage their companys do. With the safety nets of SSI and Medicare intact for them.

Other than this being absolutely impossible to implement, (How are you going to police liability for foriegn shareholders for example?) If you did manage to implement this, people could lose their entire retirement funds from investments that they didn't even know that their mutual funds made. That's a perfect way to screw the least culpable people.

As far as SSI and Medicare being safety nets, they are only safety nets when they are finally paid for. That will never happen in either of our lifetimes.

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#20) On November 07, 2010 at 10:20 PM, devoish (98.66) wrote:

The mythical neutral third party is commonly referred to as the Judge - Not the Libertarian or ChrisGraley or Devoish.

And yes I understand you believe any Judge who does not agree with you is therefore corrupt.

I did not switch betyween the Tea Party and Libertarian.

Not supporting government when it tried to restrict thievery disguised as business is why we are where we are now.

I think i understand what i just said. You said "if we were on the gold standard and cartel status was removed only the most honest banks would be rewarded". You imagine a result that has not ever happened. In Massachusetts in 1790 they thought you were wrong too. secondly, we are not onthe gold standard, switching now would be a mistake and reward the biggest thieves from today, before the gold standard was reinstated.

Just because business's choose to incorporate due to our laws does not mean they would refuse to grow larger, and accuulate enough money to bribe officials if that legal option was not available.

I know very few people with the time energy or desire to spend there tme policing corporations after they have finished a ten hour day and 1 hour commute home, fuixed the dinner, washed the kids and put them to bed. You and I never sleep so we can, but few of my friends can. Personally I would rather spend what little time I have countering foolishness with you, but while David was watching his Bears, I had an 8 point buck in the sights of my Olympus camera. Then through the magic of modern technology I watched the Jets suck their way to a win in Detroit. No corporate policing for me or David today, how about you?

And your post #19? 10% of Americans own $700,000 in stocks - and most of that is not owned by most of them. The next 15% own $53,000, which is good for one year of a 20 year retirement maybe two, less if they get sick. The next 75% own next to nothing. So relax and don't worry for the little people, the least culpable people will not be screwed.

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#21) On November 07, 2010 at 11:56 PM, ChrisGraley (29.72) wrote:

No, I just believe that Judges run for office just like politicians and therefore can be bribed just as easy.

Just because business's choose to incorporate due to our laws does not mean they would refuse to grow larger, and accuulate enough money to bribe officials if that legal option was not available.

I think that you wanted to insert the word 'not' there after choose, but I'm not sure how you can condem me for saying that most politicians are corrupt for taking bribes. (government made it legal, it's called a campaign contribution) and then berate me for saying that not all business can afford to pay the bribes. (and yes, an overwhelming majority of private business could not afford a bribe at the federal level. They could possibly pool their money, if they have common interests or even bribe at the local or state level though.)

I know very few people with the time energy or desire to spend there tme policing corporations after they have finished a ten hour day and 1 hour commute home, fuixed the dinner, washed the kids and put them to bed. You and I never sleep so we can, but few of my friends can. Personally I would rather spend what little time I have countering foolishness with you, but while David was watching his Bears, I had an 8 point buck in the sights of my Olympus camera. Then through the magic of modern technology I watched the Jets suck their way to a win in Detroit. No corporate policing for me or David today, how about you?

I watched football and drank beer all day and didn't police any businesses myself. My beloved Browns trounced the Patriots today! But the people not only have the power of numbers on their side, we only each have to police the businesses that we have a private interest in and even when a majority of people choose not to police them, the few that choose to do so will protect the interests of rest of us.

And as far as my post #19, the last time I checked, everybody's 401k's, 403B's, Pensions, IRA's and Roth IRA's depended on  the stocks of corporations. You quickly write off a quarter of the population as the privileged and dismiss the other 75% of the population not having enough saved for you to care about (of course without even taking into account the pertentage of the population that is below working age) Then you tell me that the least culpable people will not be screwed, while earlier you say that they should all rely on the unfunded ponzi schemes known as SSI and Medicare. That just simply amazes me.

Why do you even come to an investing website if you don't feel investing is worthwhile and that the government will take care of everyone in their retirement? I'm just curious.

 

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