Corporations Are People And They’re Killing Us

Companies have legal personhood, limited liability, and it’s not going well
7 min readJun 15, 2021


Ronald McDonald x Pennywise, by Dec Wilson

Corporations are legal persons. We don’t take this seriously but we really should, because that’s the law. Reality is a shared hallucination backed by guns, and the people with guns say that corporations are people too.

Corporations have limited liability. Since the 1850s, corporations have also been given limited liability. If they take risks and lose, the losses are dumped on someone else. Their creditors, the public, the planet Earth.

This is a deadly combination. What we have created is artificial people with great power and little to no responsibility. Their only purpose is to grow, and dump waste, losses, and ‘externalities’ on everyone else.

Corporations are the killer AI we make movies about, except they’re boring. Instead of all-out robot war, we got Facebook rotting our parents brains and carbon emissions slowly smoking us out. The result, however, is the same. Corporations are pathological people, and they’re getting us killed.

Corporations Are People

People laughed at Mitt Romney when he said “corporations are people, my friend” but it’s true. This is a bedrock of corporate law. It’s called corporate personhood. Corporations have been treated as people since they were formed in the 1500s, and the concept has been preserved in modern case law as recently as 2010. In Citizens United, the US Supreme Court ruled that corporations have the right to free speech, including spending unlimited money to influence elections. Corporations are people, my friend. They’re just not your friend.

Don’t take my word for it, just ask a lawyer. Here’s Morton Horowitz talking about US case law going back to 1886.

Morton J. Horwitz, Santa Clara Revisited: The Development of Corporate Theory

You could say that corporate personhood is just a legal fiction, but so are you. Toss your passport in a bin at an airport and see how ‘real’ you are. Countries have entire categories of ‘illegal’ people. They’re only crime is being somewhere, but with the wrong…



Indrajit (Indi) Samarajiva is a Sri Lankan writer. Follow me at, or just email me at