American Consequences - August 2017


fights in the Colosseum, and Ben-Hur’s exciting chariot race where Charlton Heston kills the bad guy in the Circus Maximus. But you didn’t own the Forum, Colosseum, and Circus Maximus. Which was a good thing because the maintenance costs – such as washing Caesar'a bloodstains off the Senate floor and cleaning up after the lions ate the Christians – were high. On the other hand, after the Fall of Rome, you didn’t have to go out and personally repair the ruins of the Forum, the Colosseum, and the Circus Maximus. All you lost was what you’d risked by being part of the “Roman Civilization” corporate group – which was, unfortunately, your life. But you get my general point.

Corporation – from the Latin corporatus , “having a tangible body.” Some corporations have great bodies. And some corporations should be sent to the gym. But either way, corporations are the basis of civilization. A corporation is a group of people. The members of the group share the corporation’s benefits, but do not personally own the corporation’s assets. Likewise, the members of the group are not personally responsible for the corporation’s losses. They risk only what it cost them to become part of the corporation. Actually, corporations are civilization. If you were an ancient Roman citizen, you were a member of the body of Romans, the corporatus . You got the benefits of high-flown rhetoric in the Forum, thrilling gladiator

By P. J. O’Rourke

If you aren’t civilized, you don’t need a corporation. In fact, when you’re an

88 | August 2017

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