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Excerpt from The Culture of Make Believe

Corporation As Hungry Ghost (p. 443)

From chapter "Corporations, Cops, and Hungry Ghosts"

A corporation is a “creature of the law,” as Chief Justice Marshall observed in 1819, a creation of the state. When a government charters a corporation, it is setting in motion, according to Marshall, “a perpetual succession of individuals [who] are capable of acting for the promotion of the particular object, like one immortal being….” Since corporations are “immortal,” and since they are created solely to amass wealth, they become the institutionalization of dissatisfaction, the economic manifestation of the Buddhist notion of “hungry ghosts,” spirits who roam the earth, always eating, never sated. The forest activist Jim Britell commented on this, and his statement applies not only to the timber industry executives he describes but to the culture as a whole: “In the writings and speeches of clear-cutters and deforesters, you can see and hear an intense hunger to find forests to cut. At the same time, the last few years have broken all records in the amount of forests cut down. What we are seeing is a simultaneity of poverty and richness, a special kind of insatiable hunger where the more you possess the more deprived you feel. This is the emotion that dominates and pervades the realm of the hungry ghosts. The physical representation of this state is the image of a being with a gigantic belly, a very thin neck and a tiny mouth. No matter how much the hungry ghost eats, its stomach can never be filled.”

What this means is that corporations and those who run them cannot stop exploiting resources and amassing wealth until they have…. I cannot finish this sentence, because the truth is that they can never stop; like cancer, they can only continue to expand until they kill their host.