Comment: The laws of the United States

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wolfe's picture

The laws of the United States

The laws of the United States hold that a legal entity (like a corporation or non-profit organization) shall be treated under the law as a person except when otherwise noted.

So does that mean a corporation can be sent to jail? Nope. Punitive damages, which creates a cost/benefit analysis performed by corporations on peoples lives, health, and property damage, as opposed to real criminal penalties.

Only people can take true responsibility for their actions, both good and bad.

I encountered a very real situation personally a while back (years ago). My girlfriend at the time needed a hobby, and it was right before ecigs became more commonplace. I decided opening up an ecig distribution would be an excellent hobby for her, and may even make some money.

So I did some cursory research, selected a manufacturer and issued an order for 5000 units. Well, in the meantime, my sample from the manufacturer caught fire while plugged in. It was likely due to me accidentally using the wrong charger, so user error.

I was not willing to go through the hassle of setting up a separate corp/LLC, and dealing with potential lawsuits, and possibly causing someone to get hurt, for a "hobby" for my girlfriend. Nor was I willing to do the legitimate research required to insure a completely safe product, since I simply didn't have time/expertise.

So I decided against it, and was able to cancel my order before it shipped, and the company was understanding enough to refund my full payment.

Personal responsibility is a requirement for good business. The "limited liability" protections are a moral hazard which lets people behave badly in business. My decision was the right one. But if I had been a different kind of person, I would have potentially taken the time to protect my assets, and made the wrong decision by providing a potentially dangerous product, knowing that the profit came without real risk.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -