In his 2004 book, the Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, Joel Bakan describes how corporations came to be legally recognized as persons before the law. (p.16) In his words, “through a bizarre legal alchemy.” This occurred in 1886.
Later in the book, Bakan asks the question, if corporations are persons, what sort of person are they? For the answer to this, he consulted Robert Hare, a psychologist and internationally renowned expert on psychopathy. (pp.56-57) Hare listed the character traits common to a corporation: irresponsible, because in an attempt to satisfy the corporate goal, everybody else is put at risk; grandiose, always insisting, “we’re the best.”; a lack of empathy and asocial tendencies: “their behaviour indicates they don’t really concern themselves with their victims.”; often refuse to accept responsibility for their own actions and are unable to feel remorse: “if they get caught breaking the law, they pay big fines, and continue doing what they were doing before.”; relates to others superficially: they present themselves to the public in an appealing way, but may not actually be representative of what they really are. Human psychopaths are known to use charm to hide their true selves. For corporations, social responsibility may play the same role.
To read the full article, please click on the following link.