Corporations

  • Leonard Peikoff

    A corporation is a union of human beings in a voluntary, cooperative endeavor. It exemplifies the principle of free association, which is an expression of the right to freedom. Any attributes which corporations have are attributes (or rights) which the individuals have — including the right to combine in a certain way, offer products under certain terms, and deal with others according to certain rules, for instance, limited liability.

    An individual can say to a storekeeper, “I would like to have credit, but I put you on notice that if I can’t pay, you can’t attach my home — take it or leave it.” The storekeeper is free to accept those terms, or not. A corporation is a cooperative productive endeavor which gives a similar warning explicitly. It has no mystical attributes, no attributes that don’t go back to the rights of individuals, including their right of free association.