Corporations do not commit crimes; people do. Corporations do not mislead or sign checks or anything else. Corporations do not have free will. They are not people. But the legal fiction that these institutional structures are to be considered as “people” is highly valuable: it enables those people who happen to be criminals to escape prosecution as long as they work for corporations…and are placed high enough.
To wit, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman succeeded in convicting Ivy Asset Management, a subsidiary of the corporation Bank of New York Mellon of criminal fraud and getting $200,000,000, in return for which he made the patently absurd claim that “this settlement brings accountability….” [Corporate Crime Reporter 11/13/12.]
In fact, as has become common since the outrageous fiction of corporate personhood became the law of the Corporatist State that has replaced our democracy, there is no accountability whatsoever. None of the Mellon criminals has been convicted of anything, which, obviously, was the point.
Imagine, to make the point clear, that Al Qua’ida had been convicted of terrorism and forced to pay a fine, with bin Laden and all his friends thus being excused from bearing any personal responsibility, with a statement by the U.S. justice authorities that the institution, rather than bin Laden or Zarqawi or the 9/11 plane hijackers was responsible. Would that strike you as unreasonable?