How wonderfulMay 28, 2013 Tim WorstallThe Blogger Himself21 CommentsI\’m now under attack by Robert Reich. Over this piece. Jolly fun, eh? previousTimmy elsewherenextTimmy elsewhere 21 thoughts on “How wonderful” DocBud May 28, 2013 at 8:33 am ‘Wortstall thereby begs the central question. If global corporations obeyed all national laws — the spirit of the laws as well as the letter of them –‘ I stopped reading at that point as any mention of the spirit of the law is a big neon sign saying ‘I’m an A-grade prat.’ There is only one law, the one that the politicians enact, it is utterly ridiculous to suggest that citizens should interpret the law in any way other than what the letter of the law says. We are reasonably entitled to assume that in enacting laws politicians have the competence to write down the laws they want. Stuck-record May 28, 2013 at 8:51 am Doc, Exactly. I regard that too. Sneaky little shit. Should be a litmus test. Anyone reading that piece and that phrase not jumping out at you as as a gigantic lie is an idiot. Stuck-record May 28, 2013 at 8:52 am Read, not regard. Predictive text. JuliaM May 28, 2013 at 8:54 am ‘Under attack’..? This is, I presume, Geoffrey Howe ‘dead sheep’ style attack? So Much For Subtlety May 28, 2013 at 8:56 am If global corporations obeyed all national laws  the spirit of the laws as well as the letter of them  and didn-t use their inordinate power to dictate the laws in the first place by otherwise threatening to take their jobs and investments elsewhere, there’d be no issue. So … corporations are not allowed to lobby on their own behalf any more? What a grotesque little Fascist this sh!t is. He wants Apple to pay American taxes on profits made overseas, not at the level set by US law, but according to whatever guestimate he comes up with – and he wants to prevent them complaining about it. I say, Yes to Apple, No to Reich. Do not bother repatriating the money. Try to expatriate the swinish academic. Interested May 28, 2013 at 9:04 am The Turd Reich. Troy May 28, 2013 at 9:12 am Reich IMO is a grade A moron. Laws are corrupt, so give a corrupt government more latitute to interpret them (corruptly). Here is my response on Huffpost (not yet published): <> Troy May 28, 2013 at 9:13 am ************** HUFFPOST RESPONSE ******* I read your original article and both responses. Yes – lobbying results in laws which result in unfair advantage – this isn’t capitalism, it’s cronyism. IMO it correlates to the amount of SUBJECTIVE authority in the relevant executive – when a government, dictator, quango or cartel can slant the field for one player and against another with impunity, ie when a decision can’t be adjudicated by the LETTER of the law. You suggest the SAME goverment responsible for existing legislation (with which Apple are complying) should somehow have some ‘moral’ authority to withhold market access to individual players. Based on what, a sense of fair play? And who makes this subjective judgement? if this isn’t putting the fox in charge of the henhouse, I don’t know what is. Seriously? Your solution for unfair legislation is to give government (by definition the SAME people responsible for the corruption of the law), MORE latitude and authority to make unequal decisions by interpreting the ‘spirit of the law’ case by case? Frankly, this is the problem with champagne socialists (with comfortable tenure, wealth and intellectual superiority) looking down from ivory towers and saying ‘wouldn’t it be better if everyone just did the right thing’. Yes, it might, but when you put a fallible human executive on top of a lofty, fluffy ideal (with no rules for how force and authority are applied) you get corruption at a level that makes the current imperfect situation look like Utopia. Four letters – USSR. So Much For Subtlety May 28, 2013 at 9:16 am On what planet have Forbes capitalist tools been living? Many of the world-s most successful economies  among them, China and Singapore  owe their successes in part to their conditioning market access on certain kinds of jobs and investments, including research and development. Interestingly enough I was just reading an article on how Third World governments squeeze defence contractors for certain types of jobs an investments: http://www.economist.com/news/business/21578400-more-governments-are-insisting-weapons-sellers-invest-side-deals-help-them-develop Myself, I do not see how making market access conditional on building a shrimp farm in Saudi Arabia, run, no doubt, by a partner of one of the King’s cousins, helps anyone. But then I guess I am just a capitalist tool. Unlike Dr Reich who is just an ordinary tool. SimonF May 28, 2013 at 9:26 am and didn-t use their inordinate power to dictate the laws in the first place I suspect this is the more other way round – politicians falling over themselves to get the likes of Apple and Google to set up in their countries with tax breaks and other incentives. dearieme May 28, 2013 at 10:11 am Pick on someone your own size, Worstall. MC May 28, 2013 at 10:47 am He also plays the ‘evil capitalist writers at Forbes et al only expound such views for money’ card, which is also a firm indicator of cuntishness. Oh, and he rants on about evil exploitative companies on Huffpo, which doesn’t even pay its contributors. Twat. David Hall May 28, 2013 at 2:32 pm I never understood this “spirit of the law” rubbish. How would corporations (or anyone) be able to objectively determine what the spirit of the law actually is? Would it be written down somewhere perhaps at the top of every law? If so why can’t they, well, just write it into the law itself? The only answer I can see is that the politicans are a bit crap at writing laws. I could expect Joe Public to think “oh corporations are dodging tax, they should stop that” but really politicians should be looking at getting the laws changed rather than complaining about them. I mean, isn’t changing laws what politicians are supposed to *do*, after all… DBC Reed May 28, 2013 at 3:49 pm One straightforward factual difference between Reich and TW is that Reich states that corporations are persons according to an amendment to the American constitution.TW denies this. As corporations get all the benefits of a person when going bankrupt ie they pay so many pence in the pound of debts instead of going to prison as in the good old days, I should say that Reich probably shades this one but this is, I admit, based on scant evidence. Not that TW provides any: he just says they are not legal persons without showing his evidence or justifying his stance at all. DBC Reed May 28, 2013 at 3:52 pm Still MW is getting called a tool by a better class of person these days. Moving up in the world. DBC Reed May 28, 2013 at 3:52 pm TW that is MellorSJ May 28, 2013 at 7:38 pm You can’t prove a negative, DBC, as even you should know. But you *can* prove there’s a clause in the Constitution that designates a company as a person. And there isn’t one. (If there is, I invite you to point me to the Clause.) Flat Eric May 28, 2013 at 10:29 pm It is the function of Robert Reich to be wrong. And he’s made a career out of not understanding comparative advantage, too. dms May 29, 2013 at 4:29 am DocBud (comment #1), Agreed. Bizarre – I came straight back when I got to the “spirit of the law” as a concept. What a pile of shlte. Who decides what “spirit” is? Obey the law, as written is all that is necessary. If “we” don’t like the law, get our parliamentarians to change it. DocBud May 29, 2013 at 5:07 am Who decides what “spirit” is? In the UK it would be Richard Murphy and UK Uncut, in Australia Getup! but I’m not sure about the USA. PaulB May 29, 2013 at 12:21 pm The Supreme Court has consistently held that a Corporation is a person for the purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment. And it recently extended the extent to which Corporations are protected by the First Amendment. (I don’t know what this has got to do with the Worstall-Reich argument.) Tim adds: The connection with Worstall Reich is that a couple of months back Reich came out with “I’ll believe corporations are people when hte State of Texas executes one”. To which I responded that Texas executes corporations all the time: involuntary liquidation they call it there I believe. But we could also argue that bankruptcy is akin to execution. He was not best pleased with this argument. I do agree though that corporations are not people as people are. They have certain legal rights (as you point out) as the legal persons they are but they do not have the same rights as natural persons. The other thing I pointed out about treating corps as legal persons is that you must be a legal person before you can get sued. And we rather like suing corporations: so they have to be legal persons so that we can do so. Leave a Reply Cancel replyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.