Posts Tagged ‘business’


Today the Supreme Court will decide whether AT&T is people, too.

January 24, 2011

From my view of the world, corporate personhood (and its continued expansion) causes serious problems–not least of which is it’s application in the Supreme Court decision Citizens United versus the Federal Election Commission.

That said, Dahlia Lithwick does a great job of tracking a small setback in the advance of corporate personhood at the Supreme Court this week.  The whole thing is worth reading; here’s a taste:

But AT&T felt, passionately, that turning over these materials would violate the corporation’s “personal privacy.” One of the exemptions to FOIA—exemption 7(C)—provides that records may be withheld if their release would represent an unwarranted invasion of “personal privacy.” But since this exemption has only ever been invoked to protect human privacy rights, never corporate ones, AT&T has to persuade the courts to extend the right to “personal privacy” to corporations as well as people. So it’s a big day: Because today the Supreme Court will decide whether AT&T is people, too.

Speaking of, I’m interested in all this enough to read more than the Wikipedia article on it.  Does anyone know of a respectable defense of corporate personhood?



The Economist stays on the cutting edge

August 13, 2009

Michael Hirschorn, in The Atlantic, had a great article recently about how news magazines are dying a slow and painful death, with one very prominent exception: The Economist.

Unlike its rivals, The Economist has been unaffected by the explosion of digital media; if anything, the digital revolution has cemented its relevance. The Economist has become an arbiter of right-thinking opinion (free-market right-center, if you want to be technical about it; with a dose of left-center social progressivism) at a time when arbiters in general are in ill favor. It is a general-interest magazine for an ever-increasing audience, the self-styled global elite, at a time when general-interest anything is having a hard time interesting anybody. And it sells more than 75,000 copies a week on U.S. newsstands for $6.99 (!) at a time when we’re told information wants to be free and newsstands are disappearing.

Hirschorn seems to think that the reasons for The Economist‘s continued success are a combination of quality of reporting and, oddly, the publication’s total lack of online savvy. Because the magazine’s website was so behind the curve, it “remains primarily a print product, and it is valued accordingly.” Meanwhile, other news magazines provide tons of free content, which draws viewers but not revenue.

The idea that The Economist is so far behind is a bit suspect, though. They’ve been making podcasts for a while now, downloadable for free for subscribers or a considerable fee for non-subscribers, in which you can listen to stories read aloud in their entirety. This feature is built out pretty well and, at least anecdotally, seems to be pretty popular.

Now, there’s Economist Direct, in which UK residents can order a copy of the current issue of the magazine (online or by text message) and have it delivered to their door the next day, for the newsstand cover price. I’m curious to see if this becomes a parallel to the experience of Amazon Prime (free two-day shipping on everything) radically changing participants’ consumption patterns.

Flying Whale