THE ECONOMIC PAMPHLETEER: Agri-food corporations are not real people; why does it matter?
Keywords:Corporations, Competition, Free Market, Consumer Choice
Corporations are not real people. This may seem obvious, but for more than a hundred years the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized corporations as legal persons with many of the same constitutional rights as real people (Torres-Spelliscy, 2014). Why does it matter? Because corporations can do things that real people can’t and yet are immune to legal liabilities that real people must consider. The lack of economic competitiveness in agri-food markets is one consequence of treating corporations as real people. So is the lack of government protection of farm and food workers from exploitation and the natural environment from extraction and pollution. Recent examples include concerns about corporate price gouging following the COVID-19 pandemic (Reich, 2022) and the weakening of the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to restrict corporate pollution (Feldscher, 2022). . . .
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