Top positive review
The Perils of False Personhood
on October 15, 2003
Ignore other reviewers of this book who use narrow-minded pejoratives like Anti-Corporate, Anti-Capitalist, or even Communist in condemning this book. Thom Hartmann is none of the above, and in this extremely important book he brings to light the horrific state of corporate control and the loss of human rights in modern times. And unlike some other books on this general topic that merely complain, Hartmann extensively researches the root causes that have turned the useful concept of the "corporation" into a monster.
Corporations have inaccurately cited an obscure Supreme Court case from 1886, Santa Clara Country v. Southern Pacific Railroad, as giving them "personhood." Corporations have since claimed the rights of natural people and have trampled the Constitution regularly. Despicable abuses include claiming free speech rights under the 1st Amendment for campaign contributions and false advertising; claiming that health inspections and government oversight are unlawful searches under the 4th Amendment; and most obnoxiously, claiming that 14th Amendment protections against discrimination should insulate them from any local ordinances or taxes they don't like. Hartmann proves that lawsuits invoking these ideas usually win due to the vast resources of corporations, who also routinely abuse the legal system with frivolous lawsuits designed to crush little people who can't sacrifice several years and millions of dollars to mount a defense. Hartmann also takes his coverage to the global stage, with the havoc wreaked by multinationals in the nearly religious quest for the inaccurately named panacea of "free" trade.
Another strength of this book is that Hartmann actually has solid ideas for change, which are far more useful than the pie-in-the-sky idealism of other writers on this subject. Admitting that the process may take decades, he nonetheless makes solid recommendations for utilizing the existing political process, and even old forgotten laws, to revoke the disastrous corporate personhood doctrine. This is a very well researched and informative book for those with real concerns and ideas for improving our fractured system. [~doomsdayer520~]