Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Legal People

A problem with democracy is that we don't trust other people, unless our opinion is in the majority. One of Mandela's great achievements was convincing the minority white power to hand over the political reigns to a constitutional democracy. The new story was of a Rainbow Nation.

The series 'The Crown' shows just how Queen Elizabeth II has embraced being the embodiment of a constitution which the United Kingdom has never actually written down. All these things are made up. Countries, companies, tribes, marriages etc. become embodied. We talk about them like we talk about people. We try give them physical form through land, buildings and things. Companies mostly aren't democratic. They are controlled by a few individuals.

Companies are incorporated with founding documents that give them life. Though the United Kingdom itself doesn't have such a founding document, many countries started their life as companies. Take a look at the development of the stars and stripes. The East India Company received a Royal Charter from Queen Elizabeth I in 1600. It was a joint-stock company formed to take establish and take advantage of trade. The founders didn't want to put in work laying the foundations, only to let others benefit. Granting monopolies was a way of incentivising risk taking. It was only in 1858 that the British Government assumed control of the British Raj after the Indian Rebellion of 1857.

Agreements are Legal People. Agreement allows ideas to have rights and obligations. They make stories exist, because the stories have real power that exists in the real world. It is useful to remember that they are indeed stories. 

Stories should work for us, rather than the us working for stories.

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