Corporations, Capitalist Culture

[A] corporation is a truly insidious entity: Before the law, it enjoys the status of a legal person — a legal privilege formerly granted only to corporate” associations recognized as providing public goods, such as universities or monasteries — but under the law it is required to behave as the most despicable person imaginable. Almost everywhere in the capitalist world (in America, for instance, since the 1919 decision in Dodge v. Ford), a corporation of this sort is required to seek no end other than maximum gains for its shareholders; it is forbidden to allow any other consideration …

[I]nevitably, [a capitalist culture] eventuates in a culture of consumerism, because it must cultivate a social habit of consumption extravagantly in excess of mere natural need or even (arguably) natural want. It is not enough to satisfy natural desires; a capitalist culture must ceaselessly seek to fabricate new desires, through appeals to what 1 John calls the lust of the eyes.”

David Bentley Hart

December 1, 2019

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