David Ciepley

Senior Core Fellow
Period of Stay: 
January 2019 – June 2019
Discipline: 
Political science
Institution: 
University of Denver, CO USA
Project Title: 
Our Corporate Civilization and its Neoliberal Crisis
Project Abstract: 

This book project revises our understanding of governance in the West, including constitutional democracy, by recovering its corporate roots and structure.  Incorporation is fundamentally a technology of governance, not business.  It is used by sovereigns to establish legally-limited governments (i.e. corporations), usually via a charter.  Modern constitutionalism was born when a sovereign American people issued a corporate charter, or constitution, establishing the U.S. government, replete with corporate traits of juridical personhood, executive elections, representative assemblies, a written constitution, and judicial review.  Business corporations, too, are little governments established by charter on authority of the people, although privately financed and staffed.  They are a public-private hybrid.  This challenges the modern reclassification of business corporations from “bodies politic” to private concerns—a legal status that exempts them from any duty to the public, accountability to the public, or even publicity to the public, while earning them legal protections and rights of political participation that they ought not have.