Posts Tagged ‘espoil’

Did The Roman Empire Have Corporations?

Did The Roman Empire Have Corporations?

Courtesy of Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds 

Julius Caesar (100-44 BC) Roman soldier and statesman. Engraving c1825.

Unlike our Corporate/State Empire, the Roman Empire did not have privately held, transnational corporations running the bread and circuses.

My longtime friend G.F.B. recently asked, "Did the Roman Empire have corporations?" Based on my admittedly incomplete reading of Gibbons and a survey of Pompeii I am currently reading, I believe the answer is "no."

Yes, the Republic and later, the Empire, had ruling Elites and politically influential families who controlled immense wealth, but G.F.B.’s point was not about influence or wealth alone: Did the Empire flourish without accountability and personal responsibility?

In other words, were the Elites which controlled the Empire never held personally accountable? If so, then they may well have functioned as the equivalent of today’s corporations.

But history--and what a long history the Roman Empire carved--suggests individuals who failed paid a price.

In today’s Corporate Empire, the Elite individuals running the corporations can despoil, bribe, embezzle, cheat and collude and they completely evade accountability. Sure, the corporation pays a fine (or sets up a $20 billion fund with shareholders’ funds), but the people in charge who oversaw the skimming, bribery, collusion, profiteering, embezzlement, mismanagement of funds, violation of the public trust, etc. are never really accountable; instead, they are awarded golden parachutes worth millions of dollars for their service to the goal of enriching the Elites and owners of the corporation.

The much-touted Sarbanes-Oxley financial regulations do require that individuals vouch for the accuracy of the corporate accounting, but how many CEOs and CFOs are serving time for violating the Sarbanes-Oxley Act?

After the U.S. financial and mortgage sectors have been pillaged for years, how many individuals are under indictment for any finance-related crime, large or small? I think the evidence is overwhelming that Sarbanes-Oxley and the rest of the regulatory system which claims to invoke accountability is in fact a facsimile, a facade of righteousness maintained for P.R. purposes. Behind the screen, it’s all about scooping swag and then evading any accountability for that pillaging, collusion and corruption.

NEW YORK - APRIL 19: People walk towards Wall Street in the financial district April 19, 2010 in New York City. Increased scrutiny of numerous Wall Street financial institutions and firms has resulted from Friday's announcement by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of a civil fraud suit against Goldman Sachs. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

This is yet more evidence that the U.S. is a de facto Corporate/State Empire which benefits the Power Elites who have partnered private gain with global reach.

Please read Shadow Elite: Selling Out Uncle Sam: The Collision of State & Private Power for more on how this works…
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