1999: Our Hidden History of Corporations in the United States

When American colonists declared independence from England in 1776, they also freed themselves from control by English corporations that extracted their wealth and dominated trade. After fighting a revolution to end this exploitation, our country’s founders retained a healthy fear of corporate power and wisely limited corporations exclusively to a business role. Corporations were forbidden from attempting to influence elections, public policy, and other realms of civic society. Initially, the privilege of incorporation was granted selectively to enable activities that benefited the public, such as the construction of roads or canals. Enabling shareholders to profit was seen as a means to that end. The states also imposed conditions (some of which remain on the books, though unused) like these: Corporate charters (licenses to exist) were granted for a limited time and could be revoked promptly for violating laws. Corporations could engage only in activities necessary to fulfill their chartered […] Read More

1990: COMMENT UPON VOLUNTARY NATURE OF SOCIAL SECURITY

    Today, everyday Americans are constantly confronted with greater and more frequent requests from all too many sources that they provide to the inquiring parties their “Number of the Beast,” the Social Security number (“SSN”). The examples of this modern-day phenomenon are numerous and known to all. Many States are now moving to ostensibly require the display of SSNs upon drivers’ licenses. Public school officials demand that school-age children obtain SSNs before those children may be enrolled in any public school. Hospitals seek to obtain SSNs for each child born in their facilities. Private parties of all kinds, from banks to employers, deem it essential that they obtain the SSN of everyone with whom they may conduct any business. With all these entities making these demands, surely “the law” must contain a requirement that everyone have the “Number of the Beast”[1]. Or, is it possible that everybody simply acts […] Read More