Guest Post: Why Corporations Matter, Part 1

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Gonzalo Lira

Why Corporations Matter, Part I

 

The Antikythera clockwork was a mechanical device, made of bronze and iron gears, that was manufactured by the ancient Greeks in the second century B.C. It was lost in a shipwreck around 150 B.C., and recovered from the bottom of the Mediterranean in 1900. But it was only in the last couple of decades, with the help of sophisticated imaging equipment, that scientists have realized what the rusted hunk of metal actually is:

The Antikythera clockwork is a computer. And a very sophisticated and exact one at that.

It was used to predict eclipses and other astronomical events. Because of its complexity and design sophistication, it probably wasn’t a one-off: The Antikythera clockwork was likely the culmination of at least a few decades’ worth of development by the ancient Greeks—which means that whoever made the Antikythera clockwork had the knowledge to make other, exceedingly useful devices, including clocks and calculators, with a myriad of practical applications.

Nevertheless, the technology that made the Antikythera clockwork possible was lost—it was only in the XIII century that mechanical clockworks were developed in Europe once again. Something to compare to the Antikythera clockwork in complexity, sophistication, compactness and accuracy did not come to be until roughly the XVI or XVII century, depending on your metrics—1,700 years after the ship carrying the Antikythera clockwork went down.

Why was the technology lost?

Actually, that’s the wrong question: Vital bits of knowledge and technology have been getting lost all the time, ever since human beings figured out how to make their own food.

The real question is, Why has technology been preserved and accumulated so effectively over the last four centuries of our current civilization? Why now, and not before?

Think about it: Human beings developed agriculture roughly 10,000 years ago, which created the possibility of settlements and therefore a civilization. Yet every civilization has risen, plateaued, and then fallen, and ultimately their technology and culture have been for the most part lost. Even exceedingly practical bits of knowledge have disappeared, not to mention great art and literature.

The Antikythera clockwork is just one of countless examples, large and small, of lost technology and culture. The development—and just as importantly the maintenance—of technology and culture have been literally Sisyphean tasks. Ziggurats were built in Mesopotamia some 7,000 years ago—then all that knowledge that went into their construction was lost. A thousand years later, ancient Egyptian engineers had to start from scratch when they decided to build their pyramids—then their insights and expertise were lost too, by the time the French got around to building that canker sore in front of the Louvre.

The fact that technology and culture have been constantly lost hasn’t meant that there haven’t been efforts to preserve them. On the contrary, there have been constant efforts. Libraries have been built to preserve art and literature—but then they burned. Guilds have been created to protect crafts and sciences—but then they fell apart.

In fact, when you look at it from this perspective of knowledge preservation, since A.D. 387, the Catholic Church is the only institution which has systematically preserved knowledge across borders and time—but that preservation was of necessity piecemeal; static; and excluded any bit of technology, culture or knowledge that contradicted the Church’s teachings. That’s why, for instance, so many of the racier plays of Sophocles were lost.

That’s also why pure science didn’t progress very much, between A.D. 387 and A.D. 1602. Apart from technology related to warfare, trade and other practical affairs, the Church was a stopper on pure scientific development. Just ask Galileo.

Nevertheless, our current civilization owes a tremendous debt to the Catholic Church. Were it not for the Church, after the fall of Rome, Europe would have descended even further into barbarism than it did. Without the Church, nothing of the Greek and Roman civilisations would have been preserved. But the Church’s cosmopolitanism, coupled with its monasticism, created an archipelago of knowledge across a uniformly ignorant Europe between A.D. 387 (the Gauls’ sacking of Rome) and A.D. 1317 (the likely publication date of Dante’s Inferno), when the Renaissance began.

However, it’s with the Enlightenment starting in 1602 that, suddenly, we have had a geometric progression of technological development: Technology building on technology slowly at first, but then accelerating in a smooth, uninterrupted curve. Indeed, the very idea of “progress”, so reflexively familiar to us today, so never-ending in our imagination, didn’t even exist until the Enlightenment.

This notion of open-ended, never-ending progress has only been possible because there has not been significant loss of technology since the start of the Enlightenment.

People might object and say that technology was lost before the Enlightenment because there was war, disease and famine—but there’s been plenty of war, disease and famine since the start of the Enlightenment. Yet we’ve somehow managed to hang on to our progress.

The question is, Why? Why has there not been a substantial loss of technology and culture over the last 400 years? It’s happened in every other period of history, in every other culture in history—except in Europe, starting about 400 years ago, and spreading out of Europe to eventually encompass the world.

Why?

I’ve been bitching about corporations as of late—I’ve been bemoaning the current era of corporate anarchy and “street-gang corporatism” that seems to have enveloped our society. I’ve been openly wondering whether the United States is descending into a fascist police-state ruled by corporate interests.

But that doesn’t mean I think corporations are the root of all evil. Quite the contrary:

I posit that the invention of the corporation made the progress of our civilization—and the explosion of humanity’s numbers—possible. I would argue that without corporations, the Enlightenment would not have happened, and the civilization we currently enjoy would not have come into existence. I would further argue that, without the concept and practice of the corporation, today we would be living the bad bits of the Middle Ages.

(And you thought I was a tree-hugging, Birkenstock-wearing foo-foo Alterna-geek loser who ends every statement with an interrogative: “It’s 50 degrees Celsius in the shade? So I think it’s hot? But I’m not really sure? It’s just my opinion?”)

Though I think the idea of the corporation was a necessary condition for the development of our civilization, it wasn’t a sufficient condition. In other epochs and cultures, versions of what we could consider corporations have existed—but those civilizations weren’t able to parlay their versions of corporation into what Europeans and the West did: Corporations as a knowledge and technology preserver and aggregator.

Before continuing, let me define what I mean by “corporation”:

I am not referring to mere “companies”—that is, partnerships or syndicates of merchants or adventurers who band together to pursue a common enterprise, an enterprise which they lack the means to pursue individually. Partnerships have existed since forever, syndicates since the Roman times (if not earlier). Chartered companies began roughly in the mid-XVI C. in England and Holland, though of course there were random examples in isolated spots in the centuries before that.

But corporations began in 1602, with the Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, or VOC; literally “United East India Company”). The VOC was established in 1602, as a competitor to the British East India Company, which had been chartered in 1600. Both companies were spice trading syndicates which had received government monopolies to trade in the Far East.

The Dutch East India Company, however, is the first true corporation because of two key difference from its British counterpart: One, the VOC was the first limited-liability corporation; that is, its financial exposure was limited to the capital contributed to the company, and no more. And two, the VOC was the first company where the participanten (non-managing partners) could sell their participation in the company by way of their anonymous stock. The Amsterdam stock exchange—the first and oldest in the world—was founded specifically so as to trade in those VOC stock.

VOC’s organisational model became the template for all future corporations—and to my way of thinking, this development was the starting date of the Enlightenment, and a turning point in world history.

(Parenthetically, when I speak of “corporations”, I am not referring to giant multi-nationals exclusively, or even implicitly. I’m simply referring to any company whose owners have a limited liability, and whose stock can be traded. In my own mind, I’m imagining a small glass factory which employs about a hundred people, whose penny-stock is publicly traded. Furthermore, when I speak of “company”, I’m referring to any organization of more than one individual, coming together in pursuit of a business or other venture; by this definition, a corporation, a syndicate and a partnership are each a different type of company.)

Cynics view corporations as money-making machines. But that’s just stupid. Corporations—of whatever size—should be viewed as two things: One, productivity engines, designed to produce a specific good or service, while disregarding anything and everything else, so as to satisfy a demand in the society. And two, as repositories of assets, both tangible and intangible.

It’s the second issue which interests me right now: Corporations as repositories of assets.

Before the VOC, commercial enterprises depended on particular people—the cobbler’s business depended on the cobbler himself, and his actual work, and the work of the apprentice cobblers he might have working for him. A partnership depended on specific people working together for a common goal. If one of those people left or died, the partnership was dissolved, or at least had to be severely restructured.

It was quite normal, before the VOC and corporations, for a business to rise, plateau, then decline, and then ultimately vanish—along with all of the business’s accumulated expertise. That is, presumably, what happened to the makers of the Antikythera clockwork. Ambitious men have been forever trying to get their sons to follow the family business they spent so much time, effort and tears nurturing and growing—only to have their hopes dashed when their sons turned out to be uninterested, or even worse, incompetent.

But starting with the Dutch East India Company’s stock, people could take an active interest in a company for a limited time, before passing on the ownership of the corporation to someone else by way of the sale of stock.

Who would take over the corporate entity? Obvious: Someone who was interested in building it up.

People are not single-minded. People like to talk, hang out, fuck, laugh, play, read a book, etc. But corporations are productivity engines. They are supposed to do one thing: Carry out the business of the corporation.

When people are interested in the business of a corporation, they participate in it via stock ownership. The corporation’s interests and the stock owner’s interests align, and both benefit. When the stock owner’s interest flags for whatever reason, they can sell off their ownership in the corporation to someone else.

Thus the corporation and the owners are meeting each other at the moment when they are of most use to one another. And when the owner leaves the business (ie., sells his stock shares), it’s not just that the owner is “cashing out” when he’s no longer interested in the business: It’s that the corporation is continuing on with a new and interested owner, who will use his best efforts to maximise the business of the corporation.

The benefit of the stock sale is not only to the stockholder, but also to the corporation. Because the corporation is leaving behind an uninterested owner, and continuing on with a new stockholder—a new owner—catching this individual at the peak of his interest in the business of the corporation.

A good way to think of this is, the founder of a corporation is like a man who builds a cart, out of scrap metal and wooden planks. He pulls the cart forward, loading it up with whatever he finds along the way, constantly improving his cart, until he reaches a point where he is either too old or too exhausted or simply too uninterested to continue pulling the cart—so he sells it to someone else.

This new owner also improves the cart—she puts new wheels on it, maybe she installs an engine so she can drive it instead of pull it, and so on. Maybe she comes up with ideas to improve the cart that the previous owner could never have imagined—say she replaces the wheels with rockets, and attaches wings to the cart. But then finally, she too is no longer interested in riding the cart—so she sells it on to someone else.

The successive owners have benefitted from the cart—they’ve sold it at a profit to each new owner. But then, the cart itself has also benefited from each sale. Every new owner has improved the cart in some way or another. And human ingenuity being what it is, these improvements have often been in radically unexpected ways. Since the cart—the corporation—is in a practical sense immortal, in theory it can be improved upon infinitely, as it is passed along from owner to owner.

Unlike a pre-modern partnership or any other sort of company lacking in a simple ownership transfer mechanism, a corporation is never dissolved or wound down when an owner decides to exit the property: Rather, the corporation is merely passed from owner to owner by way of its stock sale.

Some owners might decide to break off productive units of a corporation and sell them off—maybe the corporation is a conglomerate, and the new owners decide to break it apart until there’s nothing left. The conglomerate itself might disappear completely—but those productive units that made it up live on with new owners. Gulf + Western would be an example.

A corporation might even go bankrupt—in fact many small corporations do. But if the corporation is of a size where its productive units are individually viable—say one of its factories that produces doo-dads is still a money-making venture—then the corporation’s owners’ stock will be wiped out in a bankruptcy, but the corporation’s productive units will be sold off to pay its creditors. Those productive units will continue to exist through time, with new owners who will improve them.

So then what are these “productive units” that I’m speaking of? The productive units are what carry out the business of the corporation—but that’s no help at all. Let me rephrase the question: What does a productive unit have that makes it worth keeping, as opposed to dismantling it into its component parts—tools, trucks, desks, chairs, etc.—in a bankruptcy? To rephrase again: What is the thing that holds all the assets of a company together, and makes it worth more whole than dissolved?

Or to rephrase yet again: What is the soul of a company?

An apocryphal story: Sir Walter Raleigh bet Queen Elizabeth that he could measure the weight of smoke from a cigar—a seemingly impossible feat. He took a fresh cigar, carefully weighed it, then smoked it, making sure to tap all his ash on the scale. When the cigar was consumed, he weighed the ash and the remains of the cigar—the difference between that weight and the weight of the fresh cigar was, he claimed, the weight of smoke. He was right, too. Just because you can’t catch it, doesn’t mean it’s weightless, or immaterial, or nonexistent.

I said before that a company is a repository of assets, both tangible and intangible. The concept of tangible assets is pretty obvious and straightforward. The company accumulates and owns buildings, trucks, chairs, desks, tools, paperclips, whathaveyou. Those things are the tangible assets of any company.

The intangible assets, however, are trickier. On the one hand, there are monetizable intangible assets, such as patents and copyrights, or specific permits or warrants, and of course professional services. There are also stocks and bonds and other financial assets. These are all intangible assets which can be bought or sold or hired; hence they are monetizable.

But then there is another intangible asset which cannot be quantified or monetized, yet which undoubtably exists, and has real value—like Raleigh’s smoke. This non-monetizable, intangible asset is accumulated through the ordinary activities of the company, and is essential to the company’s existence through time. It is the way in which the component elements of a company are arranged between one another—the way in which tangible and intangible assets are arranged and interact. This seemingly weightless smoke—which is essential—I will call the structural asset of the company.

The structural asset of the company refers to the way that the company is internally organized, in order to pursue its business and satisfy the demand by society for its products.
It is the thing that makes a company worth more than the sum of all its tangible and intangible assets.

To make this concept clear: A human body is made up of 43 kg of oxygen, 16 kg of carbon, 7 kg of hydrogen, 2.8 kg of nitrogen, 1 kg of calcium, 780 g of phosphorus, and about a kilo of various other elements. If I gather these elements together, and then dump them all in a tub, do I wind up with a 70 kg person? I should, shouldn’t I? After all, those elements I just mentioned are what make up a human being’s body, in those amounts that I just listed. If I gather them in a tub, and mix them up, a fully formed person ought to pop out, shake my hand, and join me for lunch at the restaurant down the street—right?

Of course not—what’s lacking here is the structure of the body: The way those elements are arranged internally. I can have all the elements that make up a human body—but not have a human body.

Similarly with a company: The machine tools, the trucks, the patents, the services of various workers, the copyrights, the paperclips—those are the component elements that make up a company. But they are not the company. What they need is the structural asset of the company, to arrange those component elements into a viable business.

It cannot be monetized or measured, and it cannot be transferred—it is inherent to the company. The structural asset of a company is constantly being accumulated and expanded through the business activity of the company. It is the thing whose decay leads to the entropy of the company. It is the thing which makes the company worth more than its constituent assets.

The structural asset of a company makes it possible to replace one tangible or intangible asset for another, without losing the company’s identity. That is, it allows a company to swap an old machine on the factory floor for a new one, a new worker for a worker who has left, and still remain what it was. Just as, say, a lung transplant for John does not mean that John ceases to be John and is now Frank, the structural asset allows a company to change machinery and people and locations and even businesses, while maintaining its identity through time.

The structural asset of a company is the mechanism that allows it to accumulate knowledge.

But up until 1602, companies whose owners died or lost interest were dissolved or wound down—thus was the structural asset of a company lost. Which meant that the accumulated knowledge was lost too. That’s why the technology behind the Antikythera clockwork was lost for 1700 years—since there was no mechanism to pass on the accumulated knowledge inherent in the structural asset of their company, once the owners lost interest in the business or died, all the accumulated technologies they had developed were lost.

However, I argue that with the founding of the Dutch East India Company in 1602, such loss of technology stopped happening. Owners who lost interest in the business for whatever reason could sell their stock in the corporation—and thus the corporation lived on, continuing to preserve and accumulate knowledge through time with other, more interested owners. Thus was technological development out of Europe a geometric progression.

This also explains why other cultures and empires, more civilized and advanced than Europe in 1602, were left in the dust a mere two hundred years later, and have been struggling to catch up to the West ever since. Think Japan, China, and the Ottoman Empire in 1602: Far superior to Europe, one and all. Now think Japan, China, the Ottoman Empire in 1850: Far behind Europe technologically, struggling to compete, and only able to once they had imported the concept of the corporation.

Had the Greek manufacturer of the Antikythera clockwork been a corporation instead of (likely) a tradesman with a few apprentices, the technology of the Antikythera clockwork would not have been lost. In fact, that technology would have been built upon as subsequent owners of the Antikythera Clockworks Corporation would have added and expanded its business, before selling on their stock in the corporation to some other owners, who would themselves have improved the corporation.

That did not happen—because corporations did not exist. There was no efficient ownership transfer mechanism which would maximise the benefit for both the seller of the company, and for the company itself. But once corporations came into existence in 1602 in Europe, we have had the smooth uninterrupted material progress I spoke of earlier, and which we enjoy today.

This is why corporations matter. This is why they are an essential part of our current civilization—above any religion, second only to the individual and the state.

In fact, the relationship between that triumvirate is the main issue in our current society—how corporations, individuals and the state can and should interact.

But that’s for another post.

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Debtless's picture

The only lost technology I wish the world would rediscover is the McRib sandwich. 

CPL's picture

Or that holiest of objects...the swiffer.

dark pools of soros's picture

actually the real lost tech was the McDLT where they kept the hot side hot and the cool side cool...  total lost art..

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTSdUOC8Kac

 

KAckermann's picture

They could come out with McShit-on-a-Stik and probably sell 2 billion of them.

CPL's picture

Implying that the legal entity called a corporation would have allowed us to travel to the stars any faster.  I think you are confusing corporation with the word "diety".  It reads like a bad Richard Morgan novel (which are fun).

 

 

Oh regional Indian's picture

Exactly. What a strange piece. Reading it (what I could) left me feeling queasy.

And now I know why. Because I do not consider where we have reached progress and in my mind, technology, especially what we have saved of it, has been, as a species, greatly to our detriment, not otherwise as the author suggests.

In fact, the industrial revolution (Enlightenment, that is too funny, to call it that)is the bane of what the dysfunction we are living today.

For two different perspectives (both mine)...

http://aadivaahan.wordpress.com/2010/06/28/the-age-of-machines/

and

http://aadivaahan.wordpress.com/2010/06/10/in-dust-realization/

ORI

htttp://aadivaahan.wordpress.com

Bearster's picture

The irony. :)

 

You use a PC (a product impossible without the industrial revolution) to write about how you don't like the industrial revolution, and how man's capacity to form scalable enterprises and retain knowledge makes you "queesy".

 

This is what passes for "enlightenment" today: to sneer at what makes modern life possible, without of course actually giving up the benefits of modern life.

Sean7k's picture

IMHO, the corporation is nothing more than a robot. Useful? Sure. A repository for knowledge and technique? Sure. Still, it is the creature of human action and that action often requires more introspection than the author wishes to provide. 

There are positive aspects to all human inventions, this doesn't excuse us from the responsibility to weigh the costs versus the benefits. 

Lastly, Raleigh was wrong. He failed to recognize the weight of tar and other products that were consumed by the body in the process of smoking. This is typical of all human knowledge- we play fast and loose with concepts because we think we understand them. We rarely admit that all knowledge is transient and dependent on the next better understanding of the universe.

This is why economics outside of praxeology doesn't work. Why mathematics fails at perfection- it assumes rational models and the universe isn't rational- it's chaos.

Nice thought provoking piece. Thanks!

bhessel's picture

Did Raleigh actually smoke the cigar…or just let it burn in an ashtray? If the latter, he would have been right.

Chemba's picture

+10

Had Oh regional Indian used smoke signals to express his queasiness over man's progress then perhaps he'd have a point.

Slim Pickens's picture

This is what passes for "enlightenment" today: to sneer at what makes modern life possible, without of course actually giving up the benefits of modern life.

 

Not many nails have been hit so squarely on the head.  Bravo.

Oh regional Indian's picture

Bear, I wonder if you the absolute irony in your own satement here.

You, like most others, come here to zero-hedge, to bitch and moan about the system, how it's broken, how it sucks, the evil this and that.

And yet you play don't you? I wonder who is the bigger fool here. Me sitting in the midst of it all and blogging it?

Further down the thread too, silly disingenuous argument, go back to your cave or whatever.

I guess mother culture has you firmly in her grip.

ORI

http://aadivaahan.wordpress.com

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

As I think that the strides we have "made" are far less significant from the knowledge that was lost by our tribal societies, I am going to have to disagree with you on this one.  But your point is well taken.

Hey, anyone see Dr. Paul Craig Roberts today?  The former Assistant Treasurie Secretary and "father of Reaganomics" discusses pensions, the doelarr, and Iran, among other things.

http://www.youtube.com/user/fairinfowar#p/u/17/ufYuZsCf4r8

Clayton Bigsby's picture

dunno if you noticed, but that was the theme music from Conan The Barbarian he was playing at the end of the segment - fuck yeah!  Tho I'm really not sold on all the conspiracy theory stuff

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

PCR knows his stuff, no conspiracy there.  And as for Jones, I think he misses some points (nobody is perfect), but he does get the best guests around!

Quote from interview:

"I think everybody should have some sort of precious metal to see them through a period where the monie could be inflated away."

Careless Whisper's picture

thanks for that link.

as for mister gonzalo lira and his rant on corporations, perhaps he forgot to take his medication? it was just last month that he said that the u.s. has turned in to a fascist police state. to mister gonzalo lira: take the red pill dewd. oh, and i loved your work in soldier of fortune.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soldier_of_Fortune_%28video_game%29

 

incalculable captcha's picture

Well, you know, I was thinking more like: "What is the printing press for $500, Alex?"

I guess Corporation can work also... if you are an accomplished mental gymnast.

 

dark pools of soros's picture

"Who would take over the corporate entity? Obvious: Someone who was interested in building it up.
"

 

Really?? I thought these days you take over a corp so you can short the shit out of it all the while you sell off massive CDO's, etc etc as you cook the books and beg for handouts??

Slim Pickens's picture

Really?? I thought these days you take over a corp so you can short the shit out of it all the while you sell off massive CDO's, etc etc as you cook the books and beg for handouts??

Sure, just like you can exploit a worker.  Do exploitative bosses mean labour has no value?

duo's picture

Most of the rocket technology used for Apollo was owned by the government, and when the people retired and died, that knowledge was lost. I've watched thousands of man-years of irreplacable knowledge kicked to the curb so that a few dozen executives can pay themselves $40M a year.

I once worked for a German private corporation.  It's first responsibility was to provide employment, the second exports for Germany, and the third profits for the shareholders.  The head guy probably made twice what their top engineer made.  Most profits were put back into plant and equipment, because "earnings" were taxed instead of given to executives.

Thought-provoking post, though.

Kali's picture

Yes, when I was a young thing just out of engineering school.  I remember when the bosses of  companies I used to work for only made about twice what us engineers made.   We used to get bonuses, turkeys at Thanksgiving, hams at Xmas.  If ya did something really well, the boss might even reward ya with a brand new car or a prepaid vacation.  Summer company picnics were the norm.  Tuition reimbursement for education.  Stocks of the company for line and staff.  Not to mention a decent salary, enough to live on.  The bosses/owners didn't have the arrogance and pomposity they do today. 

But that degraded quickly.  By the time I reached my mid 20's, the era of the MBA hollowed out good, productive companies and corporations who treated their employees and communities well.  The knowledge that has been lost, in many arenas, is sad and bad for the country.  The day the FIRE "industries" took over the economy, we were/are, eventually, doomed.

moneymutt's picture

the neighborhood I grew up in the 70s was white working class, but had lots of professionals too, it was only later in life, I realized how classless the neighborhood was. At a classmates Dad's funeral, I realized my friends Dad, was a PhD that ran a chemistry lab at 3M, the scientists and technicians that worked under him adored him as a manager, a scientist, coworker, and the managers at company said he was a great innovator a developer for the company, lead a whole team of people successfully....Their house was absolutely normal, smallish by today's standard in your basic, solid neighborhood, and they lived just like the rest of us, didn't even have the best house in the neighborhood...most of my classmates Dad's worked on factory lines, but lived in the same houses, neighborhoods. It never occurred to me then how equal economically people were. One of best friends Dad was also a 3M division manager with a PhD in Chemistry at Yale...again their house was an absolutely normal, 2000 sf house ...they took vacations to relatives in Europe and ate out more than other folks, but other than that, just like the rest of us...we all lived together in similar houses, with similar cars, many with cabins up north...teachers, line workers, hardware store guy, etc...Yeah, there were some snooty suburbs even back then that had stock brokers, big local businessmen, high end lawyers etc..., but 90 percent of us were in solid city neighborhoods, black or white, and professional and working class of very nearly same incomes, in same neighborhood.

WaterWings's picture

Know limited liability

Know psychopathic behavior

ozziindaus's picture

I think I know the company you're talking about. If I'm right, then the "charitable" charade they promote is just that. Private corporations do not need to disclose numbers to anyone so it's doubtful the CEO is receiving 2x schmuck engineer salary. But if I'm wrong, then there's a company I'd like to be apart of. 

Scooby Dooby Doo's picture

Just work for .gov. The cherry gigs can yield residuals if you structure the deal right.

It all starts with the Heilmeier Questions. Provide the correct formula and skys the limit.

http://www.iarpa.gov/join3.html

cougar_w's picture

omfg. part of me just died, from reading that.

I think where corporations went wrong is when they decided they were not second to either the individual or the state.

In Amerika, corporations became individuals, with constitutionally-protected rights, via the 14th Amendment. This will never be reversed until Amerika and the world lay in ruins.

In Amerika, corporations became government ... because they were already individuals. This will never be reversed until Amerika and the world lay in ruins.

 

They do not sleep, they only dream and desire. They cannot be killed and they cannot be punished. They are immortal and immoral. They can only consume, and they eat everything, including earth and sky and people. They are corporations, the human answer to the mythical vampire. They will suck our blood out by the gallons until we are consumed, and then they will vanish back into the dark corner of elemental slumber from which all great evils have arisen in their time. Then whoever survives and emerges beyond the era of the corporation will have a chance to do things differently.

No one reading this will be listed among those. The human heart and mind cannot bear so much abuse for so long and endure. But perhaps our dust will rejoice.

cougar_w's picture

I will preach. Until I see with my own eyes and hold with my hands the stake that was driven into the heart of the modern corporation. If I am at all loved by any of the multiple gods of this boundless universe then I will live to see that glorious dawn and the death of these corrupting, despoiling, enslaving entities.

cougar_w's picture

Well. If we have Kali the Destroyer on our side then there isn't much we cannot accomplish.

Let the Dance. Begin.

VK's picture

Awesome post! The corporation merely serves to turn the earth's natural resources into garbage. 99% of the stuff that's made ends up in the garbage dump in 6 months. It's damn wasteful and stupid. Running linear systems on a finite planet. Also no CEO deserves to earn 400x what the average bloke makes in his company. That's just plain theft. You might be good but you ain't that good.

Dburn's picture

That's why whoever invents the smell Processor for PCs with Smell emitter and smell library will be rich beyond belief. All the news that comes from the gulf will have the smell of the sea, the air, the people, the sea life , the birds  and the oil that's killing them along with the death it's already caused. It will be hard to look at another "Oh it's that BP thing again, fucking liberals." video.

WaterWings's picture

Locals on the scene - day 70:

"In short, the Gulf is being poisoned by BP's usage of the dispersants even after the EPA asked them to stop back in May. We are willing to provide ANY respected/known laboratory these samples or provide them with more. This is very serious to all people and marine life in and around the Gulf."

Oil/Water samples from Gulf...VERY TOXIC:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gq65E7rmO_k

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

I agree, not only are we kickin' ass and takin' names, but we will win and dust the ashes off our hands once again!

UncleFester's picture

UncleFester: Cougar! What is best in life?
Cougar: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.

LeBalance's picture

Thanks Cat Person: After I wrote the comment below then read the comment in between ours (that luvs the article) I was in >uh is everyone that clueless< land.

Thanks for some sanity.

The Red Amendment also made us slaves to said Corporate United States. LOL.

Clayton Bigsby's picture

Um, may I humbly recommend that you up your dosages?...

cougar_w's picture

It's called unalloyed hatred. Like any good tool, it can also serve as a weapon. With this and no more fires can be lit.

Clayton Bigsby's picture

well, though we fundamentally disagree, you do write very well - so, touche... :-)

cougar_w's picture

Well thank you. But please understand -- as honest confession -- that if I write well it is only because I do so from the heart, and from great conviction and love of humanity. These are all the things I have left for I am stripped of all else. And yet at the end of our long days, these are enough.

We run forward on the sand of eternal time even as time runs out, but here I will pause and create fires. At the end of the world I find words and I set fires with them.

SteveNYC's picture

Never give in to the machine that is the modern "corporation". Never give to the machine that is the modern corporation.

Cut out its foul heart (or the Human Resource department) and step on it.

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

When you work the floor do you punch people?  I hope so.

UncleFester's picture

Most companies have HRs to keep out the labor unions, only to find out later that HR is the labor union.

Kali's picture

Agreed.  They are now supranational.  And, legally, they are considered persons.  Without the consequences of a real human.

Ropingdown's picture

It is difficult to find any major point in the article which is true. The church didn't save or preserve civilization.  Recover of ancient mathematics from the East saved Western civilization.  Latin-centric history is silly.  Churches closed the Gymnasia, and ushered in the dark ages.  Islam banned printing presses, which thoroughly retarded the spread of learning in Islamic regions.  The destruction of the church's authority and the recovery of ancient learning and new freedom of thought were simultaneous and related processes.  The corporation didn't usher in learning, but rather power.  The British Industrial Age was built by sole-proprietorships and partnerships.  The corporations, whether as innovated by the East India Company or the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, changed power.  Forever.

ozziindaus's picture

Watch the entire doco when you get a chance. Here's a snippet.

http://www.pbs.org/empires/islam/innomedicine.html

duo's picture

The Chinese stored much knowledge until Marco Polo and the traders could bring the ideas back to Europe.

Erasmus and Luther begat the eventual end of the divine right of kings, from which democracy (and the corporation) sprung forth.