Milton Friedman’s solution:
• The corporation should not speak
• The corporation should not presume to be a citizen ….
Count me in, Milton. Corporations aren´t proper citizens, they are serfs. Serfs enjoy security of residence and access to land to work, in exchange for very onerous but defined duties of service to the lord of the manor, to whom they are permanently inferior. They may have a limited legal right of redress to protect their rights (in Western European feudalism but not Muscovy). Corporations aren´t slaves: they need legal personality to protect the activities for which their founders have created them, but it´s absurd to think of them as fundamentally equal in any way to real people. Step out of my way, churl, and doff your hat while you are about it.
Treating corporations as citizens is a confidence trick. It seems to me that the 14th Amendment closed off one inequality of citizenship from race, slavery and slave ownership, only to open another, for the benefit of the new capitalist elite. Capitalists now get one voice as citizens, and a second voice through the corporations they control.
Can anyone distinguish this morally from the ingenious provisions of the original US Constitution that counted slaves and bonded labourers for the representation of the South in Congress and the Electoral College, but allowed the states to deprive them of actual votes?