Corporations and the Rights of Nature

Authored by: Cameron La Follette
 , Chris Maser

Sustainability and the Rights of Nature

Print publication date:  May  2017
Online publication date:  June  2017

Print ISBN: 9781498788441
eBook ISBN: 9781315155999
Adobe ISBN:

10.1201/9781315155999-12

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Abstract

The corporation is an invention of the British Crown through the creation of the East India Company by Queen Elizabeth I in 1600, which, being the original transnational corporation, set today’s precedence for big businesses. The East India Company, “found India rich and left it poor,” says author Nick Robin. The corporate structure of the East India Company was deemed necessary to allow the British to exploit their colonies in such a way that the owner of the enterprise was, for the first time, separated from responsibility for how the enterprise behaved. The corporation is thus a “legal fiction” that lets the investors who own the business avoid personal responsibility whenever the business dealings are unethical or even blatantly illegal, despite the fact that such unscrupulous behavior profits them enormously. 1

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