Trust Busting Citizens United

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Great. Just what we need. Another thread on Citizens United.

Here's another thought.

In the 19th Century large business interests were known as trusts. Stop right there. That's all I know about the topic. I don't know if a trust was the same thing as a corporation, or if a trust required two or more corporations to combine (what we might know today as consolidated corporations, or maybe parent and subsidiary corporations.) I don't think the details are important.

What I do think is important, or rather, what I wonder might be important, is the analysis of what a trust might be. Is a trust an association of persons? Why or why not? My understanding of a trust is that there is a trustee, who acts to protect the assets entrusted to him. There is a certain top-down authority associated with the idea of a trustee. It doesn't sound like this wonderful petri dish where all these actors come together and freely contract to provide capital and labor and sales and purchases and rents so it's all one big small-d democratic convention (which is the foundation of the analysis of Citizens United.)

Isn't the CEO really a trustee of the trust that is the corporation? (Or perhaps the Board of Directors act as a group of trustees?)

Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

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Americans have always been skeptical of corporate power. In fact, this country was founded by a revolt against the biggest corporation of its day - the British East India Company.

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