Licensed to Kill

Highlighted 2 days ago to me by the unique force of nature that is Chris Macrae, I finally absorb a wonderful piece of m...

November 10, 2004

Highlighted 2 days ago to me by the unique force of nature that is Chris Macrae, I finally absorb a wonderful piece of merry corporate pranksterism, perpetrated recently in the US.

Robert Hinckley has created a company in the US: ‘Licensed to Kill’ Inc. – just to prove that he could!

He set up a company with the explicit intent to sell products which would kill people….knowing that nothing in the law could prevent him from doing so. Which indeed it doesn’t.

Hinckley’s assertion is that in Corporate America (and indeed the rest of the world) the profit motive and the threat of legal redress between them rule corporate life – exclusively.

And if you cannot change the profit motive, which you surely can’t…then you might nonetheless theoretically try and change the law in the interests of social progress. Ooh, big, sexy thought!

The putative OFR in the UK (which gets more and more dilute by the day) is like a slap with a damp anchovy compared to the full-on shark-attack that Hinckley has in mind. Capitalism beware!

His hilarious (or childish) stunt was designed to draw attention to a proposed amendment to corporate law, which would add the following 28 words to the statute book:

“The duty of directors shall be to make money for shareholders but not at the expense of the environment, human rights, public health and safety, dignity of employees, and the welfare of the communities in which the company operates.”

Sun Magazine’s summary is reproduced here at 28 Words. It’s audacious. And reports the intent with sceptical respect.

This amendment is a truly heretical thought.

Of course it stands absolutely zero chance of making any progress, but that doesn’t matter. Even as a blogospheric thought-experiment; Even as a social gesture, it has a kind of Canute-ish grandeur, for me, at least.

This really appeals to my British sense of libertarian anarchy. Come on Hinckley…go…go…go!

Think about it for a second.

If these 28 words came somehow magically came into being, everything would change – almost overnight. Only the lawyers would still get rich…

Every cloud…

So glad I married one!

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