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Is it acceptable to steal from a corporation?


Corporations are not human beings. They are artificial entities created by lawyers with all the Constitutional and legal rights of a citizen yet they have vastly more privileges than any human being.

Corporations are designed and legally obliged by their charters to take money, rights and property from people and give back as little as possible in return.

We are taught that it is not right to steal from others and that there are certain boundaries of behavior and cooperation that are expected of us in society.

The same moral paradigms of honesty, cooperation and mutual responsibilities are expected of us when we deal with corporations as when we are dealing with a human being.

I.E. "It's not right to steal from the telephone company" A nostrum often heard when we were kids.

Yet the law protects corporations to a far greater degree than people. Corporations live forever, accumulate wealth forever, cannot go to prison or suffer the death penalty and are only subject to monetary fines which is a tax deduction if and when they are ever convicted of a crime and thus are subsidized by real taxpayers.

Corporations receive massive amounts of subsidies and welfare and are not subject to any five year bar on benefits as are humans.  

Most of America's largest corporations paid no income tax in the 1990's. 1.

Citizens are duty bound to pay their debts and honor their contracts under penalty of law and social censure. Corporations can reorganize, declare bankruptcy, be bought and sold and default on their employees' pensions and commitments to society with impunity. They dump their responsibilities onto the taxpayers who subsidize their private profits. Corporations dump their pollution in everyone's environment with impunity. People get cancer, corporations don't.

In light of this, it seems perfectly correct to treat corporations differently than one would treat a person or a family owned business. Since corporations have no notions of honesty, fair play or decency when dealing with citizens, we should have no such obligations toward corporations.



Possible counter arguments:

"Stealing from corporations just raises the price of goods that all of us pay".

If corporations cannot afford to pay decent wages and provide benefits to long-term loyal employees that have created corporate wealth because it would "make them less globally competitive", as they claim, than how can they raise prices to reflect infinitesimal losses from citizen economic activism? Raising prices would make them just as "globally uncompetitive".

Stealing from corporations merely skims a very, very tiny thin layer of profit cream from those at the very top of the economic pyramid, it it even registers on their balance sheets.


Some examples of how people "steal" or use an appropriate moral code when dealing with corporations; 


*A friend accidentally punctured a buried phone cable in front of his property. He immediately called repair to report it-fully ready to confess his mistake and pay for it.  

After half an hour on hold listening to advertisements for phone company services and being told that "your call was very important to us" he finally got to speak to a low wage slave in India who could barely speak English. Remembering his unemployed neighbor who had been fired from his job as a telephone service worker after decades of loyal service, he told the Indian that his phone line had stopped working and they needed to come out and fix it immediately. He gave his address and then he hung up.


*Mrs. Able was shopping in the Rite Aide store that had driven her neighborhood pharmacy out of business. She observed a couple of boys slipping candy into their clothes. "Don't get caught" she told them as she pointed out the security cameras somewhat hidden in the ceiling.


*Billy bought a hose that ruptured after several years. Rather than return it to the local family owned hardware store where he had purchased it, he returned it to his local Home Depot and exchanged it using a tag torn off a new hose.


Mary Lou returned a broken tool to a major department store which offers lifetime guaranties...the only reason she shops there. She selected a replacement from the shelves and presented the broken tool at the register. Rather than allowing her to swap the broken for a new tool, something that was what she had done in the past, the hapless clerks spent 25 minutes creating a gift card to allow her to "purchase" the new tool.

Several supervisors were called over to complete the complicated transaction which was newly designed by corporate headquarters to be "more efficient". Finally they told her to take the new tool and the gift card...she started to protest at the absurdity of the transaction and then just thanked them and walked out with both. (The gift card, later happily spent, turned out to be for the value of the new and old tool combined, including tax. ) Mary Lou suspects that the stinginess of the corporation with employee pay and benefits might be behind this.




More than half avoided levies during boom years