“IT’S [LEGALLY] ALIVE!”
The story here is one of illusion. Life, specifically human life, where there is none. The animation is not what it seems to be.
Put that aside for a while, and let’s discuss corporations. Yes, selfish behavior is innate in natural persons, but so is altruism and when these urges check and balance each other in a complimentary manner, both the individual and his/her society can benefit. This has worked pretty good for millennia.
Then evolved the artificial intelligences we call corporations. They are legally “persons,” but they are devised solely to bypass the altruism of natural persons so as to maximize the effects of selfishness and therefore maximize income for their stakeholders.
By the means of corporations, all too human greed is now even more untethered from golden rules than it was when the only sociopaths around were the human kind. Institutional—and intentional—sociopathy turns the mythical “free market” into just a winner-take-all game where corporate “persons” having bought silence from both democracy’s majority rule and a republic’s rule of law, run wild with prideful arrogance.
But this “free market” game is no spectator sport, it not simply corporate teams facing off against one another like an entertaining and irrelevant TV event. The all too real life consequences of the games are that corporations win and most of the spectators lose.
. . .
Stockholders—a subspecies of shareholder—want good return on their corporate investment and they don’t care how they get them. Dividends are like sausages to them, best not to inquire too much regarding how they are made. Stockholders chose to keep a safe distance from that slaughterhouse by having their collection of managed funds built from managed corporations, managed as well. This allows them to sleep well, not dreaming about what nightmarish means all those managers—the other non-endangered subspecies of shareholder—are using to achieve these ends
So corporations have essentially become Skinner Boxes dressed up as humans, albeit disguised in a suit, and corporate management compensation thereby becomes simple operant conditioning where selfishness is reinforced and altruism is punished. Employees, customers, the stockholders, even other managers lose their fellow shareholder status and even their co-humanity as they become just levers to push for the well-conditioned well-compensated managers.
The living human you think you see here is an illusion; its humanity is really just the greedy scurrying of parasitic sociopaths. It would be lovely if there was a way to extinguish this behavior by making the consequence less contingent, or lowering the cost-benefit determinant, but don’t get your hopes up, as long as the corpo-rats run the show, anyway.